I have a somewhat superstitious husband. If one of his teams loses while he’s wearing a particular shirt, he won’t wear it again for the rest of the season (sorry “baby blue Malkin”, so long “6th Seed”). If a game’s unfolding poorly, he’ll quickly switch seats, and trust that by doing so, he’ll have some direct, karmic influence on the outcome. During Steelers games, he’s particularly intense. He nervously clenches, then furiously waves his ratty, and increasingly misshapen Terrible Towel. And, for some bizarre reason, he refuses to wash it until the end of the season. By Week 17, the thing is disgusting … you seriously have no idea. A season’s worth of sweat, sauce and saliva, all stained on a faded yellow rag. I have contemplated sneaking it into the wash before, but always decide it’s just not worth it. So last week when I was asking him to submit his request for his Super Bowl meal, he reminded me that two years ago I made pulled pork sandwiches for the Super Bowl and what happened? The Steelers won their sixth ring. So obviously I would be making pulled pork sandwiches again this year to ensure the Steelers their seventh title. My pulled pork was 1-0, and you just don’t mess with a winning combination.
So for Super Bowl Sunday, after all food requests had been submitted, this was our menu:
Appetizer (to be served during the 1st quarter): Mushroom and White Cheese stuffed Pierogies
Main Course (to be served at halftime): Pulled Pork Sandwiches and coleslaw
Dessert (to be served during the 4th quarter): “Black and Yellow” Ice Cream Sandwiches
I had never made pierogies before, so I was anticipating a challenge with our appetizer course. I started off by making a basic pierogi dough. I combined 3 1/2 cups of flour, 3 eggs, a little bit of sour cream and about 1/2 a cup of water into a large bowl. After stirring the ingredients together, the dough was still dry and flaky, so I gradually added another 1/2 cup of water until the mixture came together.
Next, I floured the counter top and began to knead the dough. I continued doing so until it was smooth and only slightly sticky (which should take no more than five minutes).
I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and left it on the counter to rest for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, I got a head start on the pork by preparing a dry rub.
For my rub, I wanted something full-flavored with a touch of heat. I combined brown sugar, Hungarian paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
Next, after trimming off a little bit of the excess fat, I coated the pork with the rub until it was completely covered.
I then sautéed an onion in the dutch oven before adding in the pork.
Next, I added about 1/3 cup of Apple Cider vinegar, a little bit of tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and about 1/2 a cup of barbecue sauce. At this point, all the hard work was done and there was nothing left to do but allow time and low heat to work its magic.
Once the meat was cooking away, it was time to whip up the filling for the pierogies. I was not a huge fan of the idea of (the more traditional) potato-filled pierogies (wrapping one starch in another seemed a tad excessive, and a bit filling for a mid-evening appetizer). Since my husband agreed to trying something a little different, I decided to go with a mushroom and cheese filling. I began by cleaning and chopping up a whole package of mushrooms. I sautéed those just until soft.
I then shredded about a cup of aged white cheddar, which we picked up at Milwaukee’s MetroMart.
I combined these two ingredients into a bowl and seasoned them with a little black pepper, salt and onion powder, then set aside until it was time to fill the pierogies.
I then set off to roll out and shape my pierogies. This would have been the perfect opportunity to break out my new pasta machine that I got for Christmas, but I kept thinking to myself that I could handle this all on my own. Well, I could, and I did, but because of this, my pierogies ended up a little on the large side. Next time, I think I’ll try the pasta machine and see if it makes a difference.
To shape the pierogies, I took about a tablespoon or so of dough rolled it into a ball and then rolled it out on a floured surface into the best circle I could with a rolling pin (be sure to cover the finished dough with a towel to avoid drying out). I did this over and over again until all the dough had been used.
It was finally time to fill the pierogies. I did so by taking a spoonful of my mushroom and cheese filling and placing it in the center of the dough.
I then folded it in half and enclosed the edges by pinching the sides together. I repeated this step until all of the pierogies had been filled and sealed.
When Christina Aguiliera forgot the words to the National Anthem, I took it as my cue to cook the pierogies. To do so, I brought a large pot of water to a boil. Once it was fully boiling, I added in the piergoies and allowed them to cook until they had been floating at the top of the water for about 4 or 5 minutes.
After all of the pierogies had been removed from the water, I heated up a little bit of olive oil in a sauté pan. I wanted my peirogies to have a little bite, and a nice outer crisp, so I sauteed them for a few minutes, before finally seasoning them with a little bit of black pepper, and serving them to my ever so anxious husband.
And…. they were a hit! Although Adam said so with a little bit too much of surprise in his voice, I knew they were a success when there were no leftovers. Sautéing them added a wonderful texture and the white cheddar provided a rich flavor that really made the filling stand out. The only thing I need now is to master is how to make them a little bit smaller!
Throughout the course of the day, I had been checking on the pork and stirring it as needed. By the time the Black Eyed Peas were warming up their mics (and dusting off their Light Bright shoulder pads), the pork was juicy, tender and already falling apart. Adam asked me if I needed him to shred the meat, but the job was basically done and with very little effort. As soon as I would pick up a piece of pork with the tongs, the meat would literally fall apart. Perfect!
I toasted the buns, topped them with a heaping serving of pulled pork, plated up the coleslaw that Adam made, and got ready to enjoy a less than glamorous halftime show.
By the 4th quarter, it looked like the Steelers would complete their comeback, and it was time to prepare the final course of our meal. Earlier that morning I had whipped up a batch of my favorite Double Chocolate Chip cookies
for the”sandwich” part of the ice cream sandwiches. I loaded them up with a generous amount of vanilla ice cream and then rolled the edges in yellow sugar to complete my fabulous ”Black and Yellow“
ice cream sandwiches.
Although the outcome of the game was not what we had hoped for, the meal was even better than expected. The pierogies were a great first time attempt and even impressed a Pittsburgh native; the pulled pork was bursting with flavor and could not have been more tender; and the ice cream sandwiches were the perfect comfort as the game came to a very disappointing, and anticlimactic end. Knowing my superstitious husband though, I can’t imagine he will be requesting this meal the next time the Steelers play in the Super Bowl, but I have no doubt that all three of these courses will be made again. We will just have to wait until next year for that seventh ring.