Pittsburgh Style Homemade Pierogies
Up until now the only pierogies I ever had the pleasure of eating were found in the frozen food section of my grocery store and I thought they were good. There aren’t too many people living in Kentucky that even know what a pierogi is, but in Pennsylvania we love them! They are Polish in origin and considered the national dish. There are churches in the coal region in Pennsylvania that get together once a week to make and sell them. Pittsburgh consumes 11 times more pierogies than any city in the nation. They love them so much that the Pittsburgh Pirates hold a pierogi race at the bottom of the 5th inning during every home game.
A pierogi is a crescent shaped dough that is filled with a mashed potato and cheese mixture but not limited to that filling. You can fill them with whatever you want to but the mashed potato and cheese mixture is definitely what most people think of…..or maybe it’s just the one I think of!
The pierogie dough was a dream to work with, it was soft and easy to stretch over the filling. The dough took a whole five minutes to put together. Using my hand I squashed the dough together until it formed a ball. It’s a moist dough, if for some reason you find it a little dry add a little more sour cream by tablespoons. Only work the dough until it forms a ball, then wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes if you’re using right away or up to 2 days for later use.
For the first batch of perogies I used my biscuit cutter to cut the rounds, the second time, I used the rim of a coffee cup that made about 1/2 an inch bigger round. I liked the bigger circle, bigger pierogi, more filling. The potato filling is a fantastic base recipe. Make the filling, taste it, add more cheese or what ever seasoning you like to it, it’s all good.
After the dough is rolled out and the filling is tucked away inside your Polish dumpling crimp the edges with a fork to seal it. Because the dough is moist I didn’t have a problem with the edges sealing and staying together. After they were crimped I gently shaped the filling inside the dough to elongate it slightly, I wanted the filling to be evenly distributed in the dough. They may not look pretty but then I have no problem eating ugly food that tastes this good..
They are all ready for boiling. Get some water boiling and add a few( I did three at a time) to the boiling water, when they start floating to the top take them out to dry, again not very appealing at this point but it gets a whole lot better trust me. After they dry, which doesn’t take long at all you have two choices, use them or freeze them. I did both, I have no patience and couldn’t wait to taste them. To defrost my frozen pierogies I microwaved them for 90 seconds at 30 second intervals. They were perfectly defrosted and ready to use.
To cook a pierogi you first saute onions in butter, get them nice and caramelized. Remove the onions and place the pierogi in the same pan you caramelized the onions in and add a little more butter. Fry the pierogi until a nice brown crust forms on both sides, plate it, put the onions on top and dig in. Pierogi Heaven !!!
Pittsburg Style Pierogie
- 2 cups flour extra for kneading and rolling dough
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small cubes
- 5 large potatoes.washed, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 - 3 Tablespoons butter, to saute onions
- 4 - 8 ounces cheddar cheese, depending on how cheesy you want your filling
- salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the pierogi dough, mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to over beat. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Each batch of dough makes about 12-15 pierogies, depending on size.
To make the filling: boil the cubed potatoes until soft. While the potatoes are boiling, saute the onions in butter until soft and translucent. Mash the potatoes with the sauted onions , add 4-8oz of grated cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you want your pierogies), adding salt and pepper to taste. Let the potato mixture cool and then form into 1" balls.
To make the pierogies:
Roll the pierogi dough on a floured board or counter top until 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork. Gently shape the filling inside the dough to elongate it slightly, you don't want the filling just in the middle of the pierogi but in the whole length of it.
Boil the pierogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry.
Saute chopped onions in butter in a large pan until onions are soft. Then add pierogies and pan fry until lightly crispy.
If for some reason you find the dough a little dry add a little more sour cream by tablespoons. Only work the dough until it forms a ball, then wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes if you’re using right away or up to 2 days for later use.