Potato, Bacon & Cheese Pierogies
August 31, 2011 § 1 Comment
Apparently, no one at Google has either, because Chrome’s spell check refuses to accept that pierogi is a real word.
In case you haven’t, pierogies are like eastern European potstickers – little dough dumplings filled with typical eastern European ingredients like potato, onions, cheese, sauerkraut or meat that can be baked, boiled or fried. My first experience with these little pockets of carbohydrates was by accident, when I came across these in the grocer’s freezer section:
As you might expect, dough filled with mashed potatoes and cheese was a huge hit at our dinner table, and I continued to rely on Mrs. T to provide our monthly dose of Eastern Bloc culinary adventure. I’ve baked ’em, boiled ’em, pan fried ’em, even put ’em in a casserole and they never disappointed. One thing I never thought to do, however, was make them from scratch. Making small, artfully wrapped items like dumplings or ravioli seemed to me like something I should leave to the professionals. I was sure all these things are much, much better when made fresh, but I just assumed it wasn’t in the cards for me and made due with the frozen variety.
But one day, while obsessively browsing FoodGawker, I came across a recipe for home made potato and cheese pierogies. I was shocked at how few ingredients were needed and how simple the steps looked, so I bookmarked it and a few days later decided to give it a go. I also decided to add bacon because when potatoes and cheese are involved, I think it is nearly a mortal sin to leave out the bacon.
I was right about fresh pierogies being much, much better than the frozen variety.
Potato, Bacon & Cheese Pierogies
makes 24 dumplings
For the dough:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
For the filling:
1 lb. potatoes (about 1 1/2 large russets)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4-6 slices bacon, pan fried and chopped into bits
1 tbsp dried chives
To make the dough:
Mix together flour and salt. Beat the eggs and water and add to the flour mixture. Mix the dough (with your hands) until it becomes elastic and can be molded into a ball, adding more flour if it is too sticky. Wrap the dough ball in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To make the filling:
Peel potatoes and cut into cubes. Boil until they can be easily pierced by a fork, then drain and return to the pot. Mash them up and add in cheese, bacon and chives. Salt & pepper to taste. Set aside to let cool to room temperature.
To make the final product:
Cover a work surface and your (clean!) hands with flour. Roll the dough ball out into a long rope, and cut into 24 even pieces, rolling each piece into a ball. Flatten a ball in your hand (or with a rolling pin) and place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center. Fold in half and crimp the edges with a fork. Set aside on a floured surface and repeat 23 times. You will probably have extra filling, which you should definitely eat, because it is potatoes, cheese and bacon. Duh.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches of 4 or 5 at a time, add pierogies to the pot and boil until they float (a few minutes). As they begin to float, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with a paper towel. When the pierogies are mostly dried, transfer them to hot frying pan coated with oil, butter or bacon grease (because you just cooked bacon, remember?) and cook until both sides are slightly crispy and golden brown. Remove to a different plate and repeat until all pierogies are cooked.
Serve with sour cream and sauteed onions (another great use for that bacon grease).