Pierogis are the ultimate comfort food.
Honestly, I’d be hard-pressed to find food that doesn’t give me comfort — maybe raw carrots? — but pierogis are on a whole. other. level. It’s that perfect trifecta of dough, potato, and cheese. Dressed up, it’s a medley of garlic, caramelized onion, and herbs swimming in thick swathes of sour cream. Dressed down, it’s a meat ‘n’ potatoes (or just potatoes) kinda dish; the simplest of offerings.I’ve always been hesitant to attempt making pierogi myself, though. It seems like such a production! There’s the dough, and the mashing potatoes, and the filling and pinching and boiling and frying to boot.
But my ancestors of little Ukrainian grandmothers have been participating in this production for generations. Who’s to say I can’t take up the tradition?
So, I invited my pals over for a dinner party of pierogi, cabbage rolls, and beet goat cheese appies. Of course this was my first time making any of the three. With our combined efforts, we whipped together a sumptuous meal that had my belly full for hours. The pierogi and appies were positively divine. The cabbage rolls admittedly looked more like crusty hot magma — so appetizing, I know — but were entirely edible.
For a simple pierogi recipe that even I can follow, read on!
I made pierogis for four people, and allotted roughly 1.5 potatoes per person. This was just enough dough to feed all four of us (though I did have some mashed ‘taters left over — which is never a bad thing).
Dough (recipe via Allrecipe):
- 4 c flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 c warm water
- 1 egg, beaten
Pierogi filling | Cheddar and garlic
- Salt ‘n’ pep
Pierogi filling | Beet, goat cheese, and dill
- 1 beet
- Goat cheese
- Salt ‘n’ pep
Start off on your dough! Mix your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients. In a separate, smaller bowl, mix together vegetable oil, warm water, and your egg. Pour it into your dough well, and mix together. Knead it UP, until well-combined. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover with a towel, and fuhgetaboutit for 2 hours.
Now for the fillin’! Boil your potatoes and beets. I cooked them all together, because easy. They should be very soft and cooked through. While that’s cookin’ away, you can grate up your ched, chop some dill, and smash garlic.
Once your potatoes are soft through and through, mash them so they’re smooth as can be. (Set the beet to the side though — don’t get it in the mix quite yet!) I used an immersion blender to get a consistent texture, but you can also mash by hand. Just make sure there aren’t a lotta lumps and bumps.
When all of your potatoes are pulverized, divide between two bowls. Mash the beet, and mix it in with one of the bowls.
In the beet mash, add chopped dill, goat cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well! Get that goat cheese all swirled in. In the plain potato mash, add grated cheddar, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Mix well! And set your mash to the side for later.
OK, after your dough has been sittin’ pretty for a couple of hours, flour a surface and grab out a rolling pin. Flour your rolling pin as well, so it doesn’t stick to the dough as well. Roll the dough so it is very very thin. Think tortilla, or dumpling skin, if you need an idea of thickness: not paper thin, to where it’s falling apart, but not hefty either. There is nothing worse than a pierogi that’s all dough. NOTHING.
When your dough is rolled out to the perfect thickness, you can start assembly line producing your pierogis. Rim some water glasses with flour, and use those to cut out perfect lil’ circles of dough.
Next, the filling. Get a glass of water, and set to the side — you’ll need this to seal the dumplings. Spoon roughly 1 to 1.5 tbsp portions of potato into those dough circles, alternating beet mash and regular ‘tater mash. To really seal the pierogi when you fold over, dip your finger in the glass of water, and wet the edge of one half of the pierogi. It doesn’t need to be sopping wet, just a little water on your finger will do the trick. Fold over, and gently pinch the edges of the pierogi to seal. Repeat until you’ve sealed up all these bad boys.
Get a big ol’ pot of water boiling. In small batches, carefully plop the pierogis into the water, making sure they don’t stick to the bottom. When the dumplings cook through, they’ll rise to the top — magic! Just use a slotted spoon to scoop them out, and set to the side as you boil all the pierogi.
Then, to be truly extra, you can fry the boiled pierogis in butter so they’re nice and crispy and browned. I did mine with chopped shallots, to add some extra flavour. Don’t be like me and accidentally singe the shallots, though.
You’ll know the pierogis are done frying when the smell is impossible to resist. Serve with sour cream and eat until you feel like an overstuffed pierogi. Enjoy!