The Pierogi

pierogiMy Grandma might call a pierogi by another name, varenyky. This is a boiled dumpling to a Ukrainian. A Russian family might considerĀ a pierogi a “baked pastry”. I do believe that today it is more or less globally accepted that the boiled dumpling represents the pierogi or pirogi (depending on where you are from).

Grandma and Grandpa Shpak both hailed from the Ukraine. They arrived in America in the early 1900’s as turmoil in Europe drove thousands to seek safety elsewhere. My Mom learned to make pierogies from the master herself. grandma hardly spoke English but she could easily put you in your place in her kitchen. Her recipes are slowly becoming traditions in my home. I will share with you.

The pierogi is a very traditional Slavic dish. They are labor intensive…so make enough to freeze and serve over a several week period. I will make both potato and kraut filling….and go out side tradition and make a ruben pierogi with a dark pumpernickel dough….I have been dreaming this up for several years and finally have time and the cajones to make a splash in this Slavic planet.

Potato Filling
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups cold mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper

kraut filling
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained ,rinsed and minced

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 egg
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

kraut filling
melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the drained sauerkraut and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove to a plate to cool.

mashed filling
melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir into the mashed potatoes, and season with salt and white pepper.

beat together the eggs and sour cream until smooth. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder; stir into the sour cream mixture until dough comes together. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until firm and smooth.
I use a mixer with dough hook…cause I be lazy. Mom did it by hand (her problem not mine) I will place my dough in a covered bowl and refrigerate a bit after preparing ….it rolls out easier.

Divide the dough in half, then roll out one half to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 3 inch rounds using a biscuit cutter (I use a drinking glass as my cutter ).
Place a small spoonful of the mashed potato filling into the center of each round. Moisten the edges with water, fold over, and press together with a fork to seal. Repeat procedure with the remaining dough and the sauerkraut filling.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pierogies and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until pierogi float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Allow cooked pierogies to cool a bit and you can eat as you have boiled them….OR fry them with butter and chopped onion for a more savory munch. I have watched them served with gravy….dipped in different sauces or just plated right after boiling. Either way you choose to serve them, they are great. I will lay my pierogies on a wax paper and place in freezer bags to make them easy to use later when I am taking from the freezer to the pan. I like mine fried with chopped onion and butter. Served with a touch of sour cream.

2 Comments on “The Pierogi

  1. I challenge chef Gregg to come up with an Illinois haystack, he put his own touch on it and it was delicious hate to say it but the man did a good job

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