Corona Home Cooking: ‘Old Style’ Pierogi
Growing up in Poland, our Chief Cooking Officer Agnieszka Bućko was always in the kitchen, cooking up traditional Central European recipes under the wisdom of her mother and grandmother. One staple they often made was handmade pierogi with various stuffings, but always filled with love.
With many of us now having unprecedented free time at home, there’s no better time to take after Agnieszka and her family and give handmade pierogi a try thanks to this own tried-and-true recipe found in her new cookbook “Cooking With Love: From My Polish Kitchen to Yours.”
A far cry from what’s found on grocery store shelves, handmade pierogi is the ultimate comfort food, as well as extremely customizable with fillings as well as sauces. Stuff with a filling of your choice – although in this below recipe, we fill with potato and cheese – and create to your heart’s content, as this dish also freezes very well. So well, in fact, you can also purchase it frozen from Mount Salem Kitchen – learn more by clicking here.
Giving it a go with your own hand? Let us know how yours came out by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or dropping us a line on our Instagram and Facebook pages. And if you want to try even more of Agnieszka’s recipes, click here to purchase her cookbook.
“Old Style” Pierogi
Credited to “Cooking With Love: From My Polish Kitchen to Yours”, by Agnieszka Bucko (2019, Mount Salem Kitchen)
There are many ways to make pierogi dough, but “Old Style” is the simplest and yields the most authentic results. The process is summarized as follows: 1. Make the dough; 2. Roll the dough; 3. Cut the dough; 4. Fill & Form the Pierogi; and 5. Boil the Pierogi. Note that you should have already prepared a filling and a sauce before making the dough; you need to roll, cut and fill the pierogi as soon as the dough is made.
Ingredients (makes about 50 pierogi)
- 500 g. Unbleached White Flour
- 1 C. (250 ml.) of Hot Water
- 4 T. Vegetable Oil
- 1 t. Salt
- Special Equipment: Rolling Pin; and a Water Glass, about 3¼” top diameter at top
Make the Dough
Toss the flour and salt together in a large bowl; heat water to 110oF (creates a softer dough).
Mix flour with water (about 50 ml. at a time), transfer to a work surface and knead for several minutes, adding small dustings of flour as needed. The dough should be round, smooth, not sticky.
Roll the Dough
Using a dough knife or large chef’s knife, cut the dough in half; transfer one piece to a bowl and cover it with a towel; place the other piece on the center of the work surface.
Use the rolling pin to flatten the half ball of dough into a thin sheet that’s between 1/8” and 1/4″ thick; it should neither too thick nor too thin; practice will help with this. Three tips for success:
A. Be sure the work surface and the rolling pin are clean and lightly dusted before starting.
B. Lay the rolling pin over the center of the ½ ball of dough, and imagine that the dough is a clock with the 12 away from you and the 6 closest to you:
- Gently roll from the center of the clock toward the 12;
- Place the pin back at the center and roll toward the 6;
- Place the pin at the center and roll toward the 3;
- Return to center and roll to the 9.
Continue this “roll around the clock” until the dough is reduced to a thin, flat shape.
C. When the dough is 12” diameter, allow half of it to hang over the edge of the work surface; roll only to 12, 3 and 9. Then gently pick up dough and hang the other half over the edge, and again roll to 12, 3 and 9. This will use gravity to stretch the dough and counteract the elasticity that naturally occurs when gluten is formed by kneading flour and water together.
Cut the Dough
Once the ½ dough ball is rolled thin, use the water glass to cut disks of dough 3¼” in diameter.
Start at edge of rolled dough, and use glass to cut through to the work surface. Move the glass and repeat until the entire sheet of dough is full of circles; position glass each time to minimize waste.
Carefully peel up the dough that is between the circles, and roll it into a ball and set aside (you’ll roll this out again in a moment). You should have 15-20 circles of dough on the surface in front of you.
Fill & Form the Pierogi
Use dough knife or chef’s knife to scrape a circle of dough up from the work surface; place it into the palm of your non-dominant hand (for right-handed people, this means your left hand).
Gently close your hand half-way to partially fold the dough, and use your other hand to spoon 1 T. of filling onto the dough; be sure the filling does not touch the outer rim of the circle of dough.
Close your hand completely, and use your fingers to press the edges together, forming the classic half-moon pierogi shape. Set aside on the work surface. Repeat with all remaining circles of dough.
When all circles have been filled, folded and pressed, use a fork to seal the edges closed. Be sure to seal only the rounded side of the pierogi, not the straight side, and do not pierce the pierogi with the fork. Transfer the pierogi to a platter that is lightly dusted with flour; do not allow the pierogi to tough each other or they will adhere together and be unusable.
Roll out other half ball of dough, and repeat the procedure of cutting, filling and forming the pierogi. Complete the process with the excess dough from the cutting process, which will yield more pierogis than you expect; discard only the last whisp of dough that’s too small to make one pierogi!
Boil the Pierogi
In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil and add 1 t. of salt per liter of water. Add pierogi to the pot, no more than two or three at a time.
After 4 minutes and pierogi have all floated to the surface, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a colander to drain, and then transfer to a warmed serving platter. Repeat with all pierogis; spoon the sauce over all the pierogi and serve immediately.