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Pierogi

Pierogi

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • plus resting
  • A challenge

Variations on these delicious dumplings are found all over Eastern Europe. Olia's are filled with tangy sauerkraut, crunchy cabbage and crispy shallots

  • Vegetarian
Nutrition: per serving
NutrientUnit
kcal403
fat7g
saturates1g
carbs70g
sugars3g
fibre6g
protein12g
salt0.6g
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Ingredients

For the filling

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 shallots , finely chopped
  • 150g sauerkraut , finely chopped
  • 150g hispi (sweetheart) cabbage , shredded

For the dough

  • 1 large egg , lightly beaten
  • ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 350g plain flour , plus extra for dusting

For the crispy shallots

  • vegetable oil , for frying
  • 2 shallots , finely sliced
  • plain flour , for dusting

To serve

  • 45g butter
  • 60ml soured cream

Method

  • STEP 1

    First, make the crispy shallots. Heat the oil in a saucepan to 180C (a cube of bread will turn golden in 15 secs). Toss the shallots in a little flour and deep-fry for 1 min or until light golden and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper. Can be made up to two days before and kept in an airtight container.

  • STEP 2

    To make the filling, heat the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan and gently fry the shallots for 10 mins until starting to turn golden.

  • STEP 3

    Add the sauerkraut and cabbage, and cook for 5-10 mins until the cabbage has softened. Taste and add a little salt if under-seasoned, or sugar if stringent. Scrape into a bowl and leave to cool completely.

  • STEP 4

    To make the dough, mix the eggs and oil with 125ml water, then gradually add in the flour, mixing well with your hands. Knead it on a well-floured surface until the dough stops sticking to your hands. You should end up with firm, elastic dough. Wrap it in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 mins, or overnight.

  • STEP 5

    Flour your work surface generously. Roll out the dough to a 40cm circle or until the dough is as thick as £1 coin.

  • STEP 6

    Using a 9cm cookie cutter, cut out discs in the dough – you should end up with about 25 discs. Do not throw away the off-cuts – we throw them in with the pierogi when boiling to minimise any waste.

  • STEP 7

    Have a well-floured tray ready. Put 1 tsp of the filling into the centre of each disc. In your hand, fold in half around the filling and seal to create half-moon shapes. Put them on the floured tray, making sure they don’t touch each other.

  • STEP 8

    Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and carefully lower the pierogi in. Boil them for 2 mins or until they float to the top.

  • STEP 9

    Drain and serve with a knob of butter and some soured cream. Finish by sprinkling the crispy shallots on top to serve.

What are pierogi?

The half-moon-shaped dumplings are called pierogi in Poland, and known as varenyky in Ukraine and vareniki in Lithuania. Pierogi ruskie, filled with potato, are the most well-known. 'Ruskie' refers to the Ruthenian people from the northern Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine, eastern Slovakia and southern Poland.

Pierogi have been made in Poland since the 13th century and even have a saint associated with them, Saint Hyacinth. Pierogi are usually made in large batches by groups of people – making the repetitive task more convivial. A restaurant that serves these dumplings as the main menu item is called a pierogarnia in Poland – there are several pierogarnia in the UK.

What is pierogi dough made from?

The dough is unleavened, made from flour, water and sometimes egg and/or oil. It's kneaded until soft and elastic and rolled thinly to enclose the filling.

What are typical pierogi fillings?

The most traditional fillings are potato and soft cheese, cabbage or mushrooms, and sometimes the addition of meat. You can also find sweet varieties filled with fruit. A wild mushroom and sauerkraut filling is often served on Wigilia (Christmas Eve). Fillings can vary regionally, with grains, pulses, sausage, game and fish featuring, and modern recipes have a more varied range of fillings, depending on the cook.

What’s the best way to cook pierogi?

Pierogi are usually steamed or boiled, then sometimes fried to give them a little colour. Leftovers can be fried in butter or deep-fried the following day.

Can you air-fry pierogi?

You can finish pierogi in an air fryer once they have been boiled or steamed, but you’d need to be careful that they don’t break up. Pierogi can be fried to cook them the whole way through, but this produces a much tougher dough whether this is done in an air fryer or frying pan.

Tips for making pierogi from scratch

  • Knead your dough properly – it should be smooth and elastic
  • Rest the dough for at least 30 mins so the gluten relaxes – if you don’t do this, the dough will be hard to shape and may shrink when cooked
  • You can either roll the dough out thinly and stamp shapes out of it (save the offcuts to cook with the pierogi), or divide the dough into pieces and roll each one out. The second method is less neat and you may find you overwork the dough and toughen it
  • Pierogi freeze well, so it's worth making big batches. Get help and make a production line so one person rolls and cuts while another fills and folds
  • Steam the pierogi in big steamers, making sure they're not touching each other, or cook them in a pan of water that you’ve brought to the boil then turned down a little. If you boil them, don’t boil them hard or they might break up as they soften.

Can I freeze pierogi?

Freshly made, uncooked pierogi can be frozen. Lay them out on a baking-parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure they are not touching, and freeze until solid. Tip the frozen pierogi into bags or containers and freeze for up to three months.

 Why are my pierogi tough?

Tough pierogi generally means that the dough is overworked. Make sure you rest the dough after making it and don’t handle the dough too much when shaping the pierogi. 

What do you serve pierogi with?

Traditionally, you’d serve savoury pierogi with melted butter, soured cream or smetana or fried onions and bacon. Modern recipes may also use more involved toppings.

Goes well with

Recipe from Good Food magazine, March 2017

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A star rating of 3.4 out of 5.5 ratings
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