Cjalsòns 2010

Cjalsòns are kind of a cross between pierogies and ravioli, and they’re a delicious taste of Friuli that makes me feel connected to my heritage.

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As I explore my own culinary background through learning my mom’s foods, I have also become even more enamored than ever of the foods of my family’s heritage. I want to learn to cook more Russian and Polish foods to honor my grandfather, even though he was a pain in the tuchus. I want to learn la cucina napoletana to gather something of my Nana, who died before I was born, into my heart. And I want to cook more Jewish and Italian foods, especially, because that’s where my mother was coming from when she picked up a pot and a spoon.

cjalsons

That’s why, even though it’s not directly related to Mom Food per se, I jumped at the chance to join the blog event called Cjalsòns 2010. Rossella of Ma che ti sei mangiato? (“What have you eaten?” in Italian) is putting together a blog carnival of posts about cjalsòns (essentially a ravioli/pierogi cross from Friuli, “an area of northeastern Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity“), and Gianni Cosetti, who “has almost single-handedly brought the cooking of Carnia, this part of Friuli, and its best ingredients, into the realm of gourmet dining.”

I liked the cjalsòns, and so did the family. They’re very similar to pierogies/pirohy, but the dough is part potato, so it’s a little less tough than the pierogi dough I’ve worked with before. Plus, there’s parsley in the dough in the version I chose, so the things themselves were pretty, and I do like pretty food.

cjalsons

Here is the recipe I chose to make for the event. My notes are in brackets, but the dough is so good and easy to work with, that I’ll bet you could put just about anything in it and it would be luscious. When the list of all the participants’ efforts goes up, I’ll post about it. We have until October 15th to publish the posts, so I may try a sweet version, as well.

Cjalsòns rustìcs
(Rustic pirogi)
Adaptation of a traditional recipe

For the dough:

300 gr potatoes [I used small, waxy potatoes because the store was out of russets. What’s up with that?]
200 gr flour [I used unbleached all-purpose]
1 egg
a pinch of nutmeg
some parsley [I used about a tablespoon of coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley]

For the filling:

100 gr sausage (or fresh lung) [I made my own sausage; recipe follows]
1⁄2 glass of white wine [I skipped this; I rarely cook with wine and didn’t feel like buying any]
1 beated [sic] egg

For the dressing:

200 gr fresh ricotta
2 dl milk
pepper

What to do
1. Prepare the dough by boiling the unpeeled potatoes. Afterward, peel the potatoes & pass through a sieve and allow to cool. Then mix them with the egg, flour, nutmeg and parsley.

2. To make the filling, in a pan saute the crumbled sausages (or fresh lung), moisten with white wine and let evaporate. [I skipped the wine; after the sausage was cooked, I stirred in the beaten egg, because it’s not mentioned in the directions and I figured why not.]

3. Roll out the dough onto a floured pastry board {or surface}making sure it does not stick. Cut discs of 6 cm in diameter [I used a wide-mouthed canning ring as a cutter], & place at the center of each a spoonful of filling. [The directions didn’t say how thinly to roll these out, so I went to probably 1/8″ or so.]

4. Fold the discs in half and close them by pressing the edges well.

5. Cook the discs in boiling salted water for several minutes, then drain. [I did as I know to do with pierogi and ravioli, and boiled them at a moderate boil for 3-5 minutes, until they all floated.]

6. Separately prepare a warm whipping cream made of ricotta and hot milk. [I had no idea what was meant by this, so I heated the milk, then mixed it with the ricotta. Rossella said the picture looked right.] Pour this sauce on each plate, place the six warm Cjalsons on the sauce and sprinkle with freshly crushed coarsely ground pepper.

Easy Homemade Fennel Sausage
Adapted from a recipe by Mark Bittman

1/2 pound fatty pork shoulder, cut into smallish cubes
1/4 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Pulse all ingredients in the food processor until it’s coarsely chopped like good sausage. That’s it; easy. Fry up without added fat, either in a patty, or for cjalsòns, stir now and then until you have cooked crumbled sausage.

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Author: Serene

I run The Mom Food Project, which was born out of love for my mom and a desire to preserve the recipes of my childhood, which didn't actually exist in written form until I quizzed my mom and wrote the recipes down.

5 thoughts on “Cjalsòns 2010”

    1. Oh, that looks wonderful! Do you just pinch off some dough and then roll it in a circle? That seems easier than the method I used, of rolling out a sheet of dough and using a cookie cutter to cut out circles.

  1. exactly, Seren, I use my handful to pich pieces about the same size and then roll each separately. Small circle is easier to roll thin. I pinch dough smaller then wallnut and roll as thin as I can.

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