Today’s guest post comes from my friend Renata Elghriany who grew up on a small farm in a village of about 1800 people in southern Poland about 2 hours south of Krakow if travelling by car. She is an expert in Polish cuisine and frequently shares her wonderful recipes with friends and family, and now with you, the readers of secondactkitchen.com. A few weeks ago on a snowy Saturday Renata came to my house and we made pierogies. Actually, she mostly made the pierogies and I mostly took the pictures and worked on writing up the recipes. When we were done we enjoyed them thoroughly and now we hope you will enjoy them too.
Pierogies with Love
By Renata Elghriany
I am very happy to write this guest post about pierogies which are often considered “poor man’s” food in Poland, because meat is expensive and not everyone can afford to buy a lot of meat. Everyone in my village grew their own potatoes and other vegetables and had cows for milk to make cheese, so everyone in the village made and ate pierogies as a main staple in their diet when I was growing up. Everyone in the village shared their ideas about how to make pierogies and nearly everyone had a different idea about the best way to make the best one – the best filling and the best way to make the dough.
I have worked on this recipe for many years to perfect it, and I am excited to show you how it is done. One modification I’ve made since moving to the US is to use jalapeno peppers in the pierogies in order to add more flavor. There were no jalapeno peppers grown in my village at home. This recipe is an original creation perfected over the years and is a favorite among my family and friends. I hope it will soon become a new favorite for you and that you will find this recipe easy and delicious and enjoy it as much as the people in my hometown do.
Renata’s Pierogies (makes approximately 100)
- 1 lb. potatoes, peeled
- ½ cup jalapeno peppers, chopped
- ½ cup banana peppers, chopped
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 8 oz. farmer’s cheese (or sharp cheddar)
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups AP flour (or white whole wheat AP flour)
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup warm water
- Garnish (if desired):
- ½ cup onions chopped
- 1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1. Boil potatoes in large pot of water on top of the stove for approximately 20 minutes. Do no overcook.
2. Separately, one at a time, sauté jalapeno peppers, banana peppers, onions and garlic in ½ tsp. olive oil each and set aside. Do not cook them together, but keep them separate until after they have been sautéed.
(NOTE: Here’s a tip on how to quickly peel several cloves of garlic at once – separate the cloves, cut off the dry end, place in a glass jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until peels come off the garlic. )
3. In the meantime, make the dough by combining the flour, salt, egg and oil in a larger mixer bowl. Place bowl on a mixer stand with a dough hook. Slowly add warm water while mixing on low speed until dough can be worked but is not sticky.
Continue to knead on the mixer for 3-5 minutes to develop the elasticity of the dough. Remove dough from mixer bowl, wrap in plastic and set aside to rest for 10-15 minutes.
4. Combine potatoes, jalapeno and banana peppers, onions, garlic, farmer’s cheese and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well.
5. Run a small portion of dough through a pasta machine set on setting 1. If necessary, run through the machine 2-3 times to get a smooth sheet of dough. Change setting to 3 for thinner sheets and run dough through the machine again to make a thin sheet of dough that can be used for the pierogies.
If you do not have a pasta machine, roll out the dough on a wooden board with a rolling pin until desired thickness is achieved.
6. Cut 3” rounds out of the dough using a cookie cutter or a small water glass turned upside down.
7. Place 1 tsp. of filling in the middle of each circle of dough.
8. Fold the circle of dough in half and press edges together to crimp tightly closed.
9. Set finished pierogies aside on parchment lined baking pan or on a wooden board.
10. Boil a large pot of water on top of the stove. Add ¼ tsp. of salt to the water.
11. When water is boiling vigorously, place pierogies into the boiling water 8-10 at a time (do not overcrowd). Stir gently so the pierogies don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
12. When pierogies float on top of the water they are done cooking. Use a slotted spoon to remove finished pierogies from the water and place them in a large colander to drain.
13. Sprinkle finished pierogies with a little olive oil to keep them from sticking together. Spread them out gently on plates or parchment lined baking sheets while you repeat steps 10-12 to finish all pierogies.
14. To serve: If desired, sauté approximately ½ cup of chopped onion in ½ Tbsp. butter or olive oil and set aside. Briefly sauté finished pierogies in ½ Tbsp. butter or olive oil to reheat. Arrange on plate and top with sautéed onions. Pierogies can also be served without sautéing them first – simply arrange on a plate and serve immediately after they have been cooked in the boiling water.
Approximate nutrition information per serving (10 pieces, plain): 300 calories; 6 grams fat; 3.5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams transfat; 35 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 48 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams dietary fiber; 11 grams protein.
Renata Elghriany grew up on a small farm in a village of about 1800 people in southern Poland about 2 hours south of Krakow if travelling by car. She is an expert in Polish cuisine and frequently shares her wonderful recipes with friends and family, and now with you, the readers of secondactkitchen.com.