I have been thinking for days what my first blog should be and then it came to me. My grandmother and sister came over from Poland as young girls and their first job was making homemade pierogies. With the Easter holiday upon us I thought I would share our family recipe. These are perfect to make ahead of time and then freeze them. You can then take them out anytime and you have a perfect side dish or meal.
For the Potato & Cheese filling:
2 ½ pounds baking potatoes, peeled
3 cups cold water
1 stick (½ cup) butter
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar Cheese
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
For the dough:
3 cups flour
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
¾ cup lukewarm water, more if needed
Prepare the potato and cheese filling;
Put the potatoes in a pot with the cold water and 1 tbsp salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft, for about 10 to 15 minutes after they start to boil.
When the potatoes are nearly done, melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the onion over medium heat until soft (or longer, depending on your preference). Drain the potatoes and mash them. Add the cooked onion. Add the cheese, salt to taste and the pepper. Continue to mash until blended. Let cool.
Prepare the dough;
Combine the flour, egg, butter, ¾ cup water and the salt, preferable in a bowl, although you also can do it the old-fashioned way, which is right on a clean kitchen counter. Knead the dough on a flat, lightly floured surface for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, until it forms a smooth ball. Add water as needed if the dough seems chalky or hard, and add flour until the dough no longer sticks to the counter.
Let the dough rest for at least a half-hour if you plan to cook the pierogies immediately, but, if possible, cover and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight to give the gluten in the dough more time to smooth out.
Divide the dough. Roll out one piece about ¼-inch thick (or thicker, if desired) and cut into circles, about 2 inches in diameter for small pierogies, 3 ½ inches for large. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Fill each circle with a heaping tbsp of potato filling (you can use a mini ice cream scooper for this), fold the dough over the filling and seal by pinching the edges well. Lay on floured surface and continue to make remaining pieroges. Cook the pierogies in a large amount of rapidly boiling water for about 5 minutes. Do not overcrowd them in the pot I cook about 12 at a time in a large pot. Place on wire rack so all sides dry you can then put in freezer container or cook some up!
Makes 36 to 40 pierogies.
For pan-frying, add some butter and sliced onions in a frying pan. Once then are just about brown add the pierogies and fry to a golden brown.