It has been a tradition in our house to make pierogis from scratch the night before Christmas Eve … aptly named Christmas Adam by my oldest daughter’s friend Emily. Emily has participated in the Pierogi making machine in years past and we were so happy to have her join us this year! The kids really take over and I have very little to do with the pierogi making over the last few years. This year Katie and Clark were in Michigan for Christmas so we postponed making them until New Years Eve.
Truth be told, I am not one bit Polish but my ex husband’s family is and it was his mother that originally taught us how to make them from scratch when the girls were younger. Besides the fact that they are absolutely delicious, I think we maintain the tradition because they are fun to make and we love cooking together as a family.
We usually make the traditional potato and cheese filling and some years we have made other flavors like beef and dill, sauerkraut and this year we made a mushroom and cheese filling. The mushrooms were a hen of the woods (maitake) that came from my farm in Travelers Rest. My friend harvested an 8 lb. mushroom late fall and dried some for me so we incorporated them into a batch of pierogis this year. They were amazing!!
One year by mistake Katie rolled the dough in what she thought was a dusting of flour but it was actually powdered sugar. It added an element of sweetness and crispness to the dough when we fried them in butter. You will find our basic recipe below and we serve the pierogis with pan fried kielbasa, sour cream, horseradish and sometimes apple sauce. Enjoy!
2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling dough
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
butter and onions (optional) for sautéing
ingredients for filling of your choice (potato and cheese filling recipe below)
Prep time 45 minutes, cook time 15 minutes
To prepare the pierogi dough, mis together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this or a mixer but be careful not to overheat. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight: the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Each batch of dough makes about 12 - 15 pierogis depending on size. We usually make a double batch of dough and single batch of filling.
Prepare the Pierogis
Start a large pot of water to boil.
Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8” thick. Cut circles of dough (2” for small pierogis and 3-31/2” for large pierogis) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Please a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with the times of a fork.
Boil the pierogis a few at a time in a large pot of water. There are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Spoon out. Rinse in cool water and let dry.
Sauté chopped onions (optional, we do not use onions) in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Or just melt butter in large frying pan or sauté pan and add pierogis and pan fry until lightly crispy on both sides. Serve with a side of sour cream and/or horseradish.
Homemade Pierogi Tips:
If you are having a hard time getting the edges to stick together, you may have too much flour in the dough. Add a little water to help get a good seal.
If you don’t want to cook all of the pierogis right away, you can refrigerate them (uncooked) for several days or freeze them for up to several months.
You can fill the pierogis with pretty much anything your want though potato and cheese is the most common (recipe below). We made a cheese and mushroom filling this year and sweet pierogis are often filled with a prune mixture.
Potato, Cheese and Onion Filling
Peel and boil 5 large potatoes until soft. Red potatoes are especially good for this. While the potatoes are boiling, finely chop 1 large onion and sauté in butter until soft and translucent. Mash the potatoes with the sautéed onions and 4-8 ox. of grated cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you want your pierogis) adding salt and pepper to taste.
I hope you enjoy and please share your favorite fillings with us in the comments below!