There is something special about homemade pierogies—something that comes from the time and effort that you put into making them. They are so much tastier than frozen store-bought pierogies. The dough is chewy and buttery, and the fillings are full of flavour.
Perogies are very easy to make. The dough mixes up quickly, and the fillings can be simple or complex, depending on what you choose. Forming the actual pierogies does take time, but it is a perfect activity for a rainy January afternoon. Get everyone in your family to help and you’ll be finished in no time.
Some points to consider:
• Young children love to play with dough. Let them have their own ball so they can create different shapes. These can be boiled up as a sort of pasta-like dumpling.
• Around the age of 6, children are able to fill their own dumplings. Just double check that the edges are sealed otherwise the filling will fall out while boiling.
• Make a double batch of pierogies and freeze the extras uncooked on a cookie sheet. Once the pierogies are frozen, you can store them in bags in the freezer for a wholesome weeknight dinner.
2½ cups flour
½ tsp sea salt
1 egg (optional, no replacement necessary)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup water (more as needed)
1. Mix all of the dough ingredients together. If you aren’t using the egg, or if it’s a bit crumbly, sprinkle on a bit more water.
2. Kneed for 5-10 minutes until dough is nice and smooth.
3. Cover the dough ball with a damp towel and leave it to rest while you prepare your fillings.
Pierogies can be filled with pretty much anything you want. However, here are a few traditional flavours.
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 small onion
1 tsp dried dill
Salt to taste
1. Sauté mushrooms and onions until soft.
2. Add dill and salt.
3. If you find it hard to fill a pierogi with the mushrooms mix, stir in a 1/2 cup of plain mashed potatoes to add bulk to the mushroom filling.
Mashed Potatoes and Cheese
1 lb potatoes
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
Salt to taste
1. Peel the potatoes.
2. Boil until soft.
3. Mash the potatoes with the milk and butter until smooth.
4. Stir in the garlic and onions while the potatoes are still hot enough to gently cook them.
5. Stir in the cheese and add salt to taste.
3 cups of dry curd cottage cheese
1 tsp salt (unless cheese is salted)
1. This is the simplest filling. Just mix the cottage cheese with the salt and eggs.
How to form a pierogi:
1. Roll the dough out so that it is 1/2 cm thick.
2. Cut into 6 cm circles.
3. Place 1 Tbsp of filling in the centre of the circle, then pull to dough around the filling. This is easiest for children to do while holding the pierogi in their hand (see photograph).
4. Press the dough closed along the edges to form a semi-circle shape.
Cooking the Pierogies:
Pierogies are cooked the same way, whether you use fresh or frozen pierogies. The only difference is that the frozen pierogies need to cook for a few minutes longer.
1. Carefully drop the pierogies into a pot of boiling water. Only add a few at the time so they aren’t crowded.
2. Boil until the pierogies float—about 5 minutes for fresh pierogies and 7 minutes for frozen.
3. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon (or kitchen tongs) and place in a large casserole dish.
4. Drizzle each layer of pierogies with oil or butter to prevent them from sticking to each other. You can store them this way, half-cooked, until you are ready to eat them.
5. When you are ready to eat your pierogies, either heat them up in a 400?F oven for 15 minutes, or fry them on the stove. I recommend pan frying them with onions and bacon.
6. Serve hot and crispy with sour cream.
Emillie Parrish loves having adventures with her two busy children. She lives in Victoria and is the author of the fermentation-based blog fermentingforfoodies.com.