How to Make Pierogi: a Tasty Treat!
Pierogi... Perogy... Pirogen... Pyrohy...Piruhi... Simple Dish is Simply DeLish!
You see them in the grocery store aisle, but did you know that is really is easy to make these wonderful treats from scratch? My daughter-in-law Ashlie and her mother taught me how to make these tasty dumplings - the night BEFORE Ashlie gave birth to my granddaughter! Although making dough scared me to death - I am a horrible baker - If my very pregnant daughter-in-law could make these then I knew it MUST be simple enough for this wanna-a-be chef!
Pierogi are half circular dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed with one or more ingredients: mashed potatoes, cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, mushrooms, spinach... Really, this versatile dish can be customized to your personal preferences. Dessert versions of the dumpling can be stuffed with a fresh fruit filling, such as cherry, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, peach, plum, apple...
You have everything you need in your kitchen cupboard!
4 cups Flour
2 teaspoons salt
We made garlic, onion, parmesean cheese and potato FILLING:
Couple of pounds of peeled and quartered potatoes
Milk or Cream or Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper
Flour and Butter to make roux/basis for your cheese sauce
Pack of American Cheese Slices or Several Cups of your Favorite Shredded Cheese
Extra Virgin Olice Oil or butter
Salt and Pepper
or whatever you want!
Mashed Potato Filling
Garlic, Onions and Cheese are optional
Whatever filling you decide to use, be sure that you think ahead and start preparing your filling so that it is ready when you are ready to stuff your dumplings.
We used the traditional mashed potato stuffing, with the addition of sauted garlic and onions. We also added a bit of parmesean cheese to make it extra scrumptious. Using leftover mashed potatoes is a great way to clean out your fridge. Add sauted garlic and onions and enough milk or sour cream to thoroughly mix them. OR, use your favorite mashed potato recipe and, once ready, add whatever spices, vegetables and/or meat that you want to create your own unique pierogi filling.
Making the Dough
Isn't playing in your food just grand?
Mix all ingredients together and knead just a bit. You may need to add more or less water to get the ingredients incorporated. The dough will be somewhat smooth, yet still quite sticky.
Let stand covered with a clean towel for about 1/2 to let the dough rise.
Forming Pierogi Dumplings
Use extra flour to keep pierogis from sticking to hands and table
Pastry board or parchment/wax paper
Rolling pin or large glass
Have plenty of flour on hand to keep the dough from sticking to your hands, work surface and rolling pin (a little cooking spray on your surface and hands works well too!). Taking a portion of the dough, place it on your board and knead it (not too hard or you'll make it tough) until it feels ready to form. Using your floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to form a 1/4" thick rectangle.
A kitchen glass works just as well as fancy cookie cutters!
Using a cookie cutter, or the glass, cut out circles. Remember that you'll be folding them in half once they are filled, so how large a cookie cutter you use really depends on how large your want your Pierogi to be. We used a glass that cut circles about 3" wide.
HINT: if you are making a dessert pierogi, I'd make them a bit larger than the "normal" 3" entree sized dumplings
Filling your Piergi
Too much filling CAN be a bad thing
Now comes the fun part... FILLING your Piergi Dumplings.
After you have cut your circles, use your hand to flatten them a bit. Drop a rounded spoonful of your filling onto the center of the circle. Remember that you need to be able to fold your circle to create half-moon shaped dumplings so how much filling you use depends on the size of your circle.
You can fill a pierogi with just about anything! Think savory (vegetables, spices, cheeses, meats) for entree and sweet (pie fillings, sweet cheeses) for desserts.
Crimping your Pierogi Dumpling
Important step because you don't want to lose any of your tasty filling!
After you have filled your pierogi, use a bit of an egg wash (beat together one egg and a bit of water to thin it ) and brush the perimeter of your circle. Then, carefully fold your dough circle until you have formed a half-moon, with your filling secured in the middle.
Using your finger or a fork (or a fancy kitchen gadget), crimp the edges so that your filling is secured inside your dumpling. Don't worry if a bit of your filling comes out, "rustic" food tastes just a good as "perfect" food!
Cooking your Pierogi
Boil, Bake, Fry or a combination of all three
Now comes the time to decide HOW you are going to cook your pierogi. We chose to boil them (traditional way to cook them) like fresh pasta. This will leave them cooked and soft. You can also bake or fry them. OR, boil them until they are done and then, to make them crunchy, bake or fry them a bit. It all depends on what type of pierogi you are creating and how you want them to "feel" in your mouth when you eat them.
Just like when you are cooking pasta, it is important that you have enough of boiling water so that the pierogi have plenty of space to "swim" or move around while cooking. So, heat a huge pot of water and, once it is boiling, carefully add pierogi to the pot. Do NOT overcrowd them -- adding too many at a time almost guarantees that will stick together making it next to impossible for them to cook evenly.
Pierogis are done when they float to the top of the water. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove them from the water, and place them in a bowl or in an overproof dish. Add a bit of butter to help them from sticking together and keep them in a warm oven (really low temp so that they don't burn).
Be sure that your water is back up to a boil before cooking your next batch. Continue until all of your pierogis are cooked.
Serving your Pierogis
Once all of your pierogi are cooked, you are ready to plate them, serve and ENJOY! We made a cheese sauce to serve over ours:
In a small pot, heat a couple of tablespoons of butter. Once it melts, add a couple of tablespoons of flour and stir. This is a roux and the basis for all sauces. Once the mixture is heated through, slowly add milk to the pot and bring to a low simmer. Add your cheese slices or shredded cheese a little at a time, being sure to stir to help the cheese melt. Keep adding cheese (and any other ingredients you want) until your cheese sauce if ready. If the cheese you are using is greasy, just make a little more roux by mixing equal parts melted butter or oil and flour in a seperate container. Add a bit of the roux to the cheese sauce and heat almost to the boil (heat thickens the roux) until you have reached your desired consistency.
Enjoy your Homemade Pierogis!
Now, plate your pierogis (they are filling so start with only a couple at a time) and add whatever topping you desire. We LOVE cheese, so we added plenty and then gorged ourselves on this delicious, nutritious and spectacular meal!