I had a dream about pierogies the other night. I took that as I sign that it was time to make some more. My mom and I had a marathon pierogi day last year where we made about 100 of the sauerkraut variety. Yesterday I decided to give the potato and cheese variety a try. My grandma used to make these all the time…and they were SAVORED. I wish I had cared at the time to have her teach me how to make them the traditional Polish way. Now she is too old and it’s too late. I’m sure this method is not even close to how she used to do it (I use a food processor!) but it works for me and the results are delish. So here ya go…how to make pierogi from scratch…3rd generation Polack style
Potato and Cheese Filled Pierogi
**Note – If you would prefer NOT to spend your entire day making pierogi, HALF this recipe
5 pounds potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste (use more than you think you should…)
1/4 lb. cream cheese
1/4 lb. butter
1 lb. Farmer’s cheese (note: I could not find farmer’s cheese…I bought a pound of fresh mozarella and grated it. It worked well, but the farmer’s cheese is really the way to go if you can find it.)
Peel and boil potatoes until soft. While potatoes are still hot, add remaining ingredients and mash until well combined. Allow filling to cool.
Cabbage and Sauerkraut Filled Pierogi
1 head green cabbage (shredded thin and cut crosswise into small pieces)
2 onions (diced small)
1/2 stick butter
1 pound package of prepared sauerkraut
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in large pot. Add onion and cabbage. Sautee until VERY soft. Add sauerkraut and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and cool.
(The trick is to work with small batches of dough. Don’t try to double this…you’ll just need to make additional batches to use up your filling)
3 cups flour
1 egg yolk (beaten)
1/2 stick butter (melted)
1 cup milk
Melt butter. Warm milk in a saucepan. Add melted butter. Add egg yolk. Put flour in food processor with dough attchment. Pour milk mixture on top. Mix until all ingredinets are incorporated and the dough forms a ball. Let dough rest in a bowl covered with a towel for 15 min.
Lightly flour work surface. Divide dough into 4-5 portions. Place first portion on work surface and roll THIN with a rolling pin. You want the dough to be as thin as you can get it. If they are too thick, they will be tough after cooking. Use a round cookie cutter or the rim of a glass (that’s what my gram used) to cut circles out of the dough. Place a small amout of filling in the middle and fold the circle in half pinching the edges shut to seal the pierogi. Make sure the edge is well sealed!
I found that I was able to re-roll the scraps one time if I used only a little flour. If the dough feels to stiff, throw it away.
Place fiilled pierogies on a clean kitchen towel or on a baking sheet. Repeat until all filling is used up. You will have to make at least 3 batches of dough to use up all that filling!
Fill a large pot 1/2 way with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Drop the pierogies in 8 at a time (don’t crowd your pan), and boil for 5-6 minutes. They should all be floating at the end. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet. Melt some butter and use a pastry brush to brush both sides while they are still hot.
To package for freezing:
Label a quart-size ziplock with the date and the variety of pierogi you made. Place 8 buttered pierogies in the bag and suck out the extra air before sealing. Lay flat in the freezer until frozen.
To prepare for eating:
Thaw pierogies. Melt a tablespoon (or more!) of butter in a skillet. Place thawed pierogies in the pan and fry until golden brown. Salt to taste…traditionally these can be served with sauteed onions, sour cream, or grape jelly. I like them plain