Wait. How is there no Instructable for making pierogies?!
As a native Pennsylvanian hailing from just outside Pittsburgh, pierogies were a staple growing up. We'd have them at family gatherings, Mrs. T's pierogies exists in every grocery store, and our school cafeteria had pierogi day. Even the Pittsburgh Pirates, our baseball team, has the Pierogi Race at every home game where people dress as beloved pierogi characters representing various pierogi fillings and compete for glory as they race around the field! It's in our DNA, us yinzers.
So imagine my surprise when I learned so many others grew up without these soft, pillows of happiness! I've taken to making these after moving to areas where I couldn't find them as easily and it's fun to carry on the family recipe and share it with others.
This idea is shared by many! The Italians and their ravioli, the beautiful Chinese provided their take with pot stickers/dumplings, and eastern Europe has given us the pierogi.
I'll go through the steps to make what seems like the most common, traditional pierogi - the potato and cheddar filled version. Towards the end, I'll share some other suggestions to stuff them with but feel free to get creative! This is only the beginning.
Photo caption: That'd be me in this first photo, posing with Sauerkraut Saul of the Pittsburgh Pirates Great Pierogi Race before a home game.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Gadgets
This is a tried-and-true recipe passed down in my family, thanks to my aunt and cousin.
Yield: ~60 pierogies
6-8 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1 pt. sour cream
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
4 cups flour (enough to make the dough elastic)
1 lb. butter
The process goes a lot faster with a circle cutter the same size as your pierogi press. You can work around these things, though. Get creative :-) If you have supplies to make ravioli, that should do the trick!
Step 2: Prep the Potato Filling
Cook potatoes until soft, drain water. I followed this instructable to peel the potatoes.
Mash potatoes and add shredded cheese. This makes the filling.
Step 3: Prep the Dough
Mix eggs and sour cream together.
Then, mix four, baking powder, and salt (or use self-rising flour instead of these three). Mix into egg yolks, egg, and sour cream slowly until it makes elastic dough.
A food processor makes light work of this. Roll the dough ball in flour to make it easier to handle. I split the resulting dough into 4 sections to make it easier to work with.
Step 4: Roll the Dough
Roll out dough to thin consistency. A pasta dough roller would be a huge help here if you have one handy. Cut into round circles.
Step 5: Press the Pierogies
Put the dough into the press and add filling.
Make sure to squeeze the edges nice and tight. The dough should be elastic enough to hold, but any openings will result in the potato filling coming out in the later stages and leave you with empty dough pockets.
Step 6: Press, Press, Press...
This part can be a bit of a meditation. Cut, fill, press, repeat...put on some music, do this with family, tell the same old stories you do every time you make pierogies :-)
Step 7: Boil the Pierogies
Boil in water for 10 minutes. Try to do this in small batches - 7-10 depending on the size of your pots and pans.
Step 8: Prep the Pan
Melt some butter (this isn't a healthy recipe - be generous with the butter) and drop in chopped onions.
Step 9: Sautee the Cooked Pierogies
Sautee in butter and onions for 10 minutes. Eat at this stage or continue to prep for future use.
I find it's important to do this in a single layer. How brown they get is entirely up to you!
Step 10: Prep to Freeze
Place on cookie sheet until frozen, then remove. Take them out and put into ziplock bags to freeze.
You can leave these in the freezer for months and take out a few at a time to make quickly. Great if you're cooking for one or a two and want a quick, homemade bite! This also works for party prep if you want to take care of this way in advance, they'll keep.
Step 11: Reheat in Pan
When you'd like to serve, reheat with butter and onions until hot.
Step 12: Alternatives and Pierogi Races
The potato filling is a classic but there are endless variations for this delicious food vehicle. I made a dessert version filled with blueberries and topped with whipped cream, a version stuffed with mashed sweet potatoes and sautéed in butter and brown sugar...there's a lot you can do.
For other traditional versions, look no further than the Pittsburgh Pirates' Great Pierogi Race, featuring Potato Pete (blue hat), Jalapeño Hannah (green hat), Cheese Chester (yellow hat), Sauerkraut Saul (red hat), Oliver Onion (purple hat), and Bacon Burt (orange hat).