Babacia's Pierogi - A Polish Family Recipe
This recipe is a tribute to my late babcia Jasia and dziadzek Janek, both who passed away in 2020. I will never forget the amazing pierogi that my babcia used to make. She made all kinds of pierogi - Ruskie (cottage cheese & potato), spinach and cheese, mushroom and cabbage, minced pork... even blueberry pierogi! They are a labour of love but it's all worth it in the end when you realize you've made enough to feed a small village. Feel free to freeze either the dough, or the actual rogis for future dinners. Miss you babcia & dziadzo! - Karolina Cook
Makes 90 - 100 pierogi.
1 cup water
1 cup milk
½ cup olive oil
5 cups flour
½ tsp sea salt
1 egg yolk
1 kg yellow potatoes
about 4 - 5 2 strips of bacon
1 small yellow onion
2 tbsp butter
500 g pressed cottage cheese (if you can't find pressed, regular full fat cottage cheese will do) Salt & pepper
+ extra butter, bacon, and onions for serving
Watch a video of rolling the dough, filling and sealing the pierogis here
To make the dough:
Warm the water, milk and olive oil in a small saucepan or pot over medium heat until almost boiled. Using a big pastry board or a clean countertop, throw flour and salt on the board and form a small well in the middle. Pour yolk into the center of the well. Using a large knife, chop the yolk into the flour. While chopping, gradually add the liquid mixture until everything begins to bind. Using your hands, begin kneading the dough. Continue kneading for about 10 minutes,
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Depending on how many pierogi you want to make, you can either cover half the dough with plastic wrap and freeze for later, or roll out the dough one at a time on a floured surface. Each half will make about 40-45 pierogi, depending on how thin you roll the dough out.
To make the filling
Peel and boil potatoes in salted water (about ½ tbsp salt), then drain. Add a tbsp of butter and mash together. Chop both the bacon and onion very finely. In a small pan, fry bacon and onion with remaining butter until golden, on medium heat. Meanwhile, using a food processor, blend cottage cheese until smooth. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Bringing it all together:
Using cookie cutters, cut circles out of the dough, as close together as possible. Add about 1 tbsp of filling to the middle of the circle and fold the dough over the filling, forming a half circle shape. You may need to stretch the dough out slightly before doing this. Pinch the ends together to enclose. You can use the back of a fork the help ensure the pierogi does not break open.
Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the pierogi in one at a time, making sure not to over crowd the pot. Allow them to cook until they float to the surface.
Meanwhile, finely chop an onion and pan fry in butter. Tip: fry the onion until golden, then add a tbsp of water to the pan. This helps soften the onion. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pierogi and place them on a light oiled or buttered plate.
Serving - boiled or fried, that is the question!
You can serve them boiled with fried onion and bacon bits (optional), which is the traditional Polish way. If you have any leftover the next day, you will want to pan-fry them in butter until golden. Serve with a glug of olive oil and sour cream.