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Thursday, September 23, 2010


Guys, I really like pierogies. They are probably among the first things I learned to cook--you can get them frozen at the local Safeway, dunk in a pot of boiling water, take them out when they start floating, and eat with some sour cream. (I also love sour cream). Easy. Fast. Very good for when you are on-the-go to choir practice, or you just want to put delicious food in your stomach soon because you are hungry and lazy.
The problem: while Winnipeg is famous for its delicious cheesy potato dumplings (lots of Ukrainians) New England is not. So, I decided to make my own and see what happens. The big appeal is that you can make a bunch, and freeze them, and then quickly cook up whatever you need when you are alone and busy.
First, you make some dough. There are a bunch of ways to do this, but the recipe I decided on was:
2 cups flour
2 beaten eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup water.
Knead it all together. Actually this was really sticky so I'd recommend adding extra flour befor you get your hands all gross.
Then let it sit for a bit while you make the filling.
2 potatoes (I used Idaho types, which worked well)
1 onion (smallish)
1/2 cup cottage cheese
4 oz of cheddar
salt and pepper.
I mean actually you can put whatever you want in the filling; that's just what I happened to use and I would rate it "pretty delicious". Essentially you're making mashed potatoes; since I hadn't actually made those before that I can remember, I will remind you all what to do. Basically you peel the potatoes (I didn't have a peeler, just a paring knife, so I think I ended up cutting off a reasonable amount of potato as well) and chop them into chunks. Then you cover them with cold water, add salt, put a lid on partially, raise to a boil, and then simmer 25 minutes or so. By this point they should be really soft. Then you drain them and put back in the pot. Meanwhile, you chop the onion into little bits and sautee the heck out of it, and then when the potatoes are done you add the onion and the cheese and salt and pepper or whatever it is you're adding, and then you mash. I lack a masher, but since, as previously mentioned, the potatoes are really soft, you can basically squish them with a fork and a wooden spoon and make everything into a delicious creamy happy thing.

THEN you make the pierogies. In an ideal world, you would now roll out the dough (on a floured surface!) with a rolling pin. I lacked such a thing, so I sort of stretched it and squished it around with my hands. I'd really recommend rolling it though, because you want it as thin as you can get it. Then you cut it into rounds with your favourite round thing; or if you're me, you kind of cut it into squares and stretch it around some more. Then you take a spoonful of filling, put it on the square, and fold it up all around. Real pierogies are folded in half and pinched shut, but I kind of liked folding in the corners on four sides. As for the size--my first couple surprised me with their gigantitude. It turns out you really can't put more than about a tsp of filling in a pierogi if you want it to turn out sort of normal. As a result, I had too much potato filling left over. This is ok though, because it is delicious, as previously mentioned.

And now--congratulations, raw pierogi! At this point some of them should go on a baking sheet in the freezer, to be put in ziplocs when they are frozen (if you freeze them right away they'll stick to each other.) What you want to eat now should be boiled up (as above) or pan-fried, or both I guess.
THE VERDICT: Tastes pretty good. My only real problem was that I didn't make the dough thin enough, so the outsides were a little gluey; next time I will try to procure a rolling device to get them nice and thin. They are still very enjoyable and delicious, and now I can partake of food quickly because they freeze so well. The whole process did take a reasonable time investment, but it's compensated for by the time I will save later on with my easily-cooked-frozen-yummies.

Pierogies, folks!


  1. Wine bottles make excellent rolling devices! So I always keep a bottle of wine around.

    I wish that European freezers were bigger...

  2. I was just going to suggest that! (Roommate telepathy?) Any empty bottle will do the trick. In fact anything that's cylindrical and relatively heavy.

  3. great idea, dustin! i will totally use a wine bottle next time. i always have a bunch around. i think i will in fact try to make pierogies sometime. or, rather, vareniki.

  4. Actually crazy story! Do you know who taught me that trick? Suzanne Duke! Crazy story...