Monday, February 4, 2013

potato and cheese pierogies

Seriously, how has no one ever taught me how to make these? I'm part Polish, after all, and other than Fryderyk Chopin, pierogies are Poland's most famous export! (Fun fact, when you type pierogies into blogger it auto corrects to Robespierre). These are beyond simple to make, and it seems a waste that I've spent the last 10 years or so on living on my own, buying pierogies from the grocery store in the freezer section. They took about 20 minutes to make, and are so infinitely more delicious than frozen that it's a no brainer that this is the only way I'll be doing this again. Soft and cheesy potatoes encapsulated in chewy dough slathered in butter and onions... how could these little gems not be delicious?
 This is the easiest dough. Add 2 eggs yolks, vegetable oil, salt and flour into what appears to be a flour volcano. Add water with your left hand and mixing with your right to incorporate. Only add enough water so that the dough is slightly sticky.
Roll into a ball and close in plastic wrap. Knead for a few minutes, until elastic and supple. Refrigerate at least one hour. While that's resting in the fridge, you can work on the potatoes. You only need 2 large russets- no more or you'll run out of dough. Boil them, mash them and add your cheese and milk. You can use milk, yogurt or sour cream- really any dairy based binder.
This is delicious on it's own. Seriously, I ate a bunch of it. Anyway, by this point your dough should be about ready. Split the dough into 4 equal pieces and using your hands, rolls each piece into a 1 inch wide log. Cut each log into 1 inch wide chunk. Using your hands take each chunk and stretch it into a round disk, much like a pizza crust. Using a tablespoon, fill each disk, folding the dough over the filling and crimping with a fork. Repeat until all the dough is gone.
At this point you want your water to be boiling, but not so rapidly as to break up the little dumplings when you drop them in. Boil for about 5 minutes and drain. Serve with onions cooked in butter and oil and you've got yourself a genuine treat.
Potato and Cheese Pierogies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup hot water
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and boiled
1/4 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Create a small mound of flour on a large surface. Create a crater in the center and add the egg yolks, vegetable oil and salt. Using your left hand, pour the water into the dough while using your right hand to mix. Add only enough water to incorporate until you have a dough that's only slightly sticky. Knead dough 25-30 times or at least until the dough is elastic and supple. Refrigerate for 1 hour. In a large mixing boil, combine the potatoes, milk and cheddar cheese with a hand mixer. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove dough from fridge and split into 4 equal parts. Roll each part into a 1 inch roll and cut into 1 inch chunks. Stretch each chunk into a fairly thin disk much like a pizza crust. Fill each disk with the potato mixture. Seal using a fork. Drop each dumpling into boiling, salted water for 5 minutes. Serve with onions sauteed in butter and oil. Enjoy!