They are not difficult to make. Especially if you are just making a small batch. But if you are going to make them, go big! They are great to make and freeze for later. Plus once the word gets out that you made them, you will be giving some away. When doing a large batch you will need to have someone help. It makes it go faster. So I drove out to my cousin's house and we had a pierogi fest! We made 8 dozen and split them. If you do not want to make 8 dozen, I will give the base recipe that we used. This will give you about 12 finished Pierogi.
Traditionally pierogi were filled with cabbage/sauerkraut and onion or potato and onion. But don't stop there, these can be filled with just about anything. For me I stick to the traditional fillings. For ours we did Potato and Onion filling and then a batch of Potato, Onion and Sauerkraut. I found that to save time, prepare your fillings the day before.
Potato and Onion
1 1/2 cups of butter
4 cups of onion, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 medium Potatoes, boiled and mashed. (For our huge batch, I used a whole 5 pound bag of potatoes and had extra.)
Peel and cut potatoes. Boil them until soft. Meantime, dice your onions. Saute the onions in the butter until they are clear. When potatoes are done, drain water. Mash the potatoes. Add the onion and butter mixture to them. Stir to together. Yields filling for 12 to 15
Saurkraut and Onion Filling
*You can use cabbage. You just need to shred it, mince it up and saute it with butter and onion, but to save time we used sauerkraut.We love Sauerkraut!
2 cans of sauerkraut, drained, and minced
1 cup of butter
1 cup of onions, chopped
Drain your sauerkraut. Mince it on a cutting board. Melt butter in a large skillet, add onions and saute them until they are clear. Add your minced sauerkraut, Cook for about 5 minutes.
Since we had left over Potato filling, we decided to add our Saurkraut filling to it, mixing it together. Can I just say Yum!
Now for the dough...
2 cups of Flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup of Sour cream
1/4 cup of butter
Whisk eggs, add sour cream. Mixing it together until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the egg/sour cream mixture. Combine until dough is not sticky. Next lightly flour your work surface. Knead the dough to further smooth. Next roll out the dough to 1/8 inches. Use a large cup about 3 1/2 inches to cut out circles. Put a Tablespoon of filling onto the circle. Fold dough in half, using a bit of water on your fingers, rub the edges and pinch edges closed. Place onto wax paper. Continue until the steps until all the dough is used up. Cook or freeze.
After you are finished, boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, add pierogi. When the Pierogi float to the top of the water, they are done cooking. Drain. You may eat them boiled or you can pan fry them after you boil them. To pan fry your boiled pierogi, add a bit of butter and some chopped onion in a fry pan. Once both sides are a crispy, brown remove. Serve. (See photo below) Some people enjoy adding a bit of sour cream to them.
Now some potential problems you may encounter. But do not let them stop you from making pierogi. Once you get your rhythm going, you will have it. It is good to do a "mock up." Meaning once you get a few done, cook them up and see how they turn out. Then adjust. O.k. problems...
1. Not rolling the dough thin enough will cause the pierogi to be thick and "doughy."
2. Do not overfill, they will bust open.
3. Sealing is important. Too little water they will not seal.
4. Freezing. Do not put them in a bag or container with out flash freezing them first. They will freeze together as a big ball.(we learned the hard way.) Another idea is to wrap them individually in wax paper, then placing them in large freezer bags.
IF you are not scared off and want to make a big batch, here is the dough recipe for 8 dozen.
Dough for 8 dozen:
16 cups of flour
4 teaspoons of salt
8 eggs, good thing my cousin and I raise chickens!
2 cups of butter
4 cups of Sour cream
Since I did all my dough mixing by hand, I worked the recipe a half at a time. A bit more time consuming however, can you imagine mixing and rolling all that dough at one time?
For the fillings as I said before, I used a 5 pound bag of potatoes. For the sauerkraut, we used six cans. I am a "by taste and eye cook." If I think it needs more or less I adjust. Lucky for me my cousin is the same way, so we adjusted onions and salt and pepper and butter by taste for this large batch and the results were awesome.