Courtesy of Chef John McGannon, wildeats.com
For a classic Eastern European dish with a slant from the Rockies, consider cooking up some pirogues. These little dumplings filled with a wide variety of flavors can be savory or sweet. Generally, savory pirogues are filled with potatoes and any garnish you have available.IngredientsPirogue Dough
4½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp melted butter
2 cups sour cream
1 egg yolk
2 oz olive oilEgg wash (beat well)
2 egg yolks
2 oz water
pinch saltMix all dry ingredients and form a well in the middle. Add the wet ingredients to the well and mix until the dough is smooth. Place this dough in the refrigerator overnight. This allows the proteins in the flour to relax, which yields a tender, delicate dough. When ready to prepare, roll the dough out to about 1/8” thick, cut with a 3” circle cutter.
Elk Pirogue Filling
4 lbs elk bottom round, cut into 1” cubes
5-6 tbsp WildEats Juniperberry & Peppercorn Rub (or use black peppercorns, dried thyme leaves and Italian juniper berries)
1 cup flour
salt to taste
vegetable oil (for browning)
2 med yellow onions
3 tbsp fresh chopped garlic
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
2 bottles of pilsner beer
1 can V8 tomato juice
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Season meat with the rub and salt. Mix well. Dust the meat with the flour. Heat the oil in a heavy gauge pan. Brown the meat on all sides. When browned, remove the meat to a crock-pot or heavy braising pot. Repeat until all the meat is done. Deglaze the pan with the beer, scraping the bottom to remove the residue. Add this liquid to the meat along with the remaining ingredients. Bring this up to a simmer, stirring well. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook until the meat is tender (2-3 hours). Adjust the seasoning and allow to cool.
Red Potato Filling
approx. 12 red potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
Bring the water to a simmer, add the potatoes and turn down to low and cook until just tender. Remove immediately, strain and allow to cool. Never leave cooked potatoes in the water they’re cooked in. It will give you a very heavy, starchy potato.
Remaining ingredients for filling:
1 cup ranch dressing
1 bunch green onions, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded jack cheese (or your own personal favorite)
Blend this with the red potatoes and mash until smooth. This is now ready to be scooped into the rolled out dough circle.
Lay the dough circle out, brush with the egg wash. Place a small scoop of the potato filling (approx. 1½ tbsp) on the dough, then take two elk cubes and place in the center of the potatoes. Fold the dough in half, closing the fillings in the center. Use a fork to crimp the edges.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a couple of the pirogues in at a time. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes or until they float. Remove and continue until all your pirogues are done. You can serve as is or brown dumplings in butter until they are golden brown on the bottom. These can be made in advance and frozen until needed.
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