Anyone who knows me knows that I sway Asian (at least since the last couple of years). Asian travel, Asian food and even Asian guys ;) What can I say. As far as the food is concerned I like how the cuisines focus on vegetables, the flavors are so different and complex, and hardly anything is every deep fried. Such a 180 from the food most Americans grow up on and so much healthier (but let’s be real, my main reason is it’s so freakin’ delicious). I enjoy Asian travel because it’s so exotic. I haven’t traveled a ton to Europe but I feel like I already know it. My people are from there, the western world talks about it all the time. It’s in movies, in media. Asia is a whole new world. The sights, the smells, the foods, the cultures. I feel like I learn so much more in Asia than I would traveling to Europe. Though, I do enjoy traveling to Europe as well. And the guys? Hey. They’re cute. Especially my guy.
BUT, the other day, I decided to embrace my roots. My maternal Grandmother is from Poland and who doesn’t love Pierogi! My guy had been not-so-subtly hinting that he wanted to have some over the past couple of months and I thought it was time. Plus, it’s kind of a kitchen sink dish. If you have flour and butter you’ve got the dough, and then fill it with whatever! I had a ton of potatoes (sales, guys, sales), some english bangers (i know, not polish), and onions and cheese. Voila!
I’ve had this Polish cookbook (Rose Petal Jam) for ages and, while browsing it, had never cooked from it. It was time! I used the dough recipe and then improvised the rest.
Guys, pierogi dough is the easiest thing in the world. The world. (ok, ok – but it’s dang easy.) Take some softened butter, work it into your flour, then add water until it’s elastic. I know. You mean the butter doesn’t have to be frozen? No. You mean there’s no egg? No. You mean you can’t overwork it if you tried? No. You mean it doesn’t require yeast? No. No. No! It’s amazing.
Here’s how it’s done:
Ingredients (for 120 pierogies):
35 oz flour
4.5 oz butter (room temp)
17 oz warm water
106 oz potato (or so)
4 english bangers, casing removed
1 onion, chopped thinly
4-5 oz cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
Pour the flour into a pile on a large wooden cutting board. Work the room temperature butter into the flour slowly with your fingers and get it really incorporated. Slowly begin to add water and incorporate each addition fully until the dough is elastic and holds its shape.
Set dough aside in a bowl covered by a dish rag to keep it from drying.
Prepare your filling. I peeled, quartered, and boiled my potatoes. While they were cooling I sauteed onions and meat until the onions were translucent and the meat was done. Let everything cool before combining. Combine all filling ingredients.
Take tennis ball sized pieces of dough and roll them out until they’re about 1/8″ thick or thinner. Take a 3-4″ biscuit cutter (or anything circular around that size) and cut out circles of dough. Lay them on a floured surface while you’re cutting the rest. Once they’re all cut out, put about a teaspoon of filling in the center of a pierogi and fold over to close. Seal fully by pinching the edges. You can experiment with how much stuffing can fit in your pierogies! It’s more important to make sure they’re super sealed with no filling in the seal if you’re boiling them.
Once you’re done sealing them up. Either boil or fry them. To boil them boil a couple quarts of salted water and dump batches of the pierogies in. They’re done once they float, a couple minutes. For frying, heat up oil or butter (I love butter), in a frying pan. Fry pierogies for a couple minutes on each side until browned.
Serve with sour cream and your favorite sides!
After all was said and done my twinkie and I enjoyed a delicious polish staple topped with sour cream along with a side of carrot apple salad (Surówka z Marchewki). So, tasty. I think now that I’ve broken the scary barrier of handmade pierogi it’s time for me to experiment with the fillings!
Have you tried dessert pierogi? My cookbook talks about them…I’m pretty psyched to try them out! I’m thinking they’re kind of like hand pies. Which are delicious.