Happy Sunday Scones!
This week’s Sunday Scones is all about a simple, homemade pierogi recipe, and I can’t believe I never learned how to make pierogies before! Though truthfully, I must shamefully admit that I don’t eat pierogies nearly as often as I should.
When I lived in Brooklyn, I frequented Baba’s on 3rd Avenue more than I should have. I tried Baba’s classic pierogi, the jalapeño, and the bacon cheddar potato and loved every single one. Baba’s also made a delicious golden beet salad that I still want to attempt to make at home. It’s super refreshing alongside pierogies!
But first, what’s a pierogi?
You’ve likely heard of pierogies, but in case you haven’t, it never hurts to set up with a little history first. In the simplest term, a pierogi is a filled dumpling.
While this dumpling style is associated with many countries throughout Russia and Central, Southeastern, and Eastern Europe (pelmeni, vareniki, knedlicky, and many others), it’s most commonly associated with Polish cuisine. The word pierogi is borrowed from the Polish word pierogi, which is the plural form of the word pieróg (“dumpling”).
My absolute favorite pierogi fun fact is this one from Culture.pl
Legend has it that the 13th-century saint Jacek Odrowąż introduced pierogi to the nation when he fed dumplings to the poor in Kraków following the Tatar invasion. Since then, he is sometimes known as ‘Saint Jacek with pierogi.’—Natalia Mętrak
What goes in a pierogi? Just about anything you want! Commonly, people stuff them with mashed potatoes, mashed potato with cheddar cheese, farmer’s cheese, sauerkraut, fried onions, and even meat or bacon. The fillings can even be sweet–think apricots, apples, or sweetened cream cheese–without needing any changes to the dough. They’re often served with applesauce, sour cream, or fried mushrooms or onions on top, like at Baba’s.
If you’ve never made pierogies, you’re just like me from 4 hours ago! I graciously received a family recipe from Katie Mlodzienski on Instagram.
I also referenced King Arthur’s Pierogie recipe just because I’d never made pierogies before. For the recipe, I followed the ingredients above and followed King Arthur’s recommendation to form the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Then, I refrigerated it for 1 hour.
Next came the part that I was NOT looking forward to. The dreaded rolling it out part. One of the reasons I post so few baking recipes is that I’ve always been lousy with a rolling pin. The few times we’d need rolling pins growing up–for pizza dough or the few times I attempted to make pie–I always deferred to my dad to roll it out. I never bothered buying a rolling pin because it would be a waste, given how seldom I needed one. Any time I needed one, I’d loot my recycling for an empty wine bottle (YES, I cleaned it!) to use as a substitute. I only recently figured I should own a rolling pin, so I bought one, tucked it away, and promptly never touched it again. Until tonight.
How to make pierogies:
First, I started with the dough: sour cream, flour, egg, a little water, salt, and a tiny pinch of baking soda. Then, I kneaded it into a ball and threw it in the refrigerator for an hour.
From there, I made the filling. I used Yukon golds instead of Russets. While Russets are often the go-to tater, old habits die hard for me. I just love Yukon golds for creamy mashed potatoes.
I also made way more potatoes than needed, which is another old habit that doesn’t seem to want to die. Growing up, whenever my parents asked me to prep potatoes for anything, I always made triple what they needed. I must have had an irrational fear that we’d never have enough potatoes for everyone.
The mashed potatoes were simple, of course. I boiled Yukon golds and ran them through a sieve (a trick I picked up when I made this cottage pie recipe a few weeks ago). Next, I stirred in Kerrygold butter and a splash of heavy cream and worked it in with a spoon until smooth and creamy. From there, I mixed in freshly grated sharp cheddar.
Then, I whipped out the dreaded rolling pin and was pleasantly surprised! It wasn’t that bad at all! I don’t know if I got the dough to be ⅛” thick or not, but I did my best. King Arthur suggested using 2-inch round cookie cutters, but I thought that was just too tiny, so I went up to 2½-inch wide cutter.
I took it slow and just rolled, rolled, rolled. Then I cut them into rounds. I saved the scrap dough and will make a noodle soup tomorrow. Then, I made the dumplings, pinched them closed, and used the fork tines to seal the edges.
I boiled them up and took them out of the water. From there, I let them dry for a few minutes on a plate. Then, I fried them up in butter. I served my pierogies with sautéed mushrooms and onions with a few microgreens on top and with sour cream on the side.
What I learned:
Pierogies are not as intimidating as I thought they’d be. But they do take a while! Like cabbage rolls, they are a labor of love. The dough is quite flexible and easy to work with, so I didn’t have any frustrating crying while making dumplings experiences as I have had in the past (like when the dough breaks, or it becomes sticky and unwieldy, or when the dumplings refuse to seal). I was thrilled when I ended up with three plates of not horrific-looking pierogies. Admittedly, my technique could be improved. Some were larger than others, some had more filling, some were cute little half-moons, and some were (still cute) little blobs.
I am also inspired to tackle more recipes that require dough rolling since I’ve been averse to it for many years. In fact, I may devote next week’s Sunday Scones to making homemade pizza. This rolling pin needs to get put to work!
If you’re new here, Sunday Scones is all about experimentation, no-pressure cooking, and anti-perfectionism. This weekly feature is devoted to trying something new in the kitchen.