Polish girl recipes, part 1: How to make Pierogis

pierogi-finished

Jak się masz?

As a bona fide Polish American (I have the PNA pin from my childhood membership, courtesy of my grandfather, to back it up!), loving pierogis is pretty much mandatory. Decidedly at the top of my favorite all time meals (right alongside my Nana’s holiday spreads), is a whole mess of pierogis fried up with onion and kielbasa. Every time I sauté onions for any other recipe, it makes me hungry for some home-made pierogi.

Side note: when you live with an Italian boy, you have to cut deals. We have a 1:1 agreement on the serving ratio of pierogis to ravioli. Guess it’s raviolis for dinner mid-week.

When I finally learned how to make pierogis from scratch, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they are! Here’s what you need to make two dozen or so pierogis (depending on how large you cut them):


Ingredients

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface
½ teaspoon salt
¾ C boiling water
¼ C cold milk
½ tsp. oil (I use vegetable oil, but different oils will lend different textures and flavors. Experiment!)
Selected filling (a few popular options below)
Kraut- fried and dried
Mashed potatoes, with or without the addition of cheese
Ground meat- cooked
Apples- baked until soft
Large pot boiling water

**Note** I have seen recipes that use an egg in the dough. This will make the dough stiffer. I personally prefer this softer version of the dough.

  1. Sift the flour and salt together. Once it is sifted together, form it up into a mound and make a well in the middle.
  2. Begin working in the boiling water. Use a fork and stir in the hot water. Let it rest about 5 minutes.
  3. Now pour in the cold milk and knead the dough (it should be getting clumpy by now). Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Knead in the oil until your hands come clean. It is very easy to overwork the dough at this point. It should be springy and moist. Let rest another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle flour on your work surface and roll out the dough until it is around 1/8th inch thick.
  6. Cut out circles of dough. I use the container below for this purpose. Finding the perfect tool for this takes time- too large and you don’t get enough individual pierogis, too small and you can’t fill them enough!
  7. Once the first round of dough is cut, set the scraps aside and begin adding your chosen filling. Start small and get a feel for how much filling you should add- it’s easy to over stuff them and a pain to deal with once you do. Depending on the size, a tablespoon or two may be enough!
  8. To seal the pierogis, peel the dough edges off the counter and fold them up around the stuffing, pinching the dough together lightly. Lay them flat and use a fork to crimp the edges shut.
  9. Add to the boiling water and boil until they float to the surface. How long this takes depends on the filling as much as the dough, but I usually have time to roll out the scrap dough and prepare the next round of pierogis before they are ready.

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