Theo Peck, the founder of The Food Experiments, stops by the Pittsburgh Today Live kitchen to preview a cook-off being called the “Pittsburgh Dumpling Experiment.”

The Belly of the Beast Pierogies

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Dough #1
3 Eggs
2T Oil
2tsp Salt
1cp Lukewarm Water
4.5 / 5.5 cp Flour

1. Beat eggs, salt, oil, and water
2. Add enough flour to form stiff dough
3. Knead dough until smooth and elastic
4. Oil and set aside for an hour (room temp)
5. Knead dough again, rest,
6. Roll out to 1/8 in thick
7. Cut and stuff, and use water to seal


Dough #2

2ea Potatoes
1ea Yolk
1tsp Melted Butter
1T Crème Fraiche
1 to 2 cup Flour

1. Bake potatoes, peel, and rice them
2. Mix with rest of ingredients, except flour, and let cool
3. Once cool, mix with enough flour to form dough, start with at least 1 cup of flour

Cooking the Pork Belly and vegetables separately and then mixing them together creates the filling.

Pork Belly: Per 3 pounds

½ cup Salt
½ cup Sugar
1 to 2 cups Stock, chicken
1 cup Duck Fat
3 Whole Allspice
2 Whole Star Anise
4 Whole Cloves
2 Berries Juniper
2 Leaves Bay Leaves
1 Stick Cinnamon Stick
10 pods White Pepper
4T Soften Butter, unsalted
Sweated vegetables
Ground Spice Mix

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1. Combine Salt and sugar, and rub the mix all over belly. Leave it in a non reactive dish, covered in a fridge overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
3. Place the belly in a roasting pan and put in the oven for one hour, return to the oven and based with the fat from pan.
4. After one hour, lower the heat to 250 degrees, and place the remaining ingredients in the pan, and cover the pan with foil. Leave a little corner vent
5. Check on the belly after an hour and half. If it feels soft to the touch and a knife easily slip through the top – its done
6. Take out, and let it cool in the pan/liquid. When it cool enough to touch, cut it into small chunks and add to the bowl of a standing mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat it slowly until it just starts to break up. Stop the mixer, add the vegetables(recipe to follow), Soften butter, spice mix, beat until it comes together and it looks like a filling. If it seems dry, add a like duck fat or stock.

Filling Vegetable per 3lb of Pork Belly

2ea Carrots, micro diced
2ea Leeks, micro diced
2ea Shallots, micro diced
1/2ea Napa Cabbage, thinly shredded
3T Butter
2T Olive Oil

1. In large sauté pan, over medium low heat, add olive oil, let it warm
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to pan, Salt the veg,
3. Cook until the vegetables are just soft, do not over cook the vegetables, they should not turn to mush.

Ground Spice Mix – Make as much as needed

3 Whole Allspice
2 Whole Star Anise
4 Whole Cloves
2 Berries Juniper
2 Leaves Bay Leaves
1/2 Stick Cinnamon Stick
10 pods White Pepper

1. Grind all the spices together.
2. Use as much as needed

Beer Braised Onions

1# Bacon
4ea Vidalia Onions, Sliced
2ea Spanish Onions, Sliced
1can Brooklyn Lager
3T Soy Sauce
3T Maple Syrup

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1. Cook Bacon, and remove from pot with slotted spoon
2. Add the onions to the pan, salt, and sweat
3. When onions soften, turn up heat, add the beer and reduce
4. Add Soy and Maple to taste
5. Onions are ready, when they are golden brown