These happy little dumplings filled with potato originally hail from Pre-war Poland (now the Ukraine). The types of filling can vary, but potato, onion, and cheese are common. This versitle dough can be baked, boiled, or fried from its frozen state. Perfect for holidays or make ahead for a quick and impressive side to any meal. When a member of the University Christian Church Solid Rock Youth Group asked me to submit something for their silent auction, how could I say no? My alma mater just as much as my high school, this is the place where I met my high school sweetheart, now my husband of 7 years. Their leader married us. The trips--the summer camps, CIY conferences, missions trips to Mexico and New Orleans and Alabama--greatly influenced who I am today. It feels like just a summer or two ago, not a decade ago. I wouldn't be surprised if my R.A.M. letters are still tucked into a box somewhere.
So, really, how could I say no?
I had made and donated pierogies before, so that was what I offered. I mean, who wouldn't want little smile-shaped pockets of mashed potato?
These little dumplings take a little more effort than my standard recipe, but Pierogies are my love language, so I find that it's worth it. And, since you do all the work ahead of time, it only takes a few minutes to enjoy this terrific side dish on a busy evening.
They're just my favorite. You can tell because in this digital age, I actually took the time to write down the recipe on a card.
Just ignore the fact that I misspelled vegetable here, please. *face-palm*
Start with the dough. A large bowl and a well of flour filled with the liquid ingredients. Go slowly; the best things in life cannot be rushed.
I took a chance, and used my dough hook on my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer to handle the kneeding of this dough. I was nervous because I had never used that feature before, but it worked like a charm! And watching it go was more than mildly satisfying.
While the dough rests, start peeling and boiling potatoes to make the filling.
I've never met a flavor of pierogi that I didn't like. Green onion and cheddar are my favorites, but today I made cheddar and onion.
Roll out the dough to about 1/8 of an inch thick, and cut into circles using a biscuit cutter or an upside down cup. Stuff with about a tablespoon of potato in each. Seal the edges with loving attention to detail -- nobody wants a watery pierogi.
Most importantly, lay flat individually on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and leave in the freezer for 24-48 hours until frozen.
I tried to rush this process once. I bagged a bunch of half-frozen pierogies and proudly walked into Thanksgiving dinner, unaware of the catastrophe that awaited. Skip to the end of the story: me in tears, all the pierogies stuck together, most of them ripping open while they boiled.
A few people politely ate raw, watery pierogi dough that year. I am so sorry.
Ok back to today, because I've mastered this process now, and I'd rather repress that memory. After freezing this batch for a day, of course I had to taste test! Obviously I've learned SOMETHING from the Thanksgiving Day fiasco!
I boiled them first, 5 minutes, but then I fried them up in a skillet with a little olive oil. Ya know, for my health. Butter would be even better.
Soft and freshly boiled is fine, but that little bit of brown, crispy crust just puts them over the top.
So please, if you are attending the UCC Silent Auction tonight, bid some $$$ on my pierogies, because it's for a good cause.
- 3 C all purpose flour
- 1 C water
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
- 6 oz grated cheddar
- 1 tbsp garlic salt
- Put flour in a large, shallow bowl, and make well in the center. Add water, egg, oil, and salt. Carefully beat together with a fork, not to disturb the flour. Continue stirring, gradually incorporating flour until a soft dough forms
- Transfer dough to a floured surface and kneed about 8 minutes, or use a dough hook and kneeding setting on a stand mixer.
- Dump dough onto clean counter top. Invert bowl over dough and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
- While dough stands, peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch pieces. Boil potatoes about 8 minutes. Drain, add cheese and garlic salt, and mash (feel free to use a stand mixer here too!).
- Let potatoes cool, and scoop with a cookie scoop to make uniform rounded balls. Refrigerate until dough is ready.
- Half the dough, and roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Cut 24 rounds with a floured cutter.
- Place a single round in the palm of your hand, add a potato ball in the center, and use your fingers to close the dough around the ball. Pinch the edges firmly and seal completely.
- Freeze for 24 to 48 hours. They can remain in the freezer for 3 months (if they last that long).
- When ready to eat, boil pierogies for 5 minutes or until they float.
Optional: drain and fry in a small amount of olive oil until a crust forms.