Pick-A-Filling Pierogi

>> Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pick-A-Filling Pierogi
Pierogi, also called vareniki, perogi, perogy, piroghi, pirogi, piroshki, pirozhki, pyrohy, pielmieni, pierogies, pierogie, piroggen, and pelmeni. Whew!

Why would Joe and I try to cook pierogi when we can get them frozen in the store any day? Well, we had a couple reasons. First, we knew that  the Polish celebrate Christmas and Easter with special types of dumplings, and we wanted to get into the spirit of Easter by celebrating some other country's customs.

Second, Joe has been experimenting with different kinds of pasta dough, as you may have seen in our recipes like gnudi with wild mushrooms, gyoza dumplings, ricotta and chard gnocchi, and bacon-filled ravioli. Pierogi was a logical step.

Third, we all know that everything tastes better when you make it fresh, and when you customize it to your own tastes. That's why we've included some rather traditional pierogi recipes, along with our own variations. The wonderful thing about dumpling filling is you can throw in whatever you have or whatever you like - just make sure it's well chilled or stuffing will be difficult.

Our fillings for pierogies (below the photos):


Berries and Cottage Cheese

(Pittsburgh or Ruskie style)

Apricot Compote

Beef and Vegetable

Sweet Prune (Lekvar)

Mushroom-Sauerkraut (Uzska)

Peanut Butter and Banana
(not traditional!)

Bacon-Swiss-Caramelized Onion

Kielbasa and Cabbage (Haluski-style pierogi)

Traditionally, Polish Catholics forsake meat products on holy days, especially in the 40 days of Lent before Easter, so potato, cheese, mushroom, sauerkraut, and fruit are often the favorite stuffing.

vareniki, perogi, perogy, piroghi, pirogi, piroshki, pirozhki, pyrohy, pielmieni, pierogies, pierogie, piroggen, pelmeni

I also read that people (perhaps in smaller villages) would bring their foodstuffs to the church before Easter and have the priest bless them. Then they would share their dishes with each other. I love the idea of a community getting together to share their foods and celebrate together. It reminds me of the community breakfast my church serves on Easter Sunday.

Polish Priest blessing Easter food baskets (Swiecone)
Priest blessing food baskets (Swiecone) the day before Easter
(thanks to http://www.polamjournal.com for the beautiful photo!)

While Joe and I did quite a bit of experimenting while making these, we got some initial help from the time-tested pierogi recipes of Tasting Poland. The writer shares her family pierogi recipes, along with all sorts of tips and tricks.

Ingredients - Pierogi Dough

3 cups white flour
1 tsp.salt
1 cup warm water
1 egg
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp. vegetable oil

Instructions - Pierogi Dough

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Pour in the water while mixing vigorously.
Whisk together the egg, sour cream, and oil. Make a well in the middle of the flour, then pour in the egg mixture. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, blend the liquid into the flour mixture.

Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic - about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour; if it is too dry, sprinkle it with a bit of water.

Now sprinkle some more flour on your work surface and roll out the dough until it is about 1/8" thick. Try not to overwork the dough, or it will be tough after it's cooked. Cut out circles with a cookie cutter or cup.

Meat and potato-cheese pierogi ready for boiling.
Step 1: Roll out your dough and fill the dough circles. These are potato-cheese and meat-veggie pierogi.

Place a heaping tablespoon of filling onto one half of the circle, then wet the edge with a little water so the dough will stick together. Fold over the other half of the dough and pinch the edges shut.

Cooking Pierogi
Step 2: Boil the pierogi 5-8 minutes

Heat a large pot of boiling water, drop in 1/3 of the dumplings, and give them a gentle stir. Boil 5-8 minutes - the pierogi should pop up to the top about halfway through the cooking time. If you're watching the pot, you can time the second half of the cooking by the time they bob to the surface.

While they're cooking, if you'd like to toast them before eating, heat up a little oil in a pan on medium heat. Drop in the pierogi after you've strained them out of the water, and cook 2 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.

Browned pierogi
Step 3: Brown the pierogi in some oil or butter. These are Haluski-style pierogi, with kielbasa and cabbage.

Whether you want to fry the pierogi after cooking or not, we really like serving these with a dollop of sour cream, regardless of the filling. Some people pour melted butter over them, and top with fried onions. Delicious.

 Makes about 30 stuffed pierogi.

Pierogi Filling Recipes

Potato and Mushroom

2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup milk
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp butter or oil
1 tsp powdered garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil or steam the potatoes until tender, then mash with the milk until smooth. In a skillet, saute the vegetables until tender, then stir in the garlic, salt and pepper, and potatoes. Chill until cold, then stuff into pierogi.

Potato-Cheese-Onion (Pittsburgh or Ruskie pierogi)

2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, cubed, or fresh Farmer's cheese (more traditional)
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp butter or oil
1 tsp powdered garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil or steam the potatoes until tender, then mash with the milk until smooth. Stir in the cheese cubes, cover with a lid, and let sit for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. In a skillet, saute the onion until tender, then stir in the garlic, salt and pepper, and potatoes. Chill until cold, then stuff into pierogi.

Mushroom and Sauerkraut

2 oz. dried mushrooms, rehydrated, or 2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms (porcini, morels, or chanterelles are very good here)
1 onion
1/2 tsp dill
2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and well-drained
1 tbsp butter

Chop the onion and mushroom well, then saute in the butter until tender. Chop the sauerkraut and dill and stir into the mixture. Chill until cold, then stuff into pierogi.

Beef and Vegetable

1/2 lb ground beef
2 carrots
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 leek
1 celery stalk
1 onion
butter or oil for frying
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup water or broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. Set aside. Finely chop the vegetables, then saute in the oil until soft. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, then transfer to a blender or food processor. Process until the mixture has a uniform texture similar to large crumbs. Chill until cold, then stuff into pierogies and cook away!

Bacon-Swiss-Caramelized Onion

1/2 lb bacon
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup Swiss cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup bread crumbs
Salt and Pepper to taste

Fry the bacon until crisp, then drain on paper towels. Cook the onions in the bacon grease, then drain and place in a bowl. Chop up the bacon and add it to the onions. Shred the cheese, then add the cheese, butter, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to the mixture. Chill until very cold, then stuff the pierogi.

Kielbasa (Haluski-style Pierogi)

1/2 pound Polish Kielbasa sausage
1 tsp oil
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup chopped celery
2 cups shredded green cabbage

Dice the kielbasa. Heat the oil in a large skillet, then add the kielbasa and cook until warm and slightly browned. Remove to a mixing bowl, then melt the butter in the skillet. Add the rest of the ingredients, and cook over low heat until tender. Add to the kielbasa and stir well. Chill until cold, then stuff into pierogi.

Berries and Cottage Cheese

4 cups raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries, bilberries, or other fruit
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Put the cottage cheese in a colander and press out the liquid. Stir together all ingredients, then chill until very cold. Stuff into pierogi.

Apricot Compote

12 oz. dried apricots
1 cup water
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp brandy
1 tbsp melted butter

Place the apricots, water, and lemon zest in a small pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then simmer until soft - about 20 minutes. Drain the water, then transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the rest of the ingredient, then process into a thick chunky jam. Chill well before stuffing into pierogi.

Sweet Prune (Lekvar)

2 cups dried, pitted prunes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Put the prunes in a pan and cover with hot water. Let them soak 1/2 hour, then drain them. Add the lemon juice and sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally,  until it forms a chunky paste. Chill until cold, then stuff the pierogi.

Peanut Butter and Banana

2 ripe bananas
1 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)

Slice the bananas into disks, then place one or two disks onto each dough round. Top with a few teaspoons of peanut butter. After boiling, fry these in butter and then sprinkle with the cocoa powder.

Make lots of pierogi - and then freeze them for later!


Post a Comment

Talk to us - we love hearing from our readers!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP