Pierogi…the Polish answer to pelmeni

In Recipies on November 4, 2011 at 10:13 am

Part of this nutritious breakfast!

Pierogi are, for good reason, the national dish of Poland.  In the Ukraine, they are called varniki and are a close cousin to Russian pelmeni (Look up the Phyne Dyner’s recipe for this!).

These little unleavened pockets of goodness can be stuffed with almost anything from meat to fruit.  As a side to a hearty meal of kielbasa and cabbage, the traditional filling is mashed potato with a bit of mushroom and onion.  Some people insist that kraut is the best filler.

These things are delicious no matter what you fill ‘em with!

Some people boil them.  Some people bake them.  Most Poles fry them in a bit of butter.

They are simply delightful to eat and they are delightfully simple to make.

So…let’s make pierogi!

For the dough you will need:

1 C flour

1 egg

1 tsp salt


For the filling you will need:

1 C mashed potatoes (may use instant using all water and no milk)

1 C finely chopped mushrooms

1 C finely chopped onion

1 small clove garlic minced

¼ to 1/2 tsp white pepper

 You will also need 3-4 TBS butter (or pareve butter substitute) in which to fry the finished pierogi.

 In a heavy skillet, melt about 1 TBS of butter (or pareve substitute) over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic.  Fry until the onions are golden.  Stir in the white pepper.  In a small bowl, add the fried mixture to the mashed potatoes and blend well.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, egg, and salt.  Keep adding water (by the teaspoon) until you get a very soft, pliable dough.  The dough will be a bit sticky, so keep your hands and surfaces generously floured.

On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a very thin pancake.  Using a drinking glass having an open diameter of about 3 inches, cut the dough into circles.  Place a dollop (about ¾ tsp) of the potato, onion, and mushroom mixture in the center.  Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the edges of the circle and immediately seal the potato mixture inside.  Immediately drop into melted butter in a non-stick skillet (medium heat).  Keep adding pierogi until the skillet is full.  Turn the pierogi using a spoon and cook until both sides are deep brown (personal taste).  Drain on paper towels.  Keep adding butter to the skillet as needed.  If you choose to boil them, drop them gently into a pot of gently boiling water and cook them until they begin to float to the surface.  Be careful not to use water that is too hot, as your pierogi will probably “explode” their fillings and make an awful mess.  To avoid using fats you can also bake these in a 350-degree oven until the edges begin to brown.

Remember, these are definitely not diet food.  Like most peasant foods, they are extremely calorie-dense to meet the intake needs of hard workers in temperate to cold climates.

Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer with plenty of sour cream.




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