Russian Pierogi {Pierogi Ruskie}

If I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life, I would undeniably choose pierogi. Pierogi are known around the world as the national Polish dish, and us Poles proudly contribute to its popularity by consuming ungodly amounts of them, bragging about them, showing them off to friends and encouraging the pierogi-mania.

There are many varieties: meat, sauerkraut and mushrooms, just mushroom, potato and cheese (a.k.a. Russian pierogi), spinach and cheese, fruit filled, sweet, savory and on and on. Very versatile dish they are, they could be served as an appetizer, main dish or a dessert. I could probably eat that without getting sick of them.

We always made them at home, especially around Christmas, but these days you can buy them at many pierogi “bars” that sprung out around the city where, if you find a good one,  the menu is as long as the line out the door. That’s my kind of fast food restaurant 🙂

It may appear that they are a bit challenging to make, but with the right equipment, you’ll be done in no time. I like to use the meat grinder attachment to a standup Kitchen Aid kitchen mixer. I got mine as a hand-me-down probably 10 years ago, and it was 10 years old then.  It’s still working perfectly. I use it very often and can’t see how anyone who spends any time in the kitchen wouldn’t want one.

For this recipe, I not only used the hook to make the pierogi dough, but also the meat grinder attachment.  I don’t need any additional equipment, and can use it for so many other recipes that require grinding, like pasztet, cake dough making, like jabłecznik and many many more. AND it comes with a sausage stuffing attachment that I use often (I made the famous Easter sausage with it). I highly recommend it.

Making the dough is then effortless. Ingredients go in the bowl, hook on, turn on and walk away. It really takes the dread out of making pierogi. For me, making the dough was always most overwhelming, so the hook on my KitchenAid mixer is a life saver for me.**

Russian Pierogi {Pierogi Ruskie}

  • Yields: About 60 pierogi

Ingredients

  • Filling:
  • 2 lbs of potatoes
  • 16 oz of farmer's cheese (16 oz cottage cheese + 3-4 tbs of plain greek yoghurt)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbs of butter
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of freshly ground pepper
  • Dough:
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) of warm water
  • Garnish:
  • 1/2 of an onion
  • A couple strips of bacon chopped and sautéed into bacon bits (optional)

Instructions

  1. To make a filling, peel and boil potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain and set aside to cool.

  2. Mince the onion and sauté in butter until golden brown.

  3. If using farmer's cheese*, crumble with fork and set aside. If using cottage cheese, place on a strainer to strain some of the liquid.

  4. When potatoes cool, mash with a hand masher, add onion, cheese (if using American cottage cheese, add plain greek yogurt), salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Taste and add salt, if needed.

  5. To make the dough, combine all ingredients to form dough. Roll out in batches into about 1/8 in thickness. With a glass rim cut out circles. Place a dollop of filling in each circle, and seal them tightly (see video below for 2 methods of sealing).

  6. Fill a large pot with water, add a tbs of water and oil each. Once water starts boiling, turn down to LOW. Place a few (about 10, not to overcrowd) pierogi into boiling water, and LIGHTLY stir, to prevent sticking. Let boil for about 3 minutes, until they all float up to the top. Take out and lay out on a clean surface, so they are not touching.

  7. You can serve immediately garnished with sautéed onion and bacon bits or sauté in butter on both sides until golden brown, garnished also with onion and bacon bits. Bacon bits optional, but very desirable. 🙂

Notes

*Most Polish stores carry farmer's cheese (twaróg), but if you don't have one near by, I've been able to find farmer's cheese in large grocery stores, it comes in a plastic box in the refrigerated section near specialty cheeses.

If you make a larger batch, boil and freeze (spread on a cookie sheet), and once frozen place in a bag or a container. In a crunch, place frozen pierogi in a large sautéing pan with a few tbs of water, cover and let though on medium heat. Once water evaporates, add a couple tablespoons of butter and sauté on each side.

You’ve now created your new favorite Polish fast food. 🙂

Enjoy and smacznego!

Anna

ps. if you don’t have access to farmer’s cheese, recipe here.

* my post includes affiliate links connecting you to amazon.com. If you choose to purchase something using my link, I will receive a small commission for talking about the product. With that said, please know that I’m only recommending products I absolutely believe in, use and, and am not only doing so to collect commission.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Wonderful.
    Just one point of correction. Ruskie in this case means Ruthenian, rather than Russian. Ruthenians are what are now called Ukrainians. Even though ruskie is sometimes slang for Russians in Polish, the proper term for Russian (pierogi, plural) wpuld be “rosyjskie”.

    1. Thanks Andy! Honestly I had no idea… never really thought about it… I guess I assumed it’s old Polish (staropolski) term… Thanks for educating me, learned something new today. 🙂 Smacznego!

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