This one goes out to my partner in (intellectual) crime, the lovely Michelle and the rest of the vivacious and opinionated Zad family. (Whose authentic pierogi I’ve yet to enjoy, hint hint!) When I asked her advice on how to make real Polish pierogi, she informed me that my tiny Asian hands were not big enough to knead pierogi dough and that I would need someone with large, strong, Eastern European hands to do the job. Lucky for me, my fireman has huge Russian-German, peasant hands and is an excellent dough kneader. Note: a stand-mixer is an excellent substitute for a volunteer pair of strong hands.
Like all dumplings, pierogi are a labor of love. And I love how these little dumplings can be filled with anything, from a ground meat filling, to cheese fillings, to vegetarian or vegan fillings. Today, I’m making delicious little starch-bombs, filled with leftover mashed potatoes as a binder (with this dish I’m finally finishing up the lasts of the potatoes stashed in the freezer from Thanksgiving! Yay!), parmesan cheese and sauteed cabbage.
For side dishes, I’m serving up some ‘chicken and apple’ flavored sausage sauteed with peppers and onions and seasoned with paprika. Applesauce is a traditional dipping sauce for pierogi and I wanted to include some apple flavor, via said sausage. I’m also making some garlic bread, because I need at least one part of this dinner that’s quick, cheap and easy.
Pierogi Dinner – with sauteed sausages and peppers ($1.72 total) and garlic bread ($.50 total, homemade ftw!), makes 3-4 dozen pierogi.
Serves 4 – cost approx $1.18 per serving, including sides
- 1 medium egg ($.14)
- 1 Tbs sour cream
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 cups A.P. flour, divided use ($.28)
- salt and black pepper, to taste
Put all the ingredients except the flour in a stand mixer bowl, fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add in 2 cups of flour and mix until it’s all incorporated and homogenous. Keep the mixer on and slowly add in more flour, maybe a few tablespoons every minute or so, until the dough isn’t sticky any more. The dough should be soft, smooth and supple, like a baby’s butt! I had the dough on the mixer for about 7-10 minutes total and used 2 1/2 cups of flour. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble the pierogi.
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1/2 onion, minced ($.25)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 of a small cabbage, finely shredded ($.60)
- 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes ($.25)
- 1/2 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese ($.50)
- 2 Tbs minced parsley
- 1/4 tsp dry thyme
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup sour cream, for dipping ($.25)
Heat the butter over medium heat in a saute pan and gently cook the onion, garlic and cabbage until cooked through and translucent, about 5 minutes. Let cool and mix with all other ingredients.
For the assemblage of your delicious dumplings. Put a pot of water on to boil. Tear off about a third of the dough and roll it out about 1/8″ thick square. Flouring the board lightly might help avoid sticking issues. Cut the dough into about 2″x2″ squares, fill with a tablespoon or so of filling. Fold up the square on the bias into a triangle, pinching the edges shut.
Something that I learned from making chinese style dumplings that worked great for the pierogi, is to put the uncooked dumplings on a little towel so that they don’t stick. Nothing is worse than putting a ton of work into your adorable little dumplings and having them stick to a plate and get ruined.
Put no more than a dozen dumplings in the boiling water at a time. Working in batches, maintain a gentle simmer and cook the pierogi for about 5 minutes before removing them. If you want to gild the lily, you can fry those little babies up for a crispy coating. Yum! Serve with sour cream.