My boyfriend comes from a Polish background and as such, has an overwhelming love for potatoes, dill pickles and cold cut meats. Year after year his grandma dutifully made Pierogi for the family on special occasions, but we felt it was time to try the famed recipe out for ourselves to see if we could produce something as special as hers. Whilst our dough came out a little thicker than hers (I’ll put that down to lack of experience) the filling was spot on, luxuriously creamy and fluffy with the perfect balance between potato, cheese and dill.
Pierogi is essentially a dumpling made from a flour and egg dough stuffed with potatoes, cottage cheese and dill – but that’s just what we decided to attempt first. Pierogi comes with all sorts of stuffing combinations including sauerkraut, minced meats, potato and even sweet ones! Firstly boiled and then fried in butter and oil, this is more of a treat designated for special occasions. Ollie’s grandma used to whip these up at Christmas time and they went within the blink of an eye.
Perfect for cold winter nights, these dumplings are one of my absolute favourite guilty pleasures of the savory kind. I am so happy to have been introduced to a culture which turns such humble ingredients into such amazing food. I could ramble on and on about my love of Polish food, but I’ll leave you today with an introduction to Pierogi and a hope that you will enjoy them as much as I do.
3 1/2 cups plain flour
3 eggs, room temperature
3 Tbs sour cream
3/4 cup water, room temperature
1KG potatoes (floury variety), peeled
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbs dill, chopped
1 cup cottage cheese (or ricotta)
Salt and pepper
- Add flour into a larger bowl (I used my Kenwood mixer with the dough hook attached) and combine with sour cream. Then, slowly add eggs and water until mixture begins to come together into a ball.
- Knead dough for 5 minutes until it springs back nicely and is smooth to touch. Dust lightly with flour and leave to rest covered in cling film for 30 minutes.
- Whilst dough is resting, cook potatoes in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender. Once cooked through, drain and lightly mash. Leaving to cool before adding other ingredients.
- Cook onions and garlic in butter and oil until caramelised, cook these slowly for the best result. Season with salt and pepper.
- Combine half of your onion mixture with potatoes and chopped dill, mash together and season if necessary. Fold through cottage cheese until combined.
- Lightly flour bench top and remove dough from cling film. Taking from your large dough ball, roll out smaller balls (roughly tablespoon sized) of dough. This should make roughly 30 small balls of dough.
- Put a large pot of salted water onto the boil.
- On a well floured surface, gently roll out each ball with a rolling pin until about 3 – 4mm thick. Cover the finished rounds with a tea towel so they don’t dry out while you’re working.
- Holding the flat dough in your palm, place a tablespoon of filling (or just under) of potato mixture into the middle of your palm and brush edges lightly with water. Gently, bring together the dough, encasing your filling and press edges together, pushing out any air pockets. Pinching to seal. Leave to one side, repeat for remainder of the Pierogi.
- Once all Pierogi are done, boil in batches of 6 – 8 pieces at any one time in your pot of boiling water. After they float back to the surface, allow them to cook for another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the Pierogi with a slotted spoon and place on a towel to drain and cool.
- Once all are done, melt butter and oil in a fry pan and, in batches, fry Pierogi until coloured. They will be golden brown and a little crispy.
- Serve with remainder of onions, fresh dill and a dollop of tomato sauce (not technically traditional, but delicious nonetheless).
Best enjoyed hot, with a beer and in large quantities!
*Recipe adapted from My Gourmet Connection