I come from some good sturdy Polish stock and my grandmother, who a was notoriously terrible cook, would make pierogies when we came to visit. It was one of two dishes she made that was edible so I always requested them when we visited and she would always make extra and freeze them so we could take them home, even though it was a 14 hour drive. All of us get sentimental about the dishes of our childhood and the turn of season, the dark mornings and the grey skies were making a little pit in my belly that only a starch filled dumpling could fill.
When I was cooking the pierogies last night my daughter walked past and swiped one off the counter on her way to set the table.
“How are they?” I asked.
“Good.” she replied. “I mean they’re not bad good like the frozen ones. They’re good.”
“You know like you know the frozen ones are not really made with real ingredients but they still taste good.”…
So Mrs.T’s might still be an option if you’re craving bad good pierogies but I’m gonna stick with the good good ones because I’m also a sucker for the “traditional” pierogies of my childhood, filled with farmers cheese or sauerkraut and pork. I made the potato and cheese to feed the finicky small people.
To make the dough:
Combine on your counter:
- 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Combine in a bowl:
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, combine wet ingredients and pour mixture into well.
Work the ingredients together to form a ball and knead until combined. If the dough is sticking to your hands add more flour, if it is to dry add more sour cream.
Place dough on counter and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes or up to an hour. You can make the fillings while it rests.
For fillings I made:
Mashed Potato and Cheddar
Make a stiff version of mashed potatoes and add some grated cheddar to taste… I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe.
Farmers Cheese and Scallion
These are my childhood favorites, slightly sweeter than ricotta filling with just the right squish when you bite into them. Combine package of Farmers Cheese with two chopped scallions, salt and pepper and 1 egg.
Sauerkraut and Salt Pork
Another fav that my kids wouldn’t even try… and they think I’m boring! In a pan heat up diced salt pork or diced bacon until brown, add sauerkraut and pepper.
Now for the fun… Put a medium pot of water on to boil and then lets get to it…
If you have a pasta machine cut the dough in 4 sections, roll the first until it’s on the last setting. If rolling by hand cut dough into 4 sections and roll out on a lightly floured surface until dough is as thin as you can make it without it sticking. Lay out the first section of dough on your counter and using a round cookie/biscuit cutter cut circles out.
Take a spoonful of filling and place in the center, fold dough over and pinch together. you can use a fork to uber seal it if you want. If dough is not sealing use a little water to seal the edges.
Working in batches (I usually fill all the pierogies I’ve cut then boil them and then I start on the next batch). Drop the pierogies into the boiling water and boil for 4 minutes. Take out with a slotted spoon and place boiled pierogies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Repeat process until all dough is used.
You can store the boiled pierogies in the fridge for a couple days. To serve for dinner heat up a saute pan on medium heat, add butter and a little oil. Pan fry pierogies in batches heating until browned on both sides. Serve with sour cream. If you want to get fancy you can caramelize some onions in the pan before you reheat the pierogies and serve them with some fancy side like chutney. If you want to freeze some for later (my family of four took down the whole lot of them last night) skip the boiling step and freeze pierogies on a cookie sheet until stiff and transfer to a freezer bag. To reheat frozen pierogies, boil in water for 6 minutes and then pan fry.
Now picture yourself in a one story ranch house outside of Detroit decorated in the 50’s, sitting around a formica table with the radio playing “hits of the golden age” and your grandfather telling racist jokes and you’re right there with me. Enjoy!