Posted by: gbdub | October 10, 2009

Wrockin’ it Wrocław Style… Pierogi

Pierogi plate

In between being repeatedly partitioned by various European powers (Russia, Prussia, Austria, Germany, etc…) and spelling words with too many consonants, the Poles have come up with some bloody good foods. One of these dishes you may have actually had before is pierogi. Sure, many cultures have some sort of filled dumpling in their national cuisines, but standing above them all is the mighty yet modest pieróg. And if I seem to be waxing overly philosophical over what are essentially boiled unleavened dough pockets filled with potatoes, well, you probably will too after you make a homemade batch. Or maybe it’s just the Polish chunk of my ancestry acting up.

I won’t lie, these are fairly time consuming. But they are pretty fun to make, and freeze well, so if you don’t mind spending an afternoon on ’em, you can eat well for awhile. Or really well for a day. Once you get the hang of these, feel free to try different fillings. In addition to the potato, sauerkraut, and mushrooms I present here, sausage, fresh cabbage, ground meat, and even sweet fruit-based fillings are all possible.

pierogi ingredients

Ingredients. The onion has mysteriously hidden itself.

pierogi dough mix

Combine the dough ingredients in a large bowl.

pierogi dough ball

Stir and then knead a bit till you get a ball of sort of lumpy, sticky dough. Cover and set aside for about half an hour.

boiling taters

While waiting on the dough, start your fillings. Here I boil some red potatoes…

mashed taters

… and then rub the skins off and mash with some shredded cheese and roasted garlic. I should have added some sautéed onions, but forgot. Don’t make my mistake (or do, if you don’t like onions, but then you probably shouldn’t be doing any Polish cooking).

diced shrooms

I also whipped up a combination of sauerkraut, diced crimini mushrooms, and onions (remembered them this time), with lots of freshly cracked black pepper.

sauerkraut filling

Just sautéed them all in a little butter until cooked through. This was tasty, but strongly flavored. Those with delicate palates (or delicate nostrils) may wish to rinse the ‘kraut first to mellow it out.

dough cutouts

To make the pierogi, roll the dough out in batches to about 1/4″ thick. The dough may be quite sticky, so use plenty of flour. Cut out with a small drinking glass or cookie cutter.

flat pierogi

Roll out each circle. The ultimate goal here is to get 1/16-1/8″ thick circles about 3-4″ in diameter. If you can get it thin enough on the first roll-out, by all means do. I found rolling them individually easier. Top each circle with filling – about a scant tablespoon is a good starting point, but adjust up or down depending on your pierogi’s size. You’ll get it.

raw pierog

Moisten the edges of the dough circle with a little water, then fold over and press closed. It is important to get a tight seal, with no filling on the seam. Otherwise, the pierogi will split while boiling and you’ll end up with potato noodle soup instead of dumplings.

waiting pierogi

Put a final seal on each pieróg with the tines of a fork. Here’s a fine looking batch awaiting a swim.

boiling pierogi

Boil for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

pierogi fry

To finish, sauté in melted butter a few minutes on each side until golden brown and a bit crispy. In theory, this is optional. In practice, it isn’t.

pierogi closeup

I like them with sour cream and black pepper.

So after all that, you’ve got some delicious pierogi. They are great as a side dish (with some smoked kielbasa, perhaps?) or on their own. Apparently you can also make dessert versions filled with fruit. They can be stored refrigerated in their boiled state for a few days and then microwaved and/or sautéed to reheat. Alternatively, they can be frozen – layer pierogi, brushed with melted butter or oil to prevent sticking, in a baking dish or storage container, then cover and freeze.

Pierogi (adapted from these guys, who like their batches big)

Dough:

  1. 2 1/2 – 3 cups flour
  2. 1 tsp. salt
  3. 1 egg
  4. 2 Tbs. sour cream (regular)
  5. ~1/2 cup water

Potato and cheese filling:

  1. 3 small to medium red potatoes
  2. 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  3. 3 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled
  4. 1/4-1/2 cup diced, sautéed onions(optional)

Sauerkraut and mushroom filling:

  1. 1 cup sauerkraut
  2. 1 cup mushrooms (I used crimini, but most varieties will do fine)
  3. 1/2 cup diced onions(optional)
  4. ~ 1 Tbl. butter
  5. black pepper

To make dough:

Combine all dough ingredients until moistened, then knead a few times. Start with 2 1/2 cups of flour, then add more, a small amount at a time, if dough is too wet. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a little water. When finished,  dough will still be somewhat lumpy and pretty sticky. Let stand, covered, for about half an hour.

To make potato filling:

Clean and boil the potatoes (skins on) until fork-tender. Drain and then rub the skins off. Add the garlic to the potatoes and mash to a smooth consistency. Stir in the cheese and onions.

To make sauerkraut filling:

Finely dice the onions and mushrooms. Sauté in butter until mushrooms are tender and onions are translucent. About halfway through cooking, add the sauerkraut (you may want to rinse it first), and season with black pepper to taste.

To assemble and cook:

On a well-floured work surface, roll dough to about 1/4″ thick. Using a 2-3″ diameter drinking glass or cookie cutter, cut out dough into circles. Combine scraps and re-roll until all dough is used. Take each dough circle and roll out further until it is ~1/16-1/8″ thick and 3-4″ in diameter (the easiest way is to roll, flip and turn 90 degrees, then roll again).

In the center of each flattened dough circle, place about a tablespoon of filling (amount will depend on filling type and how big your poerogi are, so adjust accordingly). Moisten the edge of the circle with water, then fold over and seal ~3/8″ of the edge, pressing the seam closed with your finger. It is very important to get a good seal – strands of sauerkraut are especially notorious for getting stuck in the seam and breaking the seal. Finish the seam by pressing along the edge with the tines of a fork.

Boil the pierogi for 10-12 minutes. Turn or stir once or twice during boiling. You can also cook by steaming. Remove from water to drain. To finish, sauté in melted butter until golden brown. Serve with sour cream, black pepper, and fried onions.

Dough makes about 2 dozen pierogi. Each filling recipe fills about 12-18 pierogi, so double the recipe if you only make one or the other.


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Responses

  1. Great Grandma Nadolski would be so proud!!!


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