Polish Kapusta and Ruskie Pierogi. (Sauerkraut/cheese)

Growing up with a mother that was 100% Polish,  traditional Polish meals were once a week supper for our family.  Pierogi and stuffed cabbage were just two of the many dishes made often in my home.   My mother was fortunate enough to have her maternal grandparents live in her home until she was 16, and they came straight from Poland, not even speaking the English language.  The benefit to that was that my mom was taught the correct, authentic way to make many traditional Polish dishes.  Fortunately, I learned at an early age how to make these delicious dumpling like beauties, the right way with no shortcuts.

Yes, they are a bit tedious and time-consuming, however, the moment the first bit hits your taste buds, the time and effort seem like a small trade-off!

There are many variations of kinds of pierogi, but in this recipe, I will be sharing the two most common fillings, Sauerkraut/onion filling (Kapusta), and potato, cheese, and onion. (Ruskie)

* just a random little fact that few know about pierogi- Pierogi is actually plural. There is no such thing as “pierogi’s”. A single pierogi is actually called Pierog in Poland.

Ingredients:

Sauerkraut filling:

  1. 2 tablespoons of butter
  2. 1/4 cup of onion, chopped
  3. 1 cup sauerkraut

Potato/cheese filling:

  1. 3 tablespoons of butter
  2. 1/3 cup onion chopped
  3. 1 cup of cold mashed potatoes ( I make mine from scratch)
  4. 1/3 cup of Farmer’s cheese (this can be substituted with ricotta cheese, but you most definitely want to push it through a strainer to extract the liquid)
  5. 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar (optional)

Dough:

  1. 3 eggs
  2. 1 8oz cup of sour cream
  3. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  5. 1 tablespoon baking powder

Directions:

Prepare sauerkraut filling by sauteing the onions in butter until they are translucent. Mix with the sauerkraut and set aside.

Prepare the cheese filling by again sauteing the onions until translucent, and then mixing with mashed potatoes and cheese and set aside.

Preparing the Dough:

Beat together the eggs with the sour cream until you have a smooth consistency.

Sift in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add in the sour cream and stir with a large spoon until the dough begins to come together. The dough will be sticky to the touch.

Move the dough ball onto a well-floured surface and begin kneading the dough until you have a smooth and firm consistency.

Divide the dough in half. Lightly coat the dough and begin to roll it out to a 1/8 inch thickness, making sure it is evenly rolled on all sides. and then use a biscuit to make 3 inch rounds. I prefer the top of a wine glass to make my rounds. You should be able to reuse the dough several times to re-roll and cut.

Filling the dough rounds:

Pinch a small amount of filling (about the size of a nickel)  and place in the center of the dough round.   Moisten the edges with water and gently fold over to make a half moon shape.  I like to tuck in the filling with the other hand while pressing and sealing the seam.  After you have all your rounds folded, use a fork to press around the edges and seal the fold.

Now at this point, the pierogi can be covered and refrigerated until firm, and then placed in an airtight bag or container to freeze.

Preparing/Cooking the pierogi:

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil, adding salt to taste. Drop 4-5 Pierogi at a time, and allow to cook for 4minutes. They will pop up to the top as they cook.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the pierogi one by one and set on a paper towel.

In a medium skillet, add 2 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat.  Place 3-4 pierogi in the pan, and lightly brown on both sides.  Remove to a plate and top with extra sour cream and green onions.

Pierogi is such a comfort food, and are quite filling too!