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