You know how the old saying goes….You learn something new everyday!! I learned on Saturday that the singular is pierog and plural is pierogi. The word “pierogies” is the English language’s attempt to adopt and pluralize it…Anyway, I digress!
My boyfriend, Brian, has been wanting to embrace the cuisine of his Polish ancestors. Like me, he is half Irish and Celtic/British cooking gets way more play than Polish cuisine. He has been looking for recipes to make some of the favorites from his childhood. We figured we’d start with pierogi because they are clearly delicious, versatile, and pretty damn good!
He took the lead on this for a number of reasons. One — he wanted to really try to make this mostly on his own. Two — I am terrified of dough (see here for further examples). Three — he really likes to cook and I tend to dominate soooo I wanted to back off a bit. Plus, I think it’s pretty attractive when a gentleman can cook 🙂 <3
There were many steps to this but it was a fun Saturday night project (my, my….how time has changed with age)!! We ate them with a fresh salad and this was the perfect dinner.
Brian found the recipe here and it was really quite easy to follow. We obviously edited it to our liking.
The best part about pierogi is that you can fill them with whatever you want. They are Poland’s equivalent to samosas, empanadas, dumplings, etc. They are even better fried, but again – I digress.
Shall we get our Polish on?!?!? 🙂
Potato, Cheese, & Caramelized Onion Pierogi
For the filling:
- 3 large potatoes, washed & peeled
- 1 oz. farmers cheese
- 1 tbsp. blue cheese (optional — we didn’t use)
- 2 tbsp. cheddar cheese
- 1/2 white onion, finely minced
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
For the dough:
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. warm milk
- 1/2 – 3/4 c. warm water (depending on how well your dough absorbs the water — you don’t want sticky dough)
- 1 tbsp. melted butter
- a pinch of salt
For the toppings: (totally optional)
- cooked, crispy bacon
- caramelized onions
- sour cream
- cheddar cheese
Making the dough — (I’d recommend doing this first because the dough has to rest for about 1/2 hr. I can’t recommend much though because I wasn’t involved in this process. However, Brian did it first and that made way more sense than waiting!)
~ On a large, clear surface, sprinkle the flour all over and add in the pinch of salt.
~ Make a hole in the middle and begin adding milk & butter, turning it into the flour slowly. Add a trickle of water at a time and keep kneading until the dough is firm and is easily handled.
~ Place the dough in a bowl and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes while you assemble the rest of the ingredients for pierogi! Since I was hiding during this step, I only got one picture of the finished product!
Making the filling —
~ Place the potatoes in a pot of boiling water and cook them until tender, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool slightly.
~ While the potatoes are cooking, begin caramelizing your onion. We cooked the onion in some olive oil for about 15-20 minutes on medium-low heat. You can reserve some of the onion to sprinkle on top of the pierogi later if you want!
~ Using a blender, food processor, hand mixer, etc., mash the potatoes. We found that the food processor turned them velvety smooth and eliminated the possibility of any lumps!
~ Transfer the potatoes into a large bowl and add the cheddar cheese and farmers cheese (and the blue cheese if you are using it). Add the other spices and salt & pepper.
~ Stir all together & then add the caramelized onions to this beautiful, creamy, delicious potato mixture.
Making and assembling the pierogi —
~ Roll out the dough on a very floured surface. I like the French rolling pins but again, I’m terrified of dough so I don’t have much of a leg to stand on. I do own a rolling pin, however.
He’s so handsome 🙂 🙂 <3
`Roll the dough until about thin — probably between 1/8″-1/4″.
~ Using a glass, wine glass, or cookie cutter, cut out circles until all the dough is gone. Keep rolling it out after you’ve made cuts and then cut more. We got about 26 circles of dough out of this batch!
~ Place 1 tsp. of filling in the middle of each circle. Wet one edge of the dough and then fold them closed. Pinch the edges and crimp them, too, if you want. That was my job — crimping the edges 🙂
~ Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Place 5-6 pierogi in the boiling water at a time. When they float to the surface, allow them to cook for one more minute and then remove. Using a slotted spoon is probably the best way to fish out the pierogi.
~ Place them on a baking sheet to dry/cool.
~ Now – this next part is optional but totally makes sense and is the best way to eat these. Warm some oil (I used grapeseed) in a saute pan. Fry the pierogi until each side is golden brown. Remove from the stove and allow them to drain on paper towels.
~ Serve warm with your favorite toppings!! You can also eat them not fried — still delicious. But, I mean, frying things make everything better!
Our first Polish cooking experience was a success!! We can’t wait to make these again — especially with the holidays soon approaching. It might be fun to try different fillings, too!!
Enjoy 🙂 <3