New Wave Pierogi Time

Maybe you grew up on a strict kielbasa and pierogi diet and want to break loose from the traditional kapusta and teeter on the edge of da...

Maybe you grew up on a strict kielbasa and pierogi diet and want to break loose from the traditional kapusta and teeter on the edge of danger or excitement. Maybe your babci likes to get crazy and go all sushi on you. I channeled my inner geisha babci and created a pierogi the gods will tweet about. Spinach. Potato. Wasabi. Pierogi. It's just like it sounds. Amazing, right?
I usually opt for baked things instead of fried, one, because frying makes your apartment smell like a frat house basement, two, because its really bad for you, and three, I almost always burn myself. You could definitely bake these. I, at first, thought of steaming them in a basket... But then I realized I would be making asian dumplings and not pierogi. After much deliberation I bit the bullet and decided to shallow fry them, in the style of a rangoon or whatever, in the name of my imaginary babci. We all know she's was born and raised in Poland, but maybe she got big into Asian fusion in the 80s, or gets all hopped up and watches kung-fu on daytime TV.. Her story unfolds.. 

Spinach Potato Wasabi Pierogi

5-6 yukon gold potatoes
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup unsalted unroasted cashews
2 heads roasted garlic
2 tablespoons wasabi paste

5 cups flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water

canola oil, to fry

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Soak cashews in water. Soak them up to and hour if you can, but any soak time is good time.
2.Peel away all excess paper from the garlic and wrap the bulbs in foil. Roast for 45 minutes. Let cool and remove cloves from their paper cases. Set them aside.
3. Cut potatoes into quarters and put into a large 4 quart pasta pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
4. Empty spinach into a clean kitchen towel and gather ends together so that you can pick up the towel without all the spinach falling out. Twist the ends so that you are ringing all the water out of the spinach, by twisting and squeezing it. Once no more water comes out, empty spinach into a bowl and set aside. 
5. Drain the cashews, then put them in a blender with the roasted garlic cloves and 3/4 cup of water. Blend for 2-3 minutes, or until mixture is smooth and thick. Set aside. 
6. Drain potatoes. I like to whip my potatoes in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment so that they get really nice and fluffy but also really smooth. If you like to have at it with a hand masher, go to town, girl. Empty the potatoes into the mixing bowl and add spinach. Whip on low speed until the potatoes break down and become a size that won't fly out of the bowl if you raise the speed. Slowly raise the speed until your potatoes are combined with the spinach. Pour in your cashew cream and add salt and pepper to taste. Add your wasabi paste 1 tablespoon at a time, tasting in between. You will want to add more than you probably think, because it mellows after frying. Set filling aside.
7.In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer with dough hook, add flour and salt. mix together and make a well in the middle (if using mixer, don't worry about the well, obviously). Add oil and water and mix together with your hands until a dough comes together. If using mixer, just turn it on. Knead for 10 minutes, taking breaks if you use your hands. I often feel the need to knead (haha) by hand, but the mixer works great for this since you've got to knead for so long. Once done, the dough will have no dry spots, nor sticky spots.
8. On a large work surface, roll out the dough as thin as you can get it, probably less than 1/4" in thickness. Take a beer glass and cut circles out of the dough. You can re-roll your scraps when you finish. Put a little over a teaspoon of filling in each circle and by dipping your fingers in water, lightly wet the edges of the dough. Bring the dough together over the filling and pinch in the middle. Then slowly pull the sides together and pinch tightly. Feel free to make your favorite wavy dumpling pattern with the pinched part. 
9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 5 pierogi at a time. They will fall to the bottom then slowly rise to the top. If they don't rise to the top, nudge them and they will start to float. Remove after 3-4 minutes, and continue with the rest. 
10. You can freeze these at this point by putting them on a sheet tray in the freezer. Once frozen you can bag them up for easy storage. When ready, you don't need to defrost. If frying, heat oil in a cast iron pan and fry pierogi until golden brown on each side. It's up to you how deep you want to fry them, but I used 1/4 inch of oil, which resulted in a crispy bubbly fried crust. A softer lightly browned pierogi can be achieved by using just a touch of oil and a little less heat. 
You're done! Now go eat your pierogi with your favorite toppings. Mine is caramelized onions.

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