How is it possible that the Soup Lady has lived her whole life and never even been in the same room with a pagach? It is , after all, part of my ethnic heritage and certainly fits the criteria for Salvic foods: white, cheap and greasy. Yum Yum.
During a visit to our home town, the Soup Sister (who now lives in Georgia) expressed a desire to taste pagach once more. "Whatever do you mean once more?" says I. Turns out that while I went for the bright lights/big city experience, she immersed herself in the local culture of northeastern Pennsylvania and became something of a pagach connoisseur. Not only did she know where to find them, she kept up a running comentary evaluating each local maker's results, all while the Soup Lady was at the wheel, desperately trying to peer through the mists of memory to find the correct winding mountain road in the pitch dark.
And what is this mysterious delicacy, you might wonder? What creation could be so delicious as to overcome its unfortunate clunker of a name and become the object of desire? It's a stuffed bread, usually made from cabbage or potato filling baked inside of pizza dough. That's right - the local pizza parlors all have pagach on the menu and that is what we were searching for - a pizza parlor. Here we see the pagach nestled snuggly in its pizza box on the morning after. It is nothing if not filling, so despite the longing, we were only able to consume a few cuts.
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lg onion peeled and sliced
1 med head cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup oil
1 medium onion
1/4 lb oleo
1 tablespoon milk
5 oz cheddar cheese
The dough: Dissolve yeast in the water. add salt and 2 1/2 cups flour and knead smooth and
elastic, adding more flour as needed. Place dough on countertop, cover with
stainless steel bowl. Allow to rise double in bulk.
Potato filling: Cook the potatoes in 2 quarts salted water, until done. Drain. Fry onion in oleo until golden. Add to the potatoes. Add cheese, milk and salt and pepper and mash with the potatoes.
Saute onion in oil until soft. Add shredded cabbage and salt and pepper and cover and cook until cabbage is tender and soft. Drain off any excess oil.
Punch down dough and divide into 2 parts. Cut bread dough in half. Roll out one half and place on cookie sheet. Place cooled potato filling on one side of the dough and spread the cabbage filling on the other half, leaving a 2 inch margin at the edges. Cover with the other half of the dough. Carefully pinch edges together. Brush oil over the top of the dough and sprinkle with salt or garlic salt. Place on greased baking sheet. Let rise until double.
Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Around here, you can get pagach that are all cabbage, all potato, or potato and cheese. Personally, the Soup Lady likes the two fillings mixed together so that you get the goodness of each in every bite.