Beef Cheek Pierogies with Wild Mushrooms and Horseradish

polish pierogie recipe

Serves 8 to 10


Pierogi Dough

1 large egg

¾ cup sour cream

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling dough

Beef Cheeks

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ pounds cleaned beef cheeks

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 red onion, sliced

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 cup red wine

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 cups chicken stock

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter

Seared Wild Mushrooms (recipe below)

Horseradish Crème Fraiche (recipe below)


To make the dough, work the egg, sour cream, butter, chives, and salt together by hand to form a dough. Don’t worry if the mixture is not uniform and, as with pie dough, don’t overwork it. Pour the flour onto a work surface and make a well in the center. Add the sour cream mixture and mix thoroughly with your hands until a dough forms. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

To braise the beef cheeks, preheat the oven to 325F.

Heat the olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the cheeks with salt and pepper, and then dredge them in flour, shaking off excess. Cook them in batches, turning as needed, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer the cheeks to a plate.

Add the onion and carrot to the Dutch oven and cook over moderate heat until softened, seasoning with salt as you do, about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook a minute longer. Add the vinegar, red wine, thyme, bay leaf, and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Return the beef cheeks to the Dutch oven, then cover, and braise in the oven for 1 hour.

Lower the oven temperature to 225F and cook for 4 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and then chill in the refrigerator in the cooking liquid for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove the chilled cheeks from the liquid and shred the meat. Set aside the meat.

Strain the liquid into a saucepan and boil over high heat to reduce by two thirds. Remove from the heat and let cool until the liquid becomes gelatinous. Return the meat to the liquid and stir together.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 3-inch rounds. Spoon 1 tablespoon of meat onto each round. Fold the dough over into half-moons and press the edges with a fork to seal them.

Bring 2 gallons of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pierogies and wait until they float. Cook for 4 minutes, starting the timing once the pierogies float. Drain well in a colander.

To serve, heat the butter in a large skillet until it froths. Add the pierogies and cook until golden brown and hot all the way through, about 2 minutes per side. You may need to work in batches depending on the size of your pan, keeping cooked pierogies in a hot oven until ready to serve.

Serve with seared wild mushrooms and the horseradish crème fraiche.

Seared Wild Mushrooms

Serves 4 to 6


1 pound wild mushrooms, preferably a mixture of oyster, chanterelle, and lobster

Olive oil or canola oil, for sautéing

Kosher salt

Small bunch of fresh thyme

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon unsalted butter


Slice the oyster mushrooms ¼ inch thick. Quarter or halve the chanterelles lengthwise to make pieces of a similar size. Slice lobster mushrooms 1/8 inch thick.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat for 20 to 30 seconds. Glaze the bottom of the pan with oil. Lay in the oyster mushrooms, taking care not to crowd the pan. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and add a few sprigs of thyme. Sauté, turning the mushrooms to brown them on both sides, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan and set aside on a plate. Check the pan to see if you need to add another glaze of oil. Repeat the sautéing of the mushrooms, cooking each variety independently, and seasoning each batch with salt and sprigs of thyme.

When you are finished sautéing all the mushrooms, add another glaze of oil to the pan if needed, and add the shallots and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the garlic, and cook for another 30 seconds. Add all of the mushrooms and the butter, stirring. When the butter has melted, the mushrooms are ready to serve.

Horseradish Crème Fraiche

Makes 1¼ cups


1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon buttermilk

¼ cup grated fresh horseradish

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Kosher salt


Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat to 105F. Remove from the heat and whisk in the buttermilk. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place (90F to 100F is optimal; the cooler the temperature the longer fermentation may take) for 36 to 48 hours.

When the cream has thickened, chill it in the refrigerator for a few hours, until cold, or for up to a week. Before serving, fold in the horseradish, chives, pepper, and salt to taste.

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