One of my most cherished traditions is spending the first Sunday of December with my mom and aunt, preparing our house for Christmas. The day is spent setting up the ceramic nativity scene, decorating the tree, and most importantly, making Ukrainian pierogies for Christmas dinner. This dish is a staple of my family's Ukrainian heritage and has been passed down through many generations. If you are looking to make a delicious side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or truly for any meal, you have come to the right recipe. These traditional pierogies, with a chewy dough outside and simple, yet tasty potato and onion filling, will transform any meal or holiday from ordinary to extraordinary.
This instructable will take you through the multi-step process of making Ukrainian pierogies, which will take in total, about 10 hours. I highly recommend dedicating an entire day to this project and recruiting friends or family members to help you if possible, as these pierogies require some serious tender, love, and care. The key is to be patient and keep in mind the delectable end result you will be creating!
Yield: about 50 pierogies
- 5 lbs russet potatoes
- 3 lbs sweet onions
- Mazzola corn oil
- unbleached, all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- food processor
- measuring cups
- Saran Wrap
- large Ziploc bag
- sharp knife
- potato peeler
- fry pan
- large pot
- potato ricer
- large spoon
- rolling pin
- large bowl
- drinking glass (with round mouth)
Step 1: Make the Dough
The dough can be made prior to the filling, however it should not be made more than 24 hours before the pierogies are filled and cooked.
1. Pour 4 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt into bowl. Sift the flour and salt into the food processor using a sifter or strainer.
2. Beat 1 egg.
3. Turn the food processor on low and add the egg.
4. Add 1 cup of luke-warm water to the mixture very slowly, with the food processor still on low.
5. Continue to process until a dough is formed. The dough will be very sticky, that is okay.
6. Refrigerate the dough for at least 5 hours (and for no more than 24 hours) before cutting and stuffing. Wrap the dough in Saran Wrap then place in a large Ziploc bag before refrigerating.
This is one of the easiest steps...now get ready for the hard part!
Step 2: Make the Filling (Part 1)
The filling of Ukrainian pierogies consists of two components: onions and potatoes. The first part of this process is sautéing onions.
1. Peel and chop onions into eighths. (Be prepared to cry a little). Then use a food processor to grind the onions into a puree.
2. Sauté the onions in 1/2 cup of corn oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions are ready when they turn a rich yellow color. If some pieces start to brown, they definitely are done.
3. Thoroughly drain the onions using a strainer. This step is very important, as too much oil in the onions will cause the dough to separate later. Place drained onions in a bowl or container. They will be used later.
Step 3: Make the Filling (Part 2)
The second part of making the filling for these pierogies involves mashing potatoes.
1. Peel and cut potatoes into eighths.
2. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Fill with just enough water to cover the potatoes.
3. Cook on medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. To check if the potatoes are ready, use a fork or knife. If they easily fall apart when pierced, they're ready.
4. Thoroughly drain the potatoes using a strainer.
5. Mash the potatoes using a potato ricer, then stir until there are no chunks or lumps.
6. Season potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. As a salt lover, I tend to use a few teaspoons spoons of salt and a few dashes of pepper, but it's up to you. FYI, you're going to be tempted to eat all your potatoes in this step, but save some for the filling!
7. Add about half of the sautéed onions to the potatoes and stir in. Your filling is finished!
Step 4: Fill the Pierogies
1. Coat the surface of your counter with a light layer of flour. Be prepared, it will get messy.
2. To make your life easier, cut the dough roughly into fourths. Work with one fourth at a time. Refrigerate the remaining dough that you are not working with.
3. Take one fourth of the dough and roll it out, using flour whenever necessary.
4. Take the glass and use it to cut circles out of the dough. Start near the edge of the rolled out dough to maximize the amount of circles that can be made. Once you have gotten as many circles as possible, you can ball the dough back up in your hands and roll it out again to get more circles.
5. Take about a table spoon of the filling and place in the center of the dough. Be careful not to over stuff or the dough will rip and filling will spill out.
6. Stretch the dough away from the filling and close it around the filling, pinching the sides very tightly so no stuffing will come out.
7. After you make each pierogi, place on a plate and cover them with a towel so they don't dry out and harden.
Step 5: Cook the Pierogies
1. Fill a large pot about 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil.
2. Place about 6 pierogies in the pot at a time. Stir occasionally.
3. The pierogies will start at the bottom of the pot. When they rise to the top, they are done. They will not have changed color much, but that is okay. They are supposed to be chewy, not crispy.
4. Remove the cooked pierogies from the pot and place in a container or on a plate. Coat the pierogies with the remaining onion. They are now ready to be enjoyed!
FYI these can be eaten right away or frozen and reheated. I typically cook these pierogies two to three weeks before Christmas, freeze them, and reheat them to serve at Christmas dinner. They're just as delicious reheated!
Congrats for making it through this recipe! I hope you enjoy these pierogies just as much as my family and I do. Happy eating or as we say it in my family, щасливе харчування!