I grew up in a home where much of what we ate was homemade- there were a few things that we almost always had from a can, like cream of mushroom soup and pickles, a few things that we made from scratch that very few people make from scratch (maple syrup, sake, mead, beer, and miso come to mind), and for the most part, we just did a lot of standard from scratch cooking.
But there are some very few things that I remembered my mom or dad buying as frozen dinners, ready to eat after a drop of cooking, and pierogi were among them. (I keep wanting to say pierogies, but wikipedia informed me that pierogi is plural, so go figure.)
Pierogi are these delicious semi circles of dough filled with the most tasty filling- usually extra yummy mashed potatoes- and they were such a treat growing up! The biggest problem was that there were not enough of them in a package for us to all get our fill from, and they were expensive.
But despite having some Polish blood in me, I've never before made homemade pierogi, until today... And oh boy, I can't believe I waited this long! They were to die for! And I just made them by chance because I had some leftover dough after making some lasagna, which I made because I had leftovers from making homemade ravioli...
This recipe is easily adaptable- I made mine gluten free, dairy free, and egg free, but I've included many different varieties if you have no special dietary needs. As for filling, you can use leftover mashed potatoes, or if you want to use other fillings, apparently you can make sauerkraut pierogi, meat pierogi, or many other types, but I'll just stick with my potato pierogi.
So, how do make them?
1 batch of homemade pasta dough. I'll list a few so you don't have to click anywhere else to get the full recipe, but feel free to make this with any homemade pasta dough recipe, whether regular egg pasta, egg free pasta, whole wheat pasta, your favorite gluten free pasta dough, etc...
1 onion (optional)
Oil for frying (coconut, palm, or butter ideally, but any oil is fine)
Gluten Free (Egg Free) Pasta Dough:
2 cups buckwheat flour
1 1/3 c potato starch, corn starch, or tapioca starch
2 large or extra large eggs OR 4 tablespoons ground flax seeds plus 10 tablespoons warm water, mixed together and let sit for 10 minutes prior to using
6 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons oil
5 tablespoons cool water
Regular (Egg Free) Wheat Pasta Dough
1 large or extra large egg OR 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds plus 5 tablespoons warm water, mixed together and let sit for 10 minutes prior to using
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups wheat flour or whole wheat flour
Approximately 1/4 cup water
Egg Free Whole Wheat Pasta Dough
3 cups whole wheat flour
Up to 1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Homemade mashed potatoes, flavored to your heart's content. I used boiled (and unpeeled) red potatoes, a little coconut oil, palm oil, salt, home grown green onions, and drop of garlic powder and freshly ground pepper, but you can use butter, milk, etc.. in yours.
Or, you can fill with sauerkraut, meat, etc...
1. Make your pasta dough. Add just a little bit of water at a time until you have the perfectly textured dough. If you find its too sticky, add a drop more flour at a time.
2. Roll out your dough on a floured, flat surface until very very thin. If you have a pasta maker, run the dough through the pasta maker a few times until smooth, and then until you get it on about 6 or 7.
3. Using a large cup, cut out large circles of pasta dough.
4. Make your filling. Mash it very well so there are no lumps.
5. Spoon a little bit of filling into the center of each circle, then fold the dough in half so you have a semi circle filled with dough.
6. Press together the dough, starting from the middle, and working your way outward, until you have your stuffed pockets.
7. Boil water. Add a drop of salt.
8. Put the pierogi in the water and boil until they start to float. Remove from water, and rinse off well.
9. At this point, you can freeze in a flat layer for use later, and then once frozen, pile them on top of each other.
10. When ready to use, (defrost first), heat up some oil (coconut oil or palm oil or butter would be my ideal choices, but regular oil is also fine), and saute chopped onions. Add pierogi so they're not overlapping, and fry until golden. Flip, and fry on the other side.
Alternatively, you can bake these in the oven, in a flat layer, on a greased pan.
11. Remove from pot/oven, and serve as is, or with a dollop of sour cream.
Have you ever had pierogi before? Do you like them? What fillings did you use/have? Does this look like something you'd make? Why or why not? If you'd try it out, what recipe for pasta dough do you think you'd use?