Make the meat filling
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and paprika. Cook until onions are soft, about 2 minutes. Crumble the veal into the pan, breaking up large chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the mixture until the liquid starts evaporating and the veal loses its pink color, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat to high, and when the meat juices have evaporated, stir in the breadcrumbs. Lower the heat to medium. The mixture will start to brown and may stick slightly to the bottom of the pan. This is essential for flavor; just continue stirring. Add the mushrooms and soy sauce and cook until the mushroom juices have almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the herbs; season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool while you roll out the pierogi dough.
Shape and fill the pierogi
Fill a large pot with 5 qt. water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, using lightly floured hands, pinch of 1-Tbs. portions of the dough and roll them into balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. You should end up with 36 to 40 balls. With a small rolling pin or dowel, gently roll out each ball into a 3 to 3-1/2-inch round about 1/8 inch thick on a well-floured surface. Keep the dough balls and disks covered as you work so they won't dry out.
Stir the meat mixture again just before filling the pierogi. Hold a round of dough flat in your palm, dust off the excess flour, and spoon a generous tablespoon of the filling onto the center of the dough. Fold the round in half to enclose the filling. Seal the pierogi by pulling the edges away from the filling and pinching them together. To ensure a proper seal, pinch the edge shut once more, working from one end to the other. Set the filled pierogi on a floured work surface or baking sheet and cover with a dry towel or plastic wrap until all are filled. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Cook the pierogi
When the pot of water is boiling, drop the pierogi in batches into the boiling water, stirring occasionally. When they float to the top, cook for another 2 to 4 minutes; bite into one to check that there's no chalky line. Remove cooked pierogi from the water with a spider or slotted spoon and put them in a bowl. If you like, serve them immediately with melted butter.
To sauté the pierogi, heat the butter or vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Without crowding the pan, add the boiled, drained pierogi and cook until golden brown and puffy on both sides. Season with a little salt and pepper, and serve with sour cream and scallions, if desired.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Amy Albert