Before setting out to write today, I wanted to educate myself. My grandfather was Ukrainian and for some reason I always thought pierogi came from Ukraine. I wanted to look into this after spending the day with my fantastic friend KF making pierogi and she made a comment about how her grandmother has been making pierogi since she was a young girl. (and they are not Ukrainian) Imagine my shock when I find out the name Pierogi originally came from Poland. (duh!) And if you notice in my previous post for Chocolate Chip Cookies, I’ve been spelling them completely wrong for… uhm, my entire life? And pierogi is already plural so there’s no need for me to toss a s at the end. I should know that from science class, now shouldn’t I? Fungi vs. fungus
But to the fun stuff, I have so many wonderful memories around my grandma and making pierogi. I think the entire family does. She was renown for her pierogi, which saw her making hundreds just to appease her children and grandchildren. When the grandchildren were old enough, we were happily enlisted to help in the kitchen rolling potato balls for the inside and later, taught the proper pinching technique to ensure the yummy potato stuffing remained encased in the dough while being cooked, then later fried.
Unfortunately I never did get my grandmother’s dough recipe before she passed, but KF got hers from her grandma and its INCREDIBLE. (and she’s letting me share it here!) The potato mixture is never the same twice and can be decided upon by your mood (or what you have available). I’ve mixed an assortment of ingredients into my mashed potatoes including cooked crumbled bacon, onion, cooked crumbled hamburger meat and garlic but my go to recipe always includes old aged cheddar. Lots of it. So boil your potatoes, add milk, butter and mash. Add salt, pepper and your choice ingredient and keep sampling until you get to the flavour you love. Then grab some extra hands and get rolling your dough, stuffing and pinching. It will all be worth it when you get to enjoy your little pieces of heaven on a plate!
Homemade Pierogi Dough
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
Shift flours into a large bowl to create a softer dough. Add the salt to the flour, mix together with a fork.
Create a well in the middle of the flour. Pour the water, oil and egg into the well in the flour. Stir the mixture together as much as you can with the fork.
Knead the pierogi dough with your hands until it becomes a smooth and uniform mass. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes at room temperature. The longer it sits, the more soft it becomes and easier to roll out.
Roll the dough out and cut circles out for your pierogi. This is where having an extra set of hands come in handy. You need to work quickly at this point stuffing the dough. The dough will dry out quickly but will also stick back together if you leave them sit on top of each other. If you are working alone, have a cookie sheet ready with a tea towel on the bottom and a second one for on top. As you cut the circles, lay the circles down flat on the towel and cover them as you go.
INGREDIENTS – these are suggestions only!!
5 kg yellow potatoes, peeled, chopped and boiled (add salt to your water)
350 g of old aged cheddar approximately, adjust to taste
- Cook potatoes in a large pot as though you were making mashed potatoes. Drain your potatoes and add in your other ingredients. Mash or use a mixture until all lumps of potato are gone.
- Using a small teaspoon, place a small amount of potato in the middle of a dough circle and fold in half. You do not want to put too much potato as it will push out the edges and make it difficult to seal the dough.
- Pinch the dough together along the edges ensuring it’s sealed well. Place pierogi on parchment lined cookie sheet, or tea towel lined cookie sheet. They are ready to be cooked. It’s usually at this point I freeze them until I’m ready to eat them. I find they are less likely to stick together while cooking if they are frozen first.
- Optional: fry the cooked pierogi up in a little oil or margarine and serve with cooked crumbled bacon and onion pieces and lots of sour cream.