Taste of Polonia celebrates 34th anniversary in Chicago

Among Polish favorites are pierogi. You probably know the popular potato version, but there are many ways to switch it up.
Chicago has a sizable Polish population, and it knows how to throw a party! On Labor Day weekend, you are invited to the 34th annual Taste of Polonia for music, food and fun. It's one of summer's last outdoor festivals where you can have fun with your friends or family.

Among Polish favorites are pierogi. You probably know the popular potato version, but there are many ways to switch it up. Basia Brown, Host of Poland on a Plate , and Miriam "Mimi" Dybczak, Representative of the Taste of Polonia/Copernicus Center, came into our ABC 7 Eyewitness News studio to show us a trio of gourmet pierogi recipes.

34th Annual Taste of Polonia
Labor Day Weekend: Aug. 29-Sept. 1
Friday: 5-10:30 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: Noon-10:30 p.m.
Monday: Noon-10 p.m.

Copernicus Center
5216 W Lawrence Ave. (Lawrence & Milwaukee Aves.)
Chicago

Admission: $7, Children 12 and under free

Recipes by Basia Brown, host of Poland on a Plate:
1. Lobster Pierogi
(Yields 1 dozen pierogi)

Ingredients:
4-6 oz. boiled lobster tail, cut into 12 pieces
1 leek, greens only, sliced
5 Tbsp. mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
Dill springs
Salt and pepper
Pierogi dough (recipe below)

Preparation:
1. Blanch leek greens in water.
2. Place leek in boiling water, let boil for one minute.
3. Remove leeks and place in blender, saving and setting aside the boiled water.
4. Add a few tablespoons of boiled water into blender and pure mixture for five minutes to break down the leek fibers. Strain the sauce and keep warm.
5. Cut pierogi dough into circles using the rim of a water glass.
6. Stuff dough with 12 tablespoon of mascarpone cheese, one piece of lobster, and one sprig of dill.
7. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Pinch the pierogi closed (wet edges with water if needed).
9. Drop pierogi into boiling water and cook for five minutes or until they float to top of pot.
10. Serve pierogi over leek sauce with sour cream drizzled on top and sprigs of dill to garnish.

2. Polish Ham and Cheese Pierogi
(Yields 1 dozen pierogi)

Ingredients:
1/4 lb. Krakus Polish deli ham, roughly chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
5 Tbsp. sheep's milk cheese, finely shredded
Whole grain or Dijon mustard
Pierogi dough (recipe below)

Preparation:
1. Combine ham, scallion and sheep's milk cheese.
2. Cut pierogi dough into circles using rim of a water glass.
3. Stuff dough with 1 tablespoon of ham mixture.
4. Pinch the pierogi closed (wet edges with water if needed).
5. Drop pierogi into boiling water and cook for five minutes or until they float to top of pot.
6. Serve pierogi with mustard for dipping.

3. Sweet Cheese and Blueberry Pierogi
(Yields 1 dozen pierogi)

Ingredients:
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup prepared lemon curd
3 tablespoons softened cream cheese
Whipped cream (optional)
Pierogi dough (recipe below)

Preparation:
1. Place blueberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice into a medium bowl, mixing to combine.
2. Transfer to a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
3. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, until bubbly.
4. Remove from heat and strain, reserving sauce and blueberries separately.
5. Place lemon curd and cream cheese into a small bowl, mixing until smooth and well combined.
6. Cut pierogi dough into circles using the rim of a water glass.
7. Stuff dough with 12 tablespoon of lemon curb and cream cheese mixture, plus some blueberries (three should fit).
8. Pinch the pierogi closed (wet edges with water if needed).
9. Drop pierogi into boiling water and cook for five minutes or until they float to top of pot.
10. Serve pierogi topped with reserved blueberry sauce and whipped cream, if desired.

4. Pierogi Dough
(Yields 2 dozen pierogi)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg
1/4-1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt

Preparation:
1. Place flour on a pastry board or directly on counter top, add salt.
2. Make a "well" in the center of the flour, and crack egg into center of the well.
3. Start kneading the dough, slowly pulling the flour towards the center while adding water in small portions, paying attention so as not to miss the moment when the dough reaches the perfect consistency. The dough should not stick to hands when ready.
4. Once the dough is ready, split into two equal parts.
5. Set aside one part and cover with foil; flour the cutting board or counter top and start rolling out the other half until it is about 2-3 millimeters thick.
6. To make rolling out the dough easier, keep turning the dough over, sprinkling it with flour.
7. When the dough is thin enough, cut circles out of it using the rim of a water glass - these circles will be folded in half and filled.
8. Once the first portion of the dough is cut out and used up, repeat rolling and cutting process with the remaining dough previously set aside.
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