Polish Pierogies – Potatoes, Cream Cheese and Caramelized Onions

There were a few dishes that my mother rarely, or never, made when I was growing up. Pierogies were one of them. Oh, she’d make the occasional Romanian “Gomboti cu prune” which my SIL identified as “Szilvas Gomboc” (Hungarian Plum Dumplings) for us, but I never remember eating the savoury version.

I always thought they’d be a huge amount of work so, over the years, I’ve bought the bags of frozen pierogies from the grocery store and boiled and pan fried them at home with diced onions, and served them with a heaping spoonful of sour cream.

I know that FB can be a waste of time/distraction, but one takes food inspiration wherever it’s found, and the recent flood of pierogi posts inspired ME to make a batch. (By the way, prime rib posts have been popping up in my FB cooking groups, like mushrooms after a rain. I don’t want to say that MY Christmas menu post has been the inspiration, but you can draw your own conclusion.)

I used a potato, caramelized onion and cream cheese filling … cause I had caramelized onions and the cream cheese in the fridge. I don’t know when/if I’ll make them again, though I DO want to make gomboti, the next time I find some plums at the grocery store. I think my mom used sour plums but it’s been a long time since I last had them so I’ll use whatever’s available.

The recipe is a somewhat rewritten version of one I found on Youtube. They were called “Polish Pierogies” so that’s what I’m titling this post.

Polish Pierogi – makes 24 – 32

Filling:

1 1/2 pounds potatoes (2 large russets)
2 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion**
1 small clove of garlic, crushed or 1/8 tsp garlic powder**
3 ounces (1/3 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Dough:

2 1/2 cups (~11 oz) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup water, you can use a bit less

** I used about 1/4 cup of caramelized onions and the garlic powder, because I was too lazy to fry just the garlic.

Filling (make ahead):

Place peeled, quartered potatoes in a pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.

Meantime, brown onions & garlic in oil on med-low for 10 min.

Drain and mash the potatoes, adding onion & garlic, cream cheese, salt & pepper. (Or you can rice the potatoes into a large bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients and fork everything together.)

Set aside to cool. Shape into 1-tablespoon size mounds if desired for convenient portioning and to make the filling process go more quickly.

NOTE: I ‘quartered’ the amount of filling I had in the bowl by eye, and then scored the top of the filling with a knife. I took out the filling, a quarter at a time and rolled each quarter into a log, which I divided into 6 equal portions. Then I rolled THESE into balls. After using up half the filling, I thought the ‘balls’ were too big so on the second half, I divided each quarter of filling into 8ths. This should give you 32 generously filled pierogies rather than 24 overstuffed ones.

Dough:

Combine flour & salt in a bowl. Make a well and add sour cream, egg and water, combining with a fork or metal spoon.

Place on a well-floured board and knead for 50 turns (using a scraper if needed) until smooth. Cover with a towel or inverted bowl & let rest at least 10 minutes. You can wrap the dough in food wrap and refrigerate until the next day, if you need to, though it’s a fast dough to put together the day you make your pierogies so it’s not necessary.

Shaping the pierogies:

Divide the dough into thirds. Keeping extra dough covered, roll each section 1/8โ€ thick, adding flour as needed. Cut 3-inch circles, saving leftover scraps of dough. Combine the leftover dough scraps from rolling the three portions for your last portion of filling.

Fill each circle with about one tablespoon of potatoes or your filling ‘balls’, fold into a half circle, and pinch edges tightly. Place apart on a towel or baking sheet sprinkled with flour.

Place the pierogies in boiling salted water, stirring at first (with the handle of a wooden spoon so as not to pierce the pierogies) to keep them separated, and cook about 3 minutes until they rise to the top, then another 30 seconds to a minute. Remove to an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle some more oil over the top of the pierogies so they don’t dry out.

You may also freeze your unboiled pierogies on the floured sheet and then place them in freezer bags.

Saute your boiled pierogies in a pan with butter or olive oil until they’re golden and serve with caramelized onions and sour cream for a delicious treat.

You can also bake them on an oiled baking sheet in a 350 deg. F oven until lightly golden.

A beautiful accompaniment to a simple boiled ham dinner.

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24 thoughts on “Polish Pierogies – Potatoes, Cream Cheese and Caramelized Onions

    1. They’re really not that hard especially if you make the filling the day before. And the dough is a bit sticky but otherwise easy enough to roll out until you get to the re-re-rolled scraps which are a bit elastic after all that handling. And, you need lots of room to set out your pierogies before boiling.

    1. They were really fat. Next time … less filling in each one. But of course, that means you have to make more, thereby increasing your assembly time. ๐Ÿ™‚

      They’re quite filling though so you can only eat a couple especially with a full course meal. Maybe as an appetizer you can munch a bunch.

    1. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m almost 60 and had never made them. They’re really NOT that hard. Make the filling and let it cool. Make the dough. Wrap the filling in the dough and boil. Similar to wontons/ravioli/empanadas etc.

      1. Of course a lot of things i tried when I was young seemed difficult at the time – experience and patience to really count for something, I guess! Helps to make up for creaky joints and memory issues!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Happy New Year, dear Eva! I hope you have had wonderful holidays!
    Your pierogi look wonderful ! I am too lazy to make them… but they are so delicious….now I crave them and I shouldn’t given all the festive food… You should try one day using turรณ (or similar sour cheese) to taste typically Polish flavours, but I guess it might be difficult to get in Canada (I sometimes make my own curd cheese when I want to make something Polish because it’s not always easy to get in our multi-ethnic shop).
    Actually they are called “Russian pierogi” (pierogi ruskie) in Poland! Funny, isn’t it?
    I like the caramelized onions’ presence! I might us it next time instead of the usual fried onion/bacon.
    (Sorry… but I cannot stop myself from pointing out you don’t need to add “s” because “pierogi” is already a plural, -i being the equivalent of English -s; a bit like “ravioli”. I know it is often written like this on English websites, so I guess it’s not a mistake maybe…).

  2. I must say that perogies are one of my weaknesses, I just LOVE them. Your perogies look beautiful, I just love the caramelized bits on the dough. The carmelized onion and the sour cream sound like delicious accompaniments. I haven’t had them in years but recently we went to the Ukrainian Festival in Bloor West Village and had some of their street perogies, not bad, but yours definitely look better. Happy New Year to you, I wish you all the best for 2016. We’re getting dumped on right now, hope it misses you.

    1. Happy New Year to you as well.

      Thank you. I enjoyed making the pierogies. When I get through this batch, I’m definitely making more.

      We got about 3 inches overnight, more predicted tonight thru tomorrow morning. Then more on Friday. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  3. I have never heard of pierogies! Thank you for the introduction. I love the sound of the carmelised onions in the filling. I think these would make a great canape at a party. Can they be finger food? I do love the look of your colourful boiled ham dinner xx

    1. They’re a bit messy to be canapes/apps as the traditional way to cook them is to boil them and serve them plain or with a bit of sour cream. I pan fried them in butter/olive oil combo cause that’s the way I like them. You CAN also deep fry them so they’re sort of like mini-empanadas which would make them a bit neater to serve with a sour cream/onion dip.

      The sweet version (I mentioned) with plum halves and a bit of sugar is sauteed in buttered bread crumbs and a sprinkling of more sugar over them.

    1. It actually wasn’t THAT much work.

      Of course, I only made 27. Not the 4-6 dozen or more at a time that most people usually crank out for their families, friends and freezer. ๐Ÿ™‚

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