The exact origin of the pierogy is unknown but it is found in one form or other in every Eastern European cookbook. Variations on the spelling of pierogy include perogy, piroghi, piroshke, pirogen. They are also found in some cookbooks as vareniki or varenyky.
This recipe is for a Polish-style pierogy stuffed with potatoes and onions but fillings can be infinitely variable. The recipe makes 24 large or 30/40 smaller depending on the size of your pastry cutter. It’s a time-consuming recipe but well worth the effort – allow at least two hours for the preparation unless you’re very fast in the kitchen!
For the Dough:
- 400 g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 beaten egg yolk – retain the white for use later
- 100 ml milk
- 100 ml water as required
For the filling:
- 750 ml cooked mashed potato
- 100 g farmer cheese or cottage cheese
- 200 ml finely chopped onions
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
Melted butter – optional
Sour cream – option
Sautéed onions, for serving
Note: Pierogies can be boiled, baked or fried. If baked you will need one extra egg.
Prepare the dough first:
- Combine the milk, water, vegetable oil and egg yolk in a bowl and whisk thoroughly
- Put the flour in a large bowl and slowly pour the wet ingredients into the centre, about 1/3 at a time
- Use your hands to fold together – if too sticky add more flour – but only sufficient to get the dough out of the bowl in one piece
- Turn the dough onto a very well floured board and knead for 3 minutes adding more flour if the mixture is sticky
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes
Prepare the filling:
- Melt the butter in a large pan and sauté the chopped onions until well browned
- Mix together the sautéed onions with potatoes and cheese, season with salt and pepper
- Set a large saucepan of water to boil. If you have two very large saucepans this will cut the cooking time considerably.
- Roll out the dough thinly on a well-floured board. You might need to add more flour as you roll.
- Using a pastry cutter, 7 ½ centimeters across (3 inches), cut the flour into circles
- Put a walnut-sized ball of filling in the centre of each circle
- Brush the edges with egg white – it will act like glue
- Fold the circle in half and with well-floured fingers pinch the edge of the semi-circle together
To boil pierogies:
- Place pierogies into fast boiling water a few at a time
- When cooked the pierogies will float to the surface – this will probably take 3-4 minutes depending on size
To fry pierogies:
- Boil the pierogies for 2 minutes and then sauté in butter until golden brown.
To oven bake:
- Pre-heat oven to 425º F, 200º C Mark 7
- Brush with beaten egg and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown
Serve with sautéed onion and sour cream or drizzle with melted butter. As a main meal this dish goes well with Roast Vegetables.
Note: Pierogies can be made in advance and frozen. The preparation is as above, but boil pierogies for two minutes only. Coat each pierogy with vegetable oil to stop them sticking together. Either refrigerate and use within 24 hours or freeze. Defrost thoroughly and reheat in boiling salted water or sauté as above.