No more mallows!

The North Carolina Sweet Potato commission has issued a decree,  “no more mallows”.

I 100% support this project. The secret I’m about to share will  probably cause me to lose some readers and upset a few people… I have never been a fan of the sweet potato marshmallow casserole heavily associated with Thanksgiving.  You will never find any trace of that dish gracing my Thanksgiving table.  I love sweet potatoes… mashed, fried, baked, etc, so why cover up their wonderful taste with all that marshmallow?

However, do not be confused. I wholeheartedly believe that covering up sweet potato taste with brown sugar, pecans, and gingerbread streusel in a sweet potato pie is absolutely okay.

The commission asked people to submit recipes that kicked the sweet potato’s bothersome little friend, the marshmallow, to the curb. I’m totally down with that.

Using up some leftover mashed sweet potatoes, I opted to make a sweet potato pierogie.  Good decision.

There are lots of little steps to this recipe, but please don’t let it dissuade you from making it. I promise it couldn’t be easier once you get the dough made. And the best thing about them? The versatility.  You can stuff any combination of items inside, sweet, savory, extra decadent, you name it.

Sweet Potato Pierogies

Makes about 40 pierogies (a lot, so halve the recipe if you aren’t feeding a crowd)
For the pierogie dough:
1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potato
4 cups flour
1 egg yolk (reserve egg white for sealing pierogies later in the process)

For the filling:
1 lb spicy ground sausage, cooked
1 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
20 basil leaves, chopped

For the boiling and pan-frying
4 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
1/2 white onion, chopped

For the sauce:
3 tbsp butter
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 asparagus stalks, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1 cup milk
4 tbsp half & half
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 lemon juiced

In a large bowl, combine flour, sweet potatoes, and egg yolk. Mix together until a dough consistency forms. You do not want it to be too sticky, so you may have to add more flour depending on how wet your sweet potatoes are.  Once the dough has formed, roll it out on a floured surface.

Using a round cookie cutter, cut circles out of the dough and set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine cooked sausage, ricotta cheese, and basil. Stir together until combined. Once combined, place about 1 1/2 tsps of the mixture in the center of the dough circles. Make sure to leave enough rooms around the sides to seal the pierogies.

Dip a pastry brush in the reserved egg white, the brush it around the perimeter of the dough circles.  Fold one side of the dough over the other, completely covering the filling, and press the edges together to seal.

In a large sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water a to boil. Once boiling, drop in sealed pierogies.  When the pierogies are ready, they will float to the top of the water.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, onion and salt and pepper.  When the pierogies float to the top, transfer them from the water to the skillet. Saute each side until they are brown.  Do this with each pierogie.

Once you have pan fried each pierogie, make the sauce in the same skillet. You will want to scrape up all the flavor from the bottom of the skillet to incorporate into the sauce.  The sauce may not be pretty, but it tastes amazing! Over medium high heat, add butter, chopped bell pepper, asparagus, and green onions. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add in milk and half & half.  Let come to a slow boil, then turn the heat down to medium.  The milk should start to thicken. When it does, add in cheese and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour sauce over pierogies and serve.

I know it sounds like a lot of work and steps, but the steps all go by very quickly.  And the finished product is very, very worth it!

Are pierogies a new thing for you or have you tried them before? What is your favorite combination?

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