How to Make Polish Pierogies at Home

Around the World in 80 Dishes: Polish Pierogies

In our ongoing video series Chef Gregory Zifchak, from The Culinary Institute of America, demonstrates how to make a recipe for Pierogies from Poland

As the Epicurious food dictionary explains, a pierogi is a Polish dumpling that can be stuffed with all sorts of ingredients, including pork, potatoes, cheese, mushrooms, cabbage, sauerkraut, rice, or fruit. Pierogies ("pierogies" is the plural in English, though pierogi is actually the plural for pieróg in Polish) can be boiled, fried, or baked, and are often served with sautéed onions and sour cream.

In our how-to videos, Chef Gregory Zifchak shows how easy it is to make potato-and-Cheddar-cheese pierogies from scratch. He demonstrates how to mix and knead the dough, make the filling, and form the dumplings. He also shares some great tips, including using an egg wash as "food glue" to help keep the dumplings sealed during cooking. Crimping the edges of the pierogies with a fork reinforces the seal and looks attractive.

The techniques the chef demonstrates can be applied to making all sorts of dumplings. See all of our pierogi recipes and vareniki recipes for ideas.

RECIPE: Pierogies

Gourmet | April 2004

Yield: Makes 48 pierogies

Though pierogies are a classic Polish dish, food editor Paul Grimes had them every Easter at his Russian grandmother's house. Pierogies are satisfyingly rich, so you'll only need to serve 2 or 3 per person as a first course; leftovers make a great breakfast.

INGREDIENTS

For dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For potato filling

  • 1 1/2 pound russet (baking) potatoes
  • 6 ounces coarsely grated extra-sharp white Cheddar (2 1/4 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For onion topping

  • 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter
  • Accompaniment: sour cream

PREPARATION

Make dough:
Put flour in a large shallow bowl and make a well in center. Add water, egg, oil, and salt to well and carefully beat together with a fork without incorporating flour. Continue stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually incorporating flour, until a soft dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting with flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes (dough will be very soft). Invert a bowl over dough and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Make filling while dough stands:
Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain potatoes, then transfer to a bowl along with cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and mash with a potato masher or a handheld electric mixer at low speed until smooth.

When mashed potatoes are cool enough to handle, spoon out a rounded teaspoon and lightly roll into a ball between palms of your hands. Transfer ball to a plate and keep covered with plastic wrap while making 47 more balls in same manner (there will be a little filling left over).

Make onion topping:
Cook onion in butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally (stir more frequently toward end of cooking), until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Form and cook pierogies:
Halve dough and roll out 1 half (keep remaining half under inverted bowl) on lightly floured surface (do not overflour surface or dough will slide instead of stretching) with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 15-inch round (1/8 inch thick), then cut out 24 rounds with lightly floured cutter. Holding 1 round in palm of your hand, put 1 potato ball in center of round and close your hand to fold round in half, enclosing filling. Pinch edges together to seal completely. (If edges don't adhere, brush them lightly with water, then seal; do not leave any gaps or pierogi may open during cooking.) Transfer pierogi to a lightly floured kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and cover with another towel. Form more pierogies in same manner.

Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add half of pierogies, stirring once or twice to keep them from sticking together, and cook 5 minutes from time pierogies float to surface. Transfer as cooked with a slotted spoon to onion topping and toss gently to coat. Cook remaining pierogies in same manner, transferring to onions. Reheat pierogies in onion topping over low heat, gently tossing to coat.

Text by Megan O. Steintrager, illustrations by Matthew Brennan, photo by CIA/Keith Ferris






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