Daily Archives: April 23, 2012

A Sunday Pierogi (or Pyrohy) Making Session

As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog, I’m a big fan of any food that consists of something encased in a carbohydrate such as meat pies, samosas, empanadas, ravioli, pastizzi, etc.  So it was only a matter of time before I discovered pierogi, which are eastern European dumplings filled with cheesy mashed potato – an epic combination. I’ve wanted to learn how to make them myself but haven’t been able to get the recipe out of anyone until recently. Sure, I could have googled it, but I wanted a true family recipe.

One of my friends at work is Ukranian Canadian and said that her grandma made the best pierogi (or pyrohy/пироги as they say in Ukranian) so she invited me over for  a Sunday afternoon pyrohy making session with her roommate.  When she said that her grandma’s recipe didn’t have exact measurements for several of the ingredients since she always made it from memory I knew this was going to be the real deal.

My friend had never actually made pyrohy before so we had her grandparents on skype in the kitchen to walk us through the tricky parts (in Ukranian!), such as what consistency the dough should be, which involved my friend squeezing the ball of dough in front of the webcam for her grandma.  It was a pretty cool cooking experience and it all ended up working out perfectly, thanks to some help from her adorable grandparents!

We learned that having Frank Sinatra playing in the background makes the time go faster and that when in doubt, add more butter. So tell your gallbladder to man up!

It took us over 3 hours to make about 6 dozen pierogi but the reward was well worth it.

Pyrohy with Cheesy Mashed Potato Filling – A Stefaniw Family Recipe

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup warm water

Filling:

  • 9 small (or 6 large) russet potatoes
  • ¾ cup (about 200g) butter
  • 1-2 yellow onions (shredded with a mandolin or finely chopped)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Toppings:

  • Sour cream
  • Chopped onions sautéed in butter

Preparation:

To make the dough, whisk the egg and the cup of water and the oil and stir until combined.

Combine the liquid mixture with the flour.  Mix by hand to form a ball of dough.  If the dough does not come together, add 1 tbsp of water at a time until it comes together. It should not be a sticky dough.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 3 minutes.  The more you knead it, the softer it will be, so if it is tough then keep kneading.

Let the dough rest on the counter or in a warm spot for 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, peel, chop and boil the potatoes.  While boiling the potatoes, sauté the onion in a frying pan with ¾ cup of butter.  There will be much more butter than onions, but it will be absorbed by the mashed potatoes.

The potatoes are ready to be mashed when you can easily insert and remove a sharp knife from the potato.

Drain the potatoes and mash them.  Add the sautéed onions and butter along with the cheese.  Stir until all the ingredients are mixed together and the cheese is melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the dough into quarters and roll out one quarter of the dough until it has the thickness of a wonton wrapper (2-3mm high).  Use a glass or a cookie cutter to cut the dough into rounds.

Place a spoonful of the potato filling into each round.

Pinch the edges of the dough together to make a half circle.

Pinch the edges of the dough together to make a half circle.

Once all of the pierogi have been assembled, bring a pot of water to boil.  Place the pierogi in the pot.  They will initially sink to the bottom.  They are ready when they rise to the top of the water. Instead of boiling, you can also pan fry them with butter.

Serve with carmelised onion in melted butter and topped with sour cream.