I have been doing a lot of cooking these last few weeks. Cooking is one of my favorite parts of “staying home” – I love experimenting with new recipes and cooking with the kids. Although I do wish a Pandemic Fairy would show up to do the clean up because I am sooooooo tired of cleaning my kitchen. I think I have used more dishwasher detergent this past month than I used all of last year. I know – first world problems. Truly, I’m grateful for food on my table, a wealth of cooking experience and a dishwasher to assist with the clean up.
One recipe I have been wanting to try, talking about trying, even planning to try for the last couple of years is homemade pierogi. Fun fact – the word ‘pierogi’ is plural in Polish, the singular is one ‘pieróg’ – pronounced pye-ROOG. I wondered why both WordPress and Pages kept marking “pierogies” as incorrect. Now I know.
You know pierogi right? Little pillows of dough, some might call them dumplings, stuffed with a delicious mashed potato and cheese filling? What I affectionately refer to as “the ultimate comfort food.”
You can buy pierogi in the grocery store, usually in the frozen section. And we almost always have a box [or two] stashed in our freezer for when I need a quick meal or snack. In some parts of the country (mine) you can also buy them fresh. Around here it’s typically through various church groups and they are usually available during the holidays seasons. But I have never done that.
The only homemade pierogi I have ever had were made my high school best friend’s mom, okay that sounds like a mouthful, but that’s who made them. To me, this special meal was associated with Good Friday. I guess since they are a meatless dish? Sandy always made pierogi for Easter. At least I think it was Easter, now I am doubting my own memory, but I know these delicious dumplings were a once a year treat that I always looked forward to.
Interestingly, despite being one of the most commonly known Polish foods, my own family never made pierogi. Sure, we had Mrs. T’s pretty regularly, but never the real deal. I’m not sure why this recipe was not part of any of our family traditions.
Until now . . .
Since we are homebound these days I figured it was the perfect time to try out a pierogi recipe. Nope, that’s not true. I had been talking about making homemade pierogi with my cousin in New Jersey back when life was normal and we planned got spend Easter break with family (ah – the good old days . . .sigh). But Kelly suggested we had lots of time and encouraged me to make the pierogi anyway. I agreed, on the condition that she help.
Turns out, making pierogi is pretty easy. And fun when you have an amazing daughter to cook with.
The dough came together pretty simply. I combined the flour and salt in the bowl of my stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Then I added the eggs. The dough was pretty shaggy at this point. I turned the mixer down to low, added the Greek yogurt and butter and then let it mix on medium for about five minutes until a nice dough ball came together. After coating my hands with flour I divided the dough into three sections, wrapped each section in plastic wrap and popped it in the refrigerator for about an hour.
While the dough set, I made the potato filling. I peeled and diced about ten medium sized golden potatoes, put them in a pot covered them with water and brought the water to a boil. I added in a sprinkle of salt and let the potatoes cook for about fifteen minutes until tender. Your potatoes could take a little longer or shorter deepening on what type of potatoes you use and how small you cut your pieces.
When the potatoes were nice and tender I drained them, then returned them to the pot and cooked them over low heat for a couple of minutes to evaporate any remaining water. I added the buttermilk, cream cheese, salt and pepper and used a hand mixer to mash the potatoes until they were nice and creamy. Then I stirred in the cheddar cheese.
Working with one section of dough at a time, I rolled the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness (you want the dough to be nice and thin so it’s not too clumpy when you go to fold it over the potatoes), and cut out three inch circles using a biscuit cutter (or substitute a drinking glass). While I rolled, Kelly stuffed. She put about 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling into each circle and then folded the dough over and pinched it shut. We laid the stuffed pierogi on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
At this point, you can either immediately cook your pierogi in boiling water, refrigerate them for up to 24 hours, or freeze them in a single layer until frozen through and then transfer to a freezer bag and keep them frozen for up to 3 months.
We opted to cook ours. We brought a large pot of water to a boil, then added about ten pierogi at a time so as not to crowd the dumplings. When the pierogi are finished the float to the top. Using a slotted spoon I transferred the cooked pierogi to a bowl and continued to cook the pierogi in batches.
Finally, and please don’t skip this step, I sautéed the pierogi in a little bit of butter and olive oil until the edges were nice and crispy. My kids loved the little bit of crunch, especially when paired with a side of applesauce.
I enjoyed my pierogi with some sauerkraut. But bacon piece, sour cream, extra cheese, and of course apple sauce also make great toppings.
Stay safe! And enjoy these pierogi!
Simple Homemade Pierogi
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- 6 tbsp butter, softened
- 6-8 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 4 ozs. cream cheese, softened
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ozs. cheddar cheese, shredded
- Greek yogurt, sour cream, applesauce, suaerkraut, bacon bit, cheese
- Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add eggs and mix on medium speed. Dough will be shaggy. Add in Greek yogurt and butter and continue mixing at medium-high speed until the dough comes together.
- Divide dough in thirds, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at 1 hour and up to 2 days.
- Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and continue cooking potatoes at a low boil until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and return to pot over low heat, stirring to evaporate water.
- Add buttermilk, cream cheese, salt and pepper to the pot and mash using a hand mixer. Once potatoes are smooth and creamy stir in cheddar cheese.
- Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface, 1/8 inch thick, one secton at a time. Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut circles out of dough.
- Fill each circle with 1½ teaspoons of filling, fold over and pinch to seal.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pierogies in boiling water for 8-10 minutes, until pierogies float. Remove from water and continue cooking in batches of ten.
- Optional: Saute cookied pierogies in butter or olive oil for a crispy coating.
- Serve with apple sauce, sour cream, additional cheese, bacon or sauerkraut.