Ice is back with my brand new invention. Any Vanilla Ice fans? No? Dang. Anyhoo, I’m back but it’s not with a new invention. (Editor's note: Kate and I met Vanilla Ice while he was on his weird rap-metal comeback tour. Just thought you should know.) I’ve loved pierogi for as long as I can remember. As a kid I called them ‘okie-dokies’ which I think is absolutely precious. (Editor's note: That IS precious.) I even made a mobile about them in third grade…my teacher thought I was nuts until my parents translated for her. After years of eating Mrs.T’s Pierogies, then discovering Millie’s Pierogi at The Big E and most recently actually making pierogi with a friend, I decided to give it a whirl myself. If you have the time, handmade pierogi are absolutely worth the effort.
For those unfamiliar with pierogi Wikipedia says, “Pierogi are boiled, baked or fried dumplings of unleavened dough traditionally stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit. Of central and eastern European provenance, they are usually semicircular, but are rectangular or triangular in some cuisines.” I’m lucky enough to come from a Polish background so pierogi have always been around my kitchen.
Here’s the deal: gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves and grab a couple of friends. Ply them with food and beverage if the concept of homemade pierogi isn’t enough (then promptly re-evaluate said friendship…trust me, pierogi are worth it). Extra hands make the filling and pinching go by quickly. Which is exactly what went down a few weeks ago at our weekly Goddess dinner...
The night before I made two fillings—potato-cheese and cabbage. I’d never had cabbage pierogi before I made them with my friend. I was
- 1.5 lbs of russet potatoes
- 1 package (7oz) farmer’s cheese (ANY cheese would work)
- Salt and pepper
- Splash of milk
Peel and dice potatoes. Boil under very tender. Drain well, empty into large bowl. Mash potatoes well. Add cheese and mash/stir to combine. If very thick, loosen with a splash of milk. Should be mashed potato consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.
- Head of cabbage
- 2T butter
- Salt and pepper
Remove outer leaves. Quarter and core head. Using the use slicing blade in your food processor shredthe cabbage leaves. Melt butter over medium heat, add cabbage. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate.
Pierogi Dough (Recipe from here.)
- 2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
To prepare the pierogi dough, mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor* with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to overbeat. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Each batch of dough makes about 12-15 pierogies, depending on size.
*I made this in my food processor with the regular blade. Worked perfectly and made for quick dough-making. This is a see-how-it-goes kind of process. Make some dough, use it, and repeat until fillings are gone. I used about 3 doughs for pierogi plus I also used the fillings to make this fun snack from WW. If you’re just making pierogi, you’ll probably need about 4 doughs total.
Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8" thick. Cut dough into squares/rectangles.
Lay a dough square in your non-dominant palm, place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough square and fold the dough over—edge to edge for potato and cheese; corner to corner for cabbage (A neat trick stolen from my friend. Makes it easy to identify potato and cheese vs. cabbage for those anti-cabbage folks.)
Pinch to close in filling, squeezing air pockets out.
Place on cookie sheets and put into freezer. Once partially frozen (15 minutes), move to plastic storage bags and return to freezer.
Add frozen pierogi to boiling water, careful to not overcrowd the pot. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Drain well. Saute chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then, add pierogi and pan fry until lightly crispy. Enjoy.
You are totally making Hurricane Pierogi this week, aren't you? Not a bad idea, if you are stuck inside and hungry. (Seriously though, check the maps and take the necessary precautions if you are in Irene's tracks. Other parts of the country are used to these storms, but if you are in the Northeast like me you are probably thinking, "Hurricane?! WTF?")
PS- Not to give away any ideas, but if Kate brought her homemade stuffed pastas to a food swap, she'd be the most popular swapper there.