i invented this little dinner but the good Lord above invented how your daily vitamin intake can taste so delicious, aka KALE. (also makes a handy chant: ka-el! ka-el! ka-el!) so i knew i wanted to have pierogies for dinner, why — because they were in our freezer. oh and because pierogi ROCK. i knew i wanted a full meal including protein and greens, because i always shame myself if i don’t include greens on the dinner plate…. something ingrained from my upbringing, i suppose. anyway. and if i can get a whole meal to come out of one pan, even better — less to wash.
if you haven’t eaten pierogi before, it’s ok. it’s never too late in fact! they are a delightful little traditionally-Polish dumpling… usually filled with soft potato goodness, cheese, meat or a combination thereof. i adore dumplings in any form, and i adore these little potatoey pillows. oh man so good. they aren’t difficult to make from scratch, but: i was at the office 10 hours yesterday and i was hungry for dinner. we make compromises where we must.
i like how in researching the Mrs T’s Peirogi (my grocer’s brand of choice) website for serving suggestions, all the photos/recipes actually made me not want to eat the product. wowbadphotography. so i thought of instead of flavors i love in autumn… kale is only getting greener and sweeter as the weather gets colder, and pepitas are delicious crunchy pumpkin seeds!…. hey-ohhh october.
i think pierogi are best pan-fried, allowed to become golden brown to meet their Full Flavor Potential. they are also boiled in the manner of say, ravioli. i did the former for this dish.
pierogi with sausage, kale and pepitas
serves 2 but maybe 4 — how hungry are ya?
- 3/4 lb turkey or pork hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 box frozen pierogi, cheddar or potato-cheddar filling
- large bundle curly or Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 c. white wine*
- 1/2 c. chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 1/4 c. roasted pepitas, or pine nuts
In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high, brown the sausage, breaking up with the back of a spoon into small pieces. (I hate reading this in recipes: you know what works even better than the back of a spoon? My potato masher. Let’s not waste time people.) Transfer the sausage to a bowl and drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. If you’ve used turkey sausage, you might need to add a little butter to the pan at this point.
Empty the box of pierogi, frozen, into the skillet and cook on medium until lightly browned, turning or stirring (or flipping Julia-Childs-style) as needed. Add the kale to the pan — it will look like too much, but it will cook down, I promise. If your pan is small and it doesn’t actually fit, add the kale in two batches. I’m here for ya. Add the sliced garlic, the wine and the chicken stock and cook until kale begins to wilt, stirring, about 10 minutes, adding more chicken stock as needed if pan seems too dry. The little potato pillows will soak that sauce right up, and we will let them.
Return sausage to skillet, season with pepper, and cook until heated through, about 3 more minutes. (The sausage we used was salty enough for the whole dish; taste yours and decide for yourself to salt or not). Remove pan from heat, sprinkle with pepitas, and serve with a big helping of Mad Men, even if it’s your third time through the series. (So what?)
(*notice my choice of discount-rack white wine. discount wine is almost always very good to me; this one bit back a little. my husband said it best: “way too much muskrat, not enough muscat.” true that. see how you can learn from my mistakes?)