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Family Recipe Series: John Taus

In anticipation of our April 11th Edible World event, Sunday Supper and Family Lore, the First Person Blog will feature the stories and family recipes of Philly food personalities. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, look out for recipes from the likes of chefs, writers and people who just love eating, making and talking about food and family.

John Taus is the celebrated chef at the helm of Rittenhouse Square favorite Snackbar. I wrote on some of Taus’ dishes for uwishunu last year and sampled his pierogies, based on his grandmother’s recipe. He shares his updated take with us and a tale of early culinary ingenuity (or maybe just childhood mischief!).

Want to be like our Philly Foodies? Share a family recipe at our Edible World event! Send your recipe, story and a photo to Karina by April 2nd! Reserve your seat at the event here.

Taus' Pierogies at Snackbar

Taus' pierogies with chive creme fraiche and caviar

One of my first memories of eating pierogies would be when I was about 5 years old. My grandmother would often babysit my 3 siblings and cousins. I feel like we ate pierogies and kielbasa almost daily, hence my love for both pierogies and sausages.

My grandmother had these cheap mustard and ketchup bottles with a long tip. As children, we all would insert the tip into our pierogies and fill them up with ketchup. This would often create a mess but my grandmother never scolded us. I always remember an enormous smile on her face as she watched her grandchildren make a complete mess.

Pierogie Dough
2 pints sour cream
12 cups flour
4 tbsp melted butter
8 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients into a mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix until incorporated. When the dough comes together, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour.

5 lbs yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup caramelized onions
6 tbsp chives
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water. When thoroughly cooked through, strain and puree with food mill or ricer. Add the remaining ingredients while the potatoes are hot to help incorporate other ingredients. Make sure the filling is completely cool before attempting to form the pierogie. Both the dough and filling can be made a few days in advance. Dough can also be stored in a freezer.

Forming Pierogies
This is where my method differs from my grandmother’s method extremely. She uses a rolling pin and rolls her dough by hand while I use a pasta machine to speed up the process. Begin rolling your dough through the pasta machine to medium thickness. I usually take it to the number 6 but you can adjust your thickness as you like. After you have your dough rolled out, begin putting medium sized balls of filling in the middle of your dough sheet. Trace around your filling with an egg wash. Fold your dough over the ball of filling and line up with the other side of the dough. Using a ring mold, cut out your pierogie into a half moon shape. If you don’t have ring molds you can use a rocks glass. This will work best on a wooden surface. The pierogies need to be blanched in salted water then fried in vegetable oil. Enjoy!

– John Taus

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