Pierogies are on my list of foods that I don’t make very often. These foods are labor intensive and if you can manage to drag someone else into the kitchen and make them help then you are luckier than me. My boys just look at me like I have three heads and go back to spreading Legos around like Hansel in the forest. So I am not kidding when I say that although these take no great skill they take time. I usually do at least a double batch so that I can cook some and freeze some so that I don’t have to make them as often. I know you can run to the store and buy the frozen kind but I made these from scratch the first time because my mother-in-law can’t eat hard cheese and most of what you find in stores has cheese. I made those first pierogies with cream cheese and caramelized onions. If you want to serve the frozen kind then NEVER make these because once you have a homemade pierogie there is no going back! First the dough:
2 cups of flour
½ teaspoon of salt
1 large egg
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup butter or butter blend (cut up into pieces and room temperature)
Mix the flour and salt then make a well and crack your egg into it. Use a fork to beat the egg in its little well then incorporate it into the flour and salt.
Next add the sour cream and the butter then stir just a little until it starts to stick together. Now knead this dough on a lightly floured board. It will seem like it is never going to come together and at the end you may have a lot of dry dough pieces off to the side. Do not add more liquid! Just leave those pieces there and once the main dough has come together and your arms are tired and you want to hit me then place the dough in some plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can do the dough up to 2 days ahead of time if you want.
Now for the filling you can use anything you want. You can fill these with meat or potatoes and cream cheese or sauerkraut. I filled mine with potatoes, caramelized onions, and cheddar cheese. I used:
3 onions (Vidalia are in season here so I used those)
5 Yukon Gold potatoes (of various sizes. Where are these bags of only one size potatoes that you see in recipes or do people just go buy 3 bags and then sort the potatoes?)
¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
I made a double batch of dough so if you are making the recipe for dough above this is probably way more filling than you will need. If you do end up with extra filling you can just freeze it for later or add some flour and bread crumbs and have potato cakes or even some milk and have mashed potatoes.
Caramelize the onions and boil the potatoes. Note: Caramelizing the onions is easy. Just add onions and some type of oil to a pan then leave them alone for around 20 minutes. Come by every now and then and stir to make sure they aren’t sticking. Once they are all a nice light brown then take them off the heat.
Do not add any liquid to the potatoes because you will make your dough soggy. Just mash everything together and let it cool completely.
Now for making the pierogies. Prepare yourself. You might want a stiff drink or your favorite music because this could take some time. If you are cooking them right away then get a pot of water boiling and a nonstick skillet on a burner. Now flour your surface and get out a rolling pin. Whack the dough with the rolling pin. Seriously, this dough is hard right now and you have to hit it repeatedly to get it into a state that you can roll out. Or at least mine was after a couple of hours. Maybe you can just roll it out if you only chill it 30 minutes. Anyhow, once it is flatter you can roll out the dough. I have a handy little tool for making dumplings and such that the hubby got me.
The pierogies tend to stick when you crimp them so I just use the back side of this to cut them out. Since you probably don’t have one of these then just use a drinking glass or cookie cutter. Make sure that you roll your dough out fairly thin because you don’t want really thick dumplings. Once you have cut them out then take them in the palm of your hand and add the filling. I used a scoop for cookie dough because it is an easy way to measure but you can use just a tablespoon.
When you are reusing the dough to make more you may find that it is getting very stretchy and hard to roll out. If this happens then just wrap it back up and chill it a little. Now you can refrigerate these on a sheet pan with flour to keep them from sticking and cook them later. Freeze them and go out for a well-deserved drink, or you can cook them now.
To cook just place in boiling water until they float then crisp both sides in a pan with some butter. I served mine with some sour cream mixed with horseradish.
Now bonus recipe time! I don’t really like cabbage except in egg rolls and sometimes cole slaw. So when I tell you that I like this recipe for quick kraut you know it is good. This recipe made about 2 servings but then my kids still won’t try it yet so if you want to fix more just double the recipe. You will need:
½ head of cabbage (color does not matter although a purple cabbage will give you very purple kraut)
½ tablespoon oil or butter
½ teaspoon caraway seeds (if you can’t find them at the store then try Penzey’s I swear by their spices and you can order online if you don’t have a local store)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
In a pan, on medium heat, cook the onions until they start to soften then add the cabbage. When the cabbage has reduced down and softened then add your caraway and the apple. Once the apples start to soften add in the sugar and vinegar and reduce your heat. Place a lid on your pan and allow to cook about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve with the pierogies or some sausage.