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09/02/2010

~ And a Jalapeno Pirogi Too... Yes, I said Jalapeno! ~

PICT2737Pirogi are to Eastern Europeans as ravioli are to Italians.  I know this because I come from Eastern European heritage and my husband comes from Italian heritage.  This being said, I'm not sure many Eastern Europeans have ever eaten a Jalapeno pirogi.  In fact, I'm not sure many people in general have ever eaten a jalapeno pirogi!  It is only within the past 4-5 years that Joe and I came across them, thanks to my mom, who lives in Tamaqua, PA, a short drive from Hazelton, PA.  Here's the story:

Do any of you remember that crazy mayor of Hazelton who went on that crazy illegal Mexican immigrant rant (this was big national news a couple of years ago)?  Well, the T&L Pierogie Shop in Hazelton saw this situation quite differently than the mayor did.  There apparently are enough Mexicans living in Hazelton for T&L to warrant manufacturing a new, innovative pirogi:  the jalapeno pirogi.  Seriously folks, give this some "ah-ha" thought... the only thing better than a well-made, authentic Pennsylvani pirogi is a well-made, Pennsylvania jalapeno pirogi and these are absolutely delicious!  What was that mayor thinking?  Try these and get back to me please!Piroghi #1

~ Step 1.  There isn't much to do.  Take the jalapeno pirogi out of the freezer and let them thaw just a bit, 10-15 minutes.

For best results, open the bags and lay them, singularly, on 2-3 layers of paper towels.  If they begin to thaw in the bags, they do tend to stick together.

Easy enough so far?Piroghi #2

~ Step 2.  Preheat oil in deep-fryer according to the manufacturer's instructions to 360 degrees.  I use corn or peanut oil for deep-frying.

Deep-fry pirogi in batches of 5-6 at a time for 5-6 minutes.  Remove from deep-fryer and transfer to a paper towel lined baking dish.  Salt them generously immediately upon removal from deep-fryer.

If a little bit of potato filling oozes out while frying, that is just fine.  It's also an indicator they are fully-cooked!

A bit about Pirog, Pirogi, Pirozhki:  This is the classic Russian and correct spelling of the word and its progression, which is related to the size of the actual dumpling/pie itself.  A pirog is one very large savory dumpling/pie, usually rectangular in shape.  A pirogi is a smaller, individual, "pocket-sized" savory dumpling/pie.  A pirozhki is a very small savory dumpling/pie, which in many cases go into soups.  When correctly pronounced, the word pirogi has no "hard g" sound in it at all, just a simple, soft "pir-o-hee"!  Pirog, pirogi and pirozhki are also all both singular and plural words:  "I ate one pirogi this morning, I ate one dozen pirogi tonight".  So, who did put those "e's" in the spelling of pirogi... that remains a mystery to me!

PICT2713And a Jalapeno Pirogi Too... Yes, I said Jalapeno!:  Recipe yields instructions to deep-fry as many as you want.  Each bag contains 12 jalapeno pirogi.

Special Equipment List:  deep-fryer; tongs; paper towels; 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish (for finished piroghi)

Cook's Note:  For dipping, you can use plain, ordinary sour cream, however, I like to use a good quality bottle of Garden Dill Ranch salad dressing.  Hey, if the pirogi come out of a bag, the dip should probably come out of a bottle!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010)

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