Thursday, November 4, 2010


   Today is my dad's 58th birthday!  Last night we had his birthday dinner.  I have been planning this particular pierogi making adventure for over a month.  Piergoies remind me of something my dad would have grown up eating.  Never mind the fact that my grandmother is neither a great cook nor Polish.  In fact, there is absolutely no Polish in our veins.  Although, half of my heritage did invade Poland a few years back (.... too soon?)

   I love homemade pierogies but they are seriously time intensive.  You can't come home on a Tuesday night and be like,  "Oh, hey!  I think I'll make pierogies from scratch!"  It doesn't work that way.  But it is sooo worth it to make them yourself!  Good new is that they freeze amazingly well.  While they are not hard to make, the process will take a few hours so be prepared.  Do this on a Sunday afternoon or a snow day.  This recipe makes a lot because if you are going to make them, make a bunch!  Go all out, make half meat and half potato... variety is the spice of life, right? 

Pierogi Dough
5 C flour
16 oz sour cream
2 eggs (whole)
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

   Combine everything except flour.  Add 4 1/2 C flour.  Incorporate.  The dough probably will not form a ball on its own (don't worry!)
   Sprinkle 1/4 C flour on surface.  Turn out dough.  Sprinkle the last 1/4 C over the dough.  Knead dough until it comes together.  Add more flour if needed.  Divide dough into easily managed pieces (2-4).  Let rest at least 10 min.
   On floured surface.  Carefully roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 3 inch circles.  (NOTE:  Once cut, the dough has a tendency to spring back a little.  The dough may need to be stretched a little when it comes time to fill.)
   Makes 8-10 servings.

Potato Filling
1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 C white cheddar
1/2 C soft farmers cheese (ricotta salata or cream cheese will also work)
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
salt and pepper

   Place potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to boil.  Liberally salt water.  Boil until potatoes are fork tender.  Drain potatoes.  Mash.
   Saute onions for 5-7 min in a little bit of oil.
   Add the onions and the rest of the ingredients to the potatoes.  Mix.  Salt and pepper to taste.
   (Enough filling for half the amount of dough made. 20-25 pierogies)

Meat Filling
1/2 lb ground beef (93/7 I think is best)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp mashed potato filling (optional... it works as a binder)
salt and pepper

   Saute onions in a little bit of oil for about 5 min.  Add ground beef.  Brown and cook thoroughly.  Turn off heat.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Salt and pepper to taste.
   (Enough filling for half the amount of dough made. 20-25 pierogies)

Assembling, Cooking and Serving (Exactly the same for meat and potato fillings)
Place a heaping tsp (really its about 2 tsp...) in the center of a dough circle.
Gently stretch dough around filling, bringing edges together.

  Yeah... Look at those awesome purple nails!
Seal dough completely.  (NOTE:  The dough should have enough moisture to stick to itself, but if it is not sticking, dab a little bit of water at the edges.  Or use a fork to crimp edges.  I use a fork to crimp the edges of the meat filled ones so I can tell the difference between the two.)
I bought it 'cause the color is called "climax".
In a large pot, boil pierogies in salted water for 6-7 minutes.  Do this in batches.  Drain off excess water.  (This is the point where you would freeze them.)

For every 4 servings:
1 medium onion, sliced
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
1/3 C chopped parsley

Saute onions in 1/2 Tbsp butter until golden brown over med-high heat.  Melt in the other 2 Tbsp butter.  Saute pierogies for 6-8 min.  Cover and cook another 5 min.  Toss in parsley and serve!

Trust me, it is all worth it in the end!!!!

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