Citizens, few things are as satisfying to your beloved TFD as a toothsome pierogi, made the proper way as they do in so many homes and restaurants across Europe and America! 🙂
Pierogi, if you are unfamiliar with them, are filled dumplings of Central and Eastern European origin. Although the word pierogi is plural, most English speakers use it as if it were singular and add s or es for plural. They are made by wrapping unleavened dough around a savory or sweet filling and cooking them in boiling water. These dumplings are popular in Slavic (Belarusian, Polish, Slovak, Russian, Ruthenian, Ukrainian); Baltic (Latvian, Lithuanian); and other Eastern European cuisines (such as Hungarian and Romanian), where they are known under local names. Pierogi are especially associated with Poland and Slovakia, where they are considered national dishes.
Typical fillings include potato, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, and fruit. The dumplings may be served with a topping, such as melted butter, sour cream, or fried onion, or combinations of those ingredients.
The English word “pierogi” comes from Polish pierogi [pʲɛˈrɔgʲi], which is the plural form of pieróg, a generic term for filled dumplings. It derives from Old East Slavic пиръ (pirŭ) and further from Proto-Slavic *pirъ, “feast”. While dumplings as such are found throughout Eurasia, the specific name pierogi, with its Proto-Slavic root and its cognates in the West and East Slavic languages, including Russian пирог (pirog, “pie”) and пирожки (pirozhki, “baked pastries”), shows the name’s common Slavic origins, antedating the modern nation states and their standardized languages. In most of these languages, the word means “pie”.
For this particular recipe, I am focusing on Ruthenian pierogi – as noted on the excellent website thespruce.com:
The filing I have selected is for potato-cheese pierogi or pierogi ruskie is from chef Marek (Mark) Widomski, founder and director of the Culinary Institute in Cracow, Poland.
Pierogi ruskie are among the most popular types of Polish dumplings. Contrary to what most people believe, that does not translate to “Russian pierogi.” It actually means Ruthenian or Rusyn pierogi.
Ruthenians or Rusyns are also known as Carpatho-Rusyns and consist of the peoples around the northern Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine, eastern Slovakia, and southern Poland. This area also is known as Galicia in English (Galicja in Polish, Halic in Slovak and Halchyna in Ukrainian).
Rusyns, also known as Ruthenes (Rusyn: Русины Rusynŷ; also sometimes referred to as Руснакы Rusnakŷ – Rusnaks), are a primarily diasporic ethnic group who speak an East Slavic language known as Rusyn. The Rusyns descend from Ruthenian peoples who did not adopt the use of the ethnonym “Ukrainian” in the early 20th century. As residents of Carpathian Mountains region, Rusyns are also sometimes associated with Slovak highlander community of Gorals (literally, “Highlanders”).
The main population of Rusyns are Carpatho-Rusyns, Carpatho-Ruthenians, Carpatho-Russians of Carpathian Ruthenia: a discrete cross-border region of western Ukraine, north-east Slovakia, and south-east Poland. In official Ukrainian contexts, the various subgroups of Carpatho-Rusyns are often known collectively as Verkhovyntsi (Верховинці) literally meaning “Highlanders”.
Today, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Croatia officially recognize contemporary Rusyns (or Ruthenes) as an ethnic minority.
My version is traditional, but adopts a dough commonly used by Polish-Americans in their version of this classic and that heretically includes some onion juice for extra flavor (this is common in Lithuanian pierogi but is not normally done in the Polish version) – it also includes sour cream for tenderness, while the filling is classic Polish. The garnish is where I innovated, using chopped parsley and minced celery leaves.
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 2 ½ cups (13 ¾ ounces) bread flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup sour cream
- ⅛ cup onion juice (optional – used in Lithuania but TFD enjoys it)
- 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
- Potato-Cheese Filling:
- 2 pounds scrubbed russet potatoes, boiled in their jackets
- 2 tablespoons finely minced onion sauteéd in 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces room-temperature dry curd or farmer’s cheese or ricotta
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste (optional)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped fine
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Chopped celery leaves
- Chopped parsley leaves
- Minced cooked pork crackling or cooked bacon (optional but recommended)
- Sour cream (optional but recommended)
- FOR THE FILLING: Peel potatoes and fork blend or rice them (do not mash), and mix with sauteéd onion and farmer’s cheese. For best results, some small pieces of whole potato should remain. Season to taste and set aside.
- FOR THE DOUGH: Whisk flour, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt together in clean bowl of stand mixer. Add sour cream, onion juice and egg and yolk. Fit mixer with dough hook and knead on medium-high speed for 8 minutes (dough will be smooth and elastic). Transfer dough to floured bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. Roll dough on lightly floured counter into 18-inch circle, about ⅛ inch thick. When rolling the dough, be sure not to dust the top surface with too much flour, as that will prevent the edges from forming a tight seal when pinched.
- Using 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut 20 to 24 circles from dough. Place 1 tablespoon chilled filling in center of each dough round. Fold dough over filling to create half-moon shape and pinch edges firmly to seal. Transfer to prepared sheet.
- Gather dough scraps and reroll to ⅛-inch thickness. Cut 6 to 10 more circles from dough and repeat with remaining filling. (It may be necessary to reroll dough once more to yield 30 pierogi.) Cover pierogi with plastic and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 3 hours.
- FOR THE TOPPING: Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and salt and cook until onion is caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
- Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add 1 tablespoon salt and half of pierogi to boiling water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using spider or slotted spoon, remove pierogi from water and transfer to skillet with caramelized onion.
- Return water to boil, cook remaining pierogi, and transfer to skillet with first batch.
- Add 2 tablespoons cooking water to pierogi in skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring gently, until onion mixture is warmed through and adhered to pierogi. Transfer to platter, add chopped herbs for garnish and serve.
- If desired, add skwarki (pork cracklings) or fried bacon pieces, and a dollop of sour cream, if you like.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Uncooked pierogi can be frozen for several weeks. After sealing pierogi in step 4, freeze them on baking sheet, about 3 hours. Transfer frozen pierogi to zipper-lock freezer bag. When ready to cook, extend boiling time to about 7 minutes.
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 887.59 kcal
- Sugar: 6.78 g
- Sodium: 1211.96 mg
- Fat: 34.13 g
- Saturated Fat: 19.24 g
- Trans Fat: 0.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 119.92 g
- Fiber: 6.19 g
- Protein: 26.4 g
- Cholesterol: 131.83 mg
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