Pierogis are genius. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re lovely little dumplings filled with various things, from mashed potatoes to sauerkraut to cheese to ground beef (the last uses a different dough and is called kreplach. We’ll make those another time). They’re a bit time-consuming but not difficult, and it’s easy to make a number of meals’ worth at a time and freeze them*, so I think it’s worth it.
I only had these once as a kid, and pretty much forgot about them until I got the Mensch Chef cookbook and they were one of the first recipes. I changed up the recipe to use sour cream in the dough, because the one time I’d had them before, that’s how they were made. I apologize to those of you who hate and fear carbohydrates. This is nothing but. The rest of you, enjoy!
Ingredients (makes about 42 pierogis)
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 T water
For the filling:
2 smallish potatoes (for about 3 cups when mashed)
1 cup cheddar, grated
1/4 cup butter
Make the dough. Just combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until you have a nice sticky dough. Wrap it in plastic wrap while you make the filling.
Peel and chop the potatoes and boil them for 10-15 minutes until they are tender enough to fall apart when stabbed with a fork.
Rice or mash the potatoes and stir in butter and cheese.
There’s your filling. Set it aside and roll out your dough. I have limited counter space, so I cut the dough in half and did this in two batches. You want to roll it out as thin as you can.
Then use a 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter (or glass in my case, because I couldn’t find my biscuit cutters. It’s about time I reorganized my kitchen.) You can re-roll the scraps, but the dough gets springier each time you try, so it’s best to get as many rounds as you can on the first go.
Once you have all your circles, start filling them. They can each hold about 1 1/2 to 2 T of mashed potatoes. Just take a big pinch of potatoes, plop it in the middle of a dough circle, and pinch the edges together to seal.
My recipe says you need to cover the dough and uncooked pierogis in plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out. I thought about it for about half a second, decided that it sounded way too finicky and dismissed the idea. Nothing went wrong, so neener neener.
Once you have all your pierogis happily lined up and ready to cook, bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and plop the dumplings in batches. once they float, after only 3-4 minutes, they’re done. You can then fry them in butter or oil if you want, but they don’t need it. Serve with applesauce or apples, veggies, sour cream, or anything else you like.
Mr. B mixed sour cream, garlic, and horseradish for a dip and topped his with bacon salt. Bacon salt, I told him, should not be used on Jewish food. “Why not?” he said. “It’s kosher.” And it turns out, that’s true. Something about that just seems wrong, but I am a bit curious now. Maybe I should try the bacon salt next time.
*Oh, about freezing them. Don’t just throw all the leftovers in a Tupperware container and freeze. They will be impossible to separate and Mr. B will pout and complain about it when reheating them for lunch. lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze, then throw them in a plastic bag or Tupperware and store in the freezer.