From soup-filled to soup-simmered, I have never met a dumpling I did not like. So it was with great excitement that I flipped open From A Polish Country House Kitchen to find not one, not two, but three different recipes for pierogi. Pierogi are boiled and then pan fried half-moon dumplings usually filled with some kind of meat, cheese, or potato filling. Pierogi are usually made en masse as a celebratory meal, since all of the kneading, rolling, filling, and boiling can take the better part of a day. Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden's recipe, however, is scaled back to make just enough pierogi for 4 people, so the challenge is a little less formidable. Their classic "Ruskie" filling of potatoes, ricotta, bacon, and peas is a humble one, but it is nonetheless delightful.
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Bigos, or traditional Polish Hunter's Stew, is one of those homey recipes that changes from household to household. In fact, in From A Polish Country House Kitchen, Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden describe the stew as Poland's version of chili--long stewed meat with a suggestion of vegetable served with thick rustic bread. Their take blends pork, venison, beef, veal, and sausage with cabbage, sauerkraut, and mushrooms for a no-nonsense, take no prisoners, hearty meal for the meatiest of meat lovers. In other words, it is an awesome addition to your late winter repertoire.