We all look for simple recipes, right?
Some recipes, though, take time. You can’t simplify them and expect a good result.
Pierogi is one of those foods that you can’t rush. I’m guessing that is why store-bought pierogi sell well, although they taste nothing like homemade.
My grandmother made the best pierogi. They looked great and tasted even better.
I watched her as she made her dough. She didn’t use measuring cups! How was I going to reproduce that?
When I first attempted homemade pierogi, I had a lot of trouble. My dough was stiff and hard to roll out, the filling oozed out when I boiled the dumplings, and the presentation was kind of lumpy and ugly.
My grandmother suggested rolling the dough thicker and letting the newly formed pierogi rest on the counter for a bit before boiling them.
Since then, I’ve experimented to come up with some fairly good measurements. But, the truth for any dough is that you must develop a feel for when it is right, slowly adding flour and kneading to get the correct consistency.
Humidity and air temperature affect the result. Pierogi dough should be a bit sticky and elastic when you finish kneading it.
As you work through this recipe, add flour slowly and stop when the dough is still wet but can be worked. Keep track of your measurements, but realize that those variables can change next time.
Don’t be tempted to let the mixer do all of the work. You must get a feel for the dough. That’s why Babci didn’t need measuring cups. She knew when the dough was perfect!
Pierogi with Potato and Cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. butter, melted
- ½ c. sour cream
- 2 ¾ c. flour, all-purpose
Potato Cheese Pierogi Filling
- 1 lb. cottage cheese
- 3 white potatoes
- ¼ c. mint, fresh, chopped
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
Make the Dough
- Melt butter in microwave.
- Mix sour cream and eggs in a stand mixer. Add in melted butter and continue beating until well-blended.
- Measure 1 cup of flour and add to the mixing bowl. Beat until incorporated with the wet ingredients, then add a second cup of flour.
- Continue adding the remaining flour, stopping when the dough is still wet but can be worked with your hands.
- Flour your working surface and turn dough out onto surface. Knead until dough becomes stretchy and smooth.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap while you make the filling.
Make the Filling
- Peel and quarter potatoes, and then boil until fork tender, about 25 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and then mash with a fork or whip with a hand mixer.
- Mix cottage cheese into the mashed potatoes. Add mint, salt, and pepper to taste.
Assemble the Pierogi
- Cut the dough in half and work with half at a time.
- Roll out dough on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Dust with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Place about 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling on the dough.
- Fold the edge of the dough over the filling to make a pocket.
- Use a cup or tart press to cut out the pierogi. Pinch the edges closed to secure the filling.
- Let the pierogi sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to "dry."
Boiling the Pierogi to Finish the Noodle
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a few pierogi at a time to the pot. Stir gently to avoid sticking.
- Boil for 30 seconds, or until pierogi float on surface of water. Remove to a colander and drain.
- Allow boiled pierogi to cool in a single layer on countertop.
- When cool, store in refrigerator or freezer, or continue to cook, below.
Cooking the Pierogi to Serve
- Melt butter in a large skillet on stovetop. Add some sliced onions and sauté over low heat until soft.
- Add pierogis and fry on both sides until browned and filling is heated through.
- Serve immediately.
That’s it! None of this is difficult, but it does take time. You can make the dough and refrigerate it, and make the filling another day, if that takes some of the pressure off!
However you choose to tackle this special family recipe, you’ll be glad you made your own pierogi from scratch.
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