Pierogies are the Eastern European stuffed dumplings similar to Italian ravioli, Jewish kreplach, Ukrainian varenyky, Russian pelmeni and Chinese pot stickers. Usually crescent in shape, pierogies offer a variety of flavors to savor, including potato and onion, various cheeses, sauerkraut, sauted cabbage, ground meat or fruit. Most people are familiar with the crispy, deep-fried version found at local fairs and carnivals, but traditionally these pockets are cooked in boiling water. Pierogies were considered "poor man's food" derived from basic farm staples of flour, eggs, potatoes and onions. Like many comfort foods, pierogies became an integral part of holiday celebrations. Although officially claimed by Poland in the 13th century,meatless pierogies are served by many cultures at Lenten meals and on Christmas Eve.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream, or plain yogurt, or buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
butter and onions for sauteing
To prepare the pierogi dough, mix 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, but be careful not to overbeat. 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. Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough (2" for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2" for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place 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 tines of a fork. 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. Boil the perogies a few at a time in a large pot of salted water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry. Saute chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then add the cooked pierogies and heat or fry until lightly crispy. Serve with a side of sour cream If you don't want to cook all of the pierogies right away, you can refrigerate them (uncooked) for several days or freeze them for up to several months. Freeze in 1 layer on a tray until firm, about 2 hours, then transfer to sealable plastic bags.
For the dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, flour, butter, 2 whole eggs, egg yolk, 2 teaspoons salt and olive oil. Knead the mixture into a soft dough. Divide the dough in half and cover for 10 minutes. On a floured surface, roll each half of the dough into a thin circle, 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough using a 3-inch circle cutter.
Cook the potatoes in their jackets, in a covered heavy pot with barely enough water to cover them in slightly salted water (add about 2 tsp salt to the water). Simmer over low heat until potatoes are fork tender, then remove from heat. (If you can judge when they'll be done, remove from heat 10 minutes in advance and just allow to steam in the pot with the heat turned off). Allow the potatoes to cool sufficiently to handle, and rub off the skins with a clean towel. Drain the pot you cooked them in, and return the potatoes to the pot and shake them around a bit to dry them. Put the potatoes through a sieve or a potato ricer if you have one, otherwise, use a masher. Set them aside. In a skillet, combine butter and oil or schmaltz over medium heat to melt. Saute the garlic, onion, and leek, if you have one, for a few minutes until they begin to take on a translucent color. Stir in the cabbage, turn the heat to high for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, reduce heat and allow cabbage to begin to brown, 6-8 minutes. Then add the potatoes, cheese, and season to taste. Remove from heat and go on to work with the dough again as the filling cools.
1 cup creamed cottage cheese
Cream cheese with melted butter. Add beaten egg, sugar, raisins, and cinnamon. Serve the filled, cooked Pierogi, with melted butter and sour cream.
1 onion, finely chopped
Fry onion in butter until tender. Add mushrooms and meat. Stir in sour cream and seasonings. Blend well and cool before filling Pierogi.
1 cup sauerkraut
Cook sauerkraut with 2 cups water for 15 minutes; drain, cool, and chop finely. In a medium saucepan saute onion in butter. Add mushrooms; stir in chopped sauerkraut, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Add sour cream; mix well and cool before using for Pierogi filling.
6 med. size potatoes
Peel potatoes and boil in salted water. Drain and mash. Add grated cheese and spices. Mix well and let it cool.
2 sm. or 1 lg. head cabbage
Topping of drawn butter with bread crumbs or fried minced onions
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
Saute onion in butter. Add mushrooms and season. Saute covered 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and add egg yolks, stirring well. Cool before filling pierogi. Pour melted butter over pierogi and serve.
2 cups blueberries or pitted cherries
Combine fruit water and sugar in saucepan. bring to boil. Simmer until fruit is tender and water is almost gone. Remove from heat. Mash slightly with potato masher. Add cinnamon and lemon juice. Cook and stir over low heat until thick. Stir in enough bread crumbs to further thicken. Put a dollop in pierogi. Fry in butter until crisp. Sprinkle a little sugar on top and serve with creme fraiche.