Pierogies

I grew up just outside Chicago, which is home to something like 1.5 million Polish people and a wealth of Polish food.  But I don’t think that’s the reason why I love pierogies – I love them because they’re mashed potato dumplings fried in butter.  What’s not to love?

As I learned in preparing for this project, there are several variations on the same theme with origins all across eastern Europe, with different spellings to go along.  These are the ones I think of when I crave pierogies, but if you have another version you love, please do share.

This recipe makes a whole lot of pierogies – I got 7 or 8 dozen out of it.  They freeze well (see below) and make for a good rainy day project with a friend and/or, if you’re like me, with a Scandal marathon on Netflix.

pierogi project work station

So, being curious and feeling kind of fall-ish, I added minced sauteed mushrooms to half of my giant batch, just to see what happened.  The basic potato version is better by a mile.  Seriously, no comparison.  So go for it if you want, they’re good…..they’re just not as good as the original.  Maybe with a mushroom sauce though….

Potato, Onion and Cheese Pierogies
adapted from Partial Ingredients

  • 6 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter, plus more for sautéing
  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • ¼ cup minced chives or scallions
  • 8 oz sharp or extra-sharp cheddar, grated
  • ¼ cup whole milk

Garnishes: sour cream, minced chives, caramelized onions (I bet some kind of jam would be delicious too)

Add flour to a large, wide bowl and make a well in the center. If you don’t have a bowl big enough, make the dough in two batches. Add sour cream, eggs, oil, and salt to the well and mix carefully with a fork, without mixing in flour.

ingredients in a well

Add water (at this point your well overfloweth) and mix in the flour gradually to make a soft, raggedy dough.

sticky, ragged dough

Dump your dough out onto a flat, non-stick, well-floured surface and knead for 8 minutes until elastic.

kneaded dough

Flip the bowl over and cover the dough with it, let it rest for 1 hour. Meanwhile, peel, cook, and mash potatoes. Saute onion until soft and translucent. Mix mashed potatoes, sautéed onion, butter, garlic, chives/scallions, cheddar, and milk, season to taste with salt and pepper.

delicious mashed potato filling

Cut dough into quarters (if you made one batch – if you made two, cut each in half) and cover the portions you’re not using with plastic wrap. Don’t use a dish towel – the dough is too sticky. Roll out to around 1/8” thick and cut out 3” rounds with a lightly floured cutter or upside-down glass – you should get 18 or 20 out of each doughball.

Scoop about a tablespoon of filling into each round and fold in half, squishing the filling into shape as you go. Pinch the edges together and seal with the back of a fork.

crimp edges with a fork

Put finished pierogies on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Repeat many, many times.

orderly pierogies

If you don’t plan to eat 8 dozen pierogies now, freeze on the parchment-lined pans for 2 hours and then vacuum-seal or ziplock bag them and stick them back in the freezer.

There are two ways to cook pierogies – boiling and sautéing. To take the cardiovascular high road, boil pierogies in salted water for 4-5 minutes or until they float. To take the delicious road, sauté in butter for 2 minutes each side, or until tantalizingly golden brown.

pierogies

To cook from frozen, heat butter or vegetable oil in a nonstick sauté pan and sauté frozen pierogies just until the bottoms start to brown, 3-4 minutes. Pour in a splash of water – just enough to cover the bottom of the pan – and cover for 2-3 minutes. Remove the cover, cook off any remaining water, and slip in a pat or two of butter. Brown pierogies on either side and serve.