In my family we celebrate the New Year with pork & sauerkraut with potato cheese pierogies. I have been told this is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania tradition where I am from. My dad’s side of the family is also from Poland and I believe this love for the pierogies is deep in my roots. When my grandmother and her sister were young they worked part time making hand made pierogies. When my husband and I moved to Oregon 7 years ago we had to explain each year to our friends these traditions and that there is nothing better than homemade pierogie. The filling I make each year and my family’s favorite is potato, cheese and onion. This year I wanted to add a new filling to my recipe box and start my new west coast tradition so I made a yam and dried cranberry filling and sauteed them in butter with hazelnuts.
Enjoy the the following recipes and make a new tradition for your family.
Potato & Cheese Pierogies
Potato & Cheese filling:
(This is enough filling for two dough recipes)
2 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled
1 Tablespoon salt
1 stick (½ cup) butter
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water and add the 1 tablespoon salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft, or about 10 to 15 minutes after they start to boil. When the potatoes are done place in a bowl and mash with a potato masher, set aside. Melt the butter with the onions in a frying pan over medium heat until soft (or longer, depending on your preference). Add the cooked onions, cheese, salt and pepper to the potatoes and mix until combined. Let cool. I like to make my filling the day before I plan on making the pierogies.
Yam & Cranberry filling:
1 1/2 pounds yam (2 large), peeled
1 Teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Put the yams in a pot and cover with cold water and add the 1 teaspoon salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the yams are soft, or about 10 to 15 minutes after they start to boil. When the yams are done place in a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Add the butter, cranberries and brown sugar and mix until combined. I also like to make this the night before.
For the dough:
(Make the night before)
3 cups Bob’s Red Mill white flour
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature, or olive oil
¾ cup lukewarm water, more if needed
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the flour, egg, butter, ¾ cup water and the salt, preferably in a bowl, although you can also do it the old-fashioned way, which is right on a clean kitchen counter. Mix the dough until it comes together in a rough ball. Knead the dough on a flat, lightly floured surface for approximately 5 minutes or 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. Bring to room temperature before you get ready to roll it out.
Divide the dough into two pieces, roll out one piece about ¼-inch thick (or thicker, if desired) and cut into circles, about 3 inches in diameter. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. You will have dough left over from both times you rolled out, just combine and knead together. Set aside to let rest for 5 minutes, then roll out and cut into circles of dough.
Fill each circle with a heaping tablespoon of potato/cheese or yam/cranberry filling (you can use a mini ice cream scooper for this), fold the dough over the filling and seal by pinching the edges well. It is important to pinch and seal the outer edge so the filling does not come out when you boil them.
Step 1: Fold over and pinch in the middle.
Step 2: Work down both sides of the dough pinching shut as you go.
Step 3: Check to make sure you can not see any filling.
Step 4: Place on lightly floured baking sheet until ready to boil.
Cook the pierogies in a large pot of rapidly boiling water for about 5 minutes, they will also float to the top. Do not overcrowd them in the pot, I cook about 8 at a time. Place cooked pierogies on a wire rack to dry which you have placed over a baking sheet to catch any excess water.
For pan-frying the potato & cheese pierogies add some sliced onion and butter to a frying pan and cook the onions about 2-3 minutes. When the onions start to brown add in the pierogies and brown on both sides this takes about 30 seconds on each side. For the yam & cranberry pierogies melt about 4 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan, add pierogies brown on each side, about 30 seconds per side. Sprinkle in about 1 tablespoon of finely chopped hazelnut and cook another 30 seconds. To freeze extra pierogies place in a container in layers with plastic wrap between layers and top with a piece of plastic wrap.
Each dough batch makes 24 pierogies. Potato filling makes 48 pierogie.
Yam filling makes 24 pierogies.