December 16, 2014

Homemade Potato Cheese Pierogi


These delicious little, fluffy pillows of potatoes and cheese, are wrapped in a tender dough and fried with onions in butter, until golden brown. They are scratch comfort-cooking at its finest. For most of my life, I ate the frozen pierogi from the box, and never really gave it a second thought. I mean, let’s face it, the frozen ones are actually pretty decent. When I married my husband, though, the boxed, pre-made pierogi became a thing of the past for me. My husband is 100% Polish, and I don’t think he knowingly ever ate a store-bought pierogi in his life (and he wasn’t about to start.)

So, I learned to make them from scratch. At first I learned from my mother-in-law, and then I had to translate what I learned into an actual recipe. She made them the way that was handed-down to her, and added a bit of this and a bit of that, with no actual measurements. Her pierogi were absolutely delicious, but because I like to collect recipes (especially heirloom ones), I quantified the ingredients over the years, into something that I could actually write down.  And let me tell you, making these pierogi from scratch are absolutely worth it. They are so much more delicious than frozen, and cost so little to make.

We eat these pierogi all year round, but they are of special significance for Christmas Eve, when Polish Catholic tradition dictates an all-vegetarian meal. Although, I am not Polish or Catholic myself, tradition is important to us, so we stick with it. 

This recipe makes a 3-4 dozen (depending on size, and how thick you roll the dough), but since pierogis are labor-intensive, I tend to make many more, and then freeze them for later. This recipe is for potato-cheese pierogi (my favorite), but there are many other fillings you can use (farmer's cheese, sauerkraut, and even prune). 


Recipe
Makes 3-4 dozen, depending on size

Ingredients:

For the dough:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sour cream
¼ cup vegetable or olive oil

For the filling:
2 pounds russet potatoes
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups milk, heated (but not boiled)
1/3 cup dried chives (optional)
Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to thoroughly mix all of the dough ingredients together. The dough will be very sticky – this is normal. Cover your hands with a light coating of oil, and knead the dough, without adding more flour, until it is a little less sticky. Form the dough into a ball, and place in an oiled bowl. Brush the dough with a little oil, and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (to as long as overnight).

2. Prepare the filling by boiling the potatoes until they are very tender. Drain and pass them through a fine sieve using the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the butter, cheese, hot milk, and chives (use a little more or less milk, as needed). Season with salt and pepper to taste, and use a little more salt than you would normally use (therwise you risk the finished pierogis being bland).

3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to warm up slightly. Roll it out very thin (about 1/8” inch), and use a round biscuit or dumpling cutter (or even a lid or a drinking glass) to cut out circles of dough. If you find the dough is too springy, and not holding its shape, allow it to rest for a few minutes, and then continue to roll out. It should be looser after letting it rest.

4. Place a small amount of filling in each circle, then fold the dough in half, forming a crescent shape. Tuck in any filling as you fold the dough – you don’t want filling hanging out of the edges. You can stretch the dough a little as you fold it, to make sure the filling is enclosed. Dip your fingers into a bowl of water and use your damp fingers to seal the edges tight.

5. Place the pierogis into a large pot of boiling water, and remove them with a slotted spoon when they rise to the top. Set them aside to drain on a rack coated with oil.

6. You can freeze the pierogi at this point, or go ahead and sauté them immediately. Sauté them in butter with sliced onions, until the onions and pierogis are golden brown. Serve with sour cream. 


Shared at: Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country CottageThrifty Thursday Link Party at Living Well Spending Less and Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook. Visit these blogs for more great recipes!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, your Pierogies look amazing! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a very special Christmas week!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete

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