Bear is not a meat people often think to eat. But as a chef and hunter I hunt to eat! So everything I hunt I eat, bear included. Bear meat and bear fat are incredibly delicious. Now don’t get me wrong Spring Bear meat is not as tasty as Fall Bear. Spring bears are just coming out of hibernation while fall bears have been feasting on berries so their meat is going to have more flavor. But that won’t stop me from putting this beautiful meat to use. Yes you may have to doctor up spring bear with some spices and marinades, but thats okay. In this case, I had ground bear fresh from my trip. So a comfort dish was what came to mind. So Bear Pierogies with Caramelized Onions came about. I made plenty of extra to keep in he freezer. My toddler loved these, and they cook perfectly from the freezer to a put of boiling water. Now don’t get me wrong you can make these beauties with any meat you would like, but they truly are delicious with bear.
Bear Pierogies with Caramelized Onions
By Bri Van Scotter of Wilderness to Table
· 1 large egg
· 1/4 cup sour cream
· 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
· 2 teaspoons olive oil
· 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
· 2 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
· 1 small yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
· ¼ Cup Port Wine
· 1 potato, cubed and cooked
· 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
· 1 large garlic clove, minced
· 1/2 pound Bear meat, ground (I ground ½ pound bear backstrap with2 tablespoons of Bear Fat or Beef Tallow)
For assembling and browning:
· 1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
· 2 tablespoons olive oil
· 2 Yellow Onions, sliced thin
· 3 tablespoons butter
· 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
· Sour Cream
· Italian Parsley, chopped
To make the dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, water, olive oil, and salt. Add the flour and stir to combine.
Place the dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead just until the dough comes together. Add a tablespoon of flour if the dough feels too sticky. Do not overwork the dough. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.
To make the filling:
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and the sugar and cook until caramelized and brown, about 10 minutes. Add the port wine and stir to coat. Add the potato cubes, thyme, garlic and bear meat. Raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring to break up the meat until its cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble and cook:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and dust with flour. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Using a 3-inch biscuit or round cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Press the scraps together, roll out the dough again, and repeat. You should get about 20 rounds.
Fill each pierogi with a scant 1 tablespoon of filling. Brush the edge of half the round lightly with the egg wash.
Fold the round in half, pressing the edges together and crimping them to seal.
Transfer the pierogies to the flour-dusted baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rounds.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pierogi in batches, and cook until tender and they float to the top, 12 to 15 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
To serve, warm half the butter and half the olive oil together in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the pierogi in batches until golden brown on both sides, adding more butter and olive oil as needed. Serve with caramelized onions, sour cream and chopped parsley.
In a cast iron skillet, add the onions, butter and salt. On medium –high heat cook the onions till they are golden brown. Stirring throughout. Approximately 20 minutes.