Potato and Goat Cheese Pierogi

Comfort food. Everybody loves it. For some it’s a nice warm bowl of soup. For others it’s a grilled cheese. Regardless of your dish of choice, it always makes you feel better when you’re cold, homesick, under the weather, lonely, or even hungover. Lately, our comfort food of choice has been pierogi. So last week when we were putting a bag of frozen pierogi in our grocery cart, Katie turned to me and said “Jay, I bet you could make these.”

So I did my research. Pierogi are dumplings made of dough, usually stuffed with potato, cheese and sometimes sauerkraut and meat depending on where they are made. They originate from eastern Europe, and are very popular in Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. Most recipes I make on Raise A Toast are generally pretty healthy. This one, not so much. But who cares, it’s comfort food. Right? Sometimes you just need to treat yourself to something hearty and greasy.

Pierogi Dough
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup light sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
4 tbsp butter, melted
Salt to

Pierogi Filling
2 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 3/4 lbs)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup goat cheese
4 sliced of bacon, diced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Keep some butter, salt and pepper on reserve for frying and for taste. Also, buy some fresh parsley for garnish.

If you’ve ever made ravioli, this will be a familiar process. It’s just a different dough, filling and shape. But there will be lots of kneading, folding rolling and pressing. So get ready for a little bit of work.

On that note, mix all of your dough ingredients together in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly with your hands. Transfer the dough to a well floured surface, kneading it with your hands until smooth and consistent. Again, as we see when making our own pasta dough, it can sometimes be too wet or too dry. If it’s a bit wet or sticky, add in a touch of flour. For dough that is too dry, add a couple drops of water. When your dough as reached a good consistency, roll up in a ball and cover in plastic wrap. Let sit for one hour at room temperature.

Now it’s time to make our filling. Start by boiling a pot of water. Cut the potatoes into 1-2 inch chunks and add the pot of water once boiling. (You can peel the potatoes or leave the skins on – your choice.) While the potatoes boil, heat 1/2 tbsp of butter in a large pan. Add diced onions and bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, check on your potatoes by pricking one with a fork or knife. Once soft, drain and set aside. In a large bowl, add all of your filling ingredients – the potatoes  onions, bacon, sour cream, dijon mustard, butter, goat cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Using a large fork, mash the potatoes and mix the filling together until smooth and consistent.

Caution: It will smell amazing. Taste a bite just to make sure. Damn good, isn’t it?

Okay, it’s assembly time. Lightly flour your countertop again and begin to roll out until about 1/8 inch thick. Using a cooking cutter or round drinking glass (3-4 inches in diameter) cut 30-40 rounds out of the dough. Peel away excess dough and roll into a ball. Feel free to roll out the leftover dough to make more pierogies, or throw it in your freezer for future use.

Using a teaspoon, scoop a small amount of mixture onto each round, filling it about half way. One by one, fold over the rounds and pinch closed tightly. Be sure that there are not holes or gaps in the dough, or they might fall apart when cooking. When you’ve folded over each pierogi, boil some water.

Boil pierogi in groups of 6-8 at a time for 5 minutes. After boiling, brown the pieogi is groups in a large frying pan with some butter, flipping once. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Comfort achieved. Enjoy.

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