I wish I could tell you that there was some deep background history behind these pierogi– that my father grew up in Poland and brought back the recipe from his family’s long tradition, or that my mother used to enjoy them in the heart of Pittsburgh and shared the city secret of adding sour cream to the dough with me. However, that’s just not the truth. Truth is, the first real pierogi I tried were from a restaurant in my college town. It might not be the magical story you’re craving, but that’s when I started to dream about making pierogi myself.
I always told myself that they’d be too hard, or take too long to make, that I’d have to learn how to mix the dough just right from someone who’d been doing it for generations, and so I stuck with the far less satisfying frozen kind. (Sorry, Mrs. T.) I was inspired to finally give it a go, though, by a weekly food challenge group I recently joined, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that push! Moral of this story: Don’t be afraid to make these. They honestly don’t take that long to make, the dough is surprisingly easy to work with, and they are so, so, so insanely good.
This recipe makes about 15 pierogi, but I doubled it and made my pierogi in bulk. That way I could freeze some of the uncooked ones for Super Bowl appetizers! I don’t think anyone will mind, after all, they are loaded up with bacon, cheddar, caramelized onions, and potatoes. With a drizzle of sour cream on top, you’re practically biting into a little piece of heaven.
That is, of course, assuming that heaven tastes like unleavened dough dumplings, filled with flavorful ingredients, boiled and then pan fried in leftover bacon grease and a bit of butter. I can’t be sure, but it does sound heavenly, doesn’t it?
For the dough:
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 stick butter, softened
For the filling:
- 5 red potatoes, skinned and boiled
- 1 lb bacon
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add in the beaten egg, sour cream, and softened butter. Mix for about 5 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed and the dough pulls away from the bowl. If your dough is still very sticky, add a bit more flour, and if it’s too dry, add a bit more sour cream. Remember, flour measurements by cups vary, so sometimes you may have to tweak your doughs to the right consistency.
- Wrap the finished dough in plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 48 hours.
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet, crumble, and set aside. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and saute over medium in the bacon fat until soft and brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- Smash the boiled potatoes in a large bowl and add in the crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese, and the caramelized onions. Add salt and pepper, and taste test the mixture. Add more salt and pepper, if necessary.
- Roll the filling into 1″ balls.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll out on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a circular cookie cutter or the top of a glass, cut the dough into circles.
- Place one ball of filling on each cut out and fold the dough into a semi circle around it. Using the tines of a fork, press together the edges of the dough to seal it together.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pierogi. Boil them until they float to the top. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and let dry.
- Heat the remaining onion/bacon juices in the original pan. Add butter if necessary. Add a few pierogi to the pan at a time and fry until crisp.
- Serve with sour cream.
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