Ever since moving to the Detroit area three years ago, I’ve been delighting in the wonders of scrumptious little dumplings known as pierogi. The Polish population of the area lends itself to some amazing little delis that offer their housemade version of the treat, as well as small-company packaged varieties. The little dumplings can be filled with potatoes, cheese, mushrooms, kraut – some are even filled with a “sweet cheese”! Yum!
I’ve been determined to make them for some time, and finally got my chance this week.
FLOUR SUBSTITUTION – SHORTAGE IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION!
I seem to have a problem rolling out thin sheets of dough. Circumstances were such that I had a borrowed pasta maker for one night (thanks, Sam!) to do the rolling for me. When we got down to business, I was disappointed to realize I’d used all my white flour for cakes earlier in the month. So rather than dash to the store, we decided to try with the flours I had on hand – atta and unbleached whole wheat white.
Atta flour is a whole wheat flour that has a roasted taste. It’s processed very, very fine, so dough made from it can be rolled thinner than the courser-ground whole wheats we are used to seeing. Atta is used for naan and chipati. (I keep it around for pretzels.) Overall, the results with these non-traditional flours were delicious.
There was no shortage of recipes on line, but I stuck with one that was easily adapted to vegan ingredients. I think with a thinner dough I would’ve had a higher (and better) filling-to-dough ratio, and will aim for that next time. But for now, they taste great, and I like the fact they are a little healthier than the traditional recipe!
In retrospect, I wish I’d used more atta flour, which would’ve made a stretchier dough (and thinner). I’m modifying my final recipe here to include more atta, thinking this ratio will be best for anyone wanting to try this non-traditional twist…
1 c. unbleached white whole wheat and 1c. atta flour, sifted together
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg replacement powder + 3 tbsp water for vegan)
1/2 c. lukewarm water
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. melted butter (or Earth Balance margarine for vegan)
Cheese and potato
6 oz. mild cheddar cheese, shredded (or 3/4 cup of nutritional yeast for vegan)
2lb potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 medium onion
3 tbsp butter or Earth Balance margarine
Dice onion and saute in butter. Mix well with the potatoes and shredded cheese, and add salt and pepper. Allow to cool before filling the dumplings.
10-12 oz. sauerkraut
2 tbsp butter (or Earth Balance)
1 medium onion
Rinse sauerkraut, but not so much that all the tang is gone! Saute onion in butter/margarine. Chop Kraut and add to onions. Add salt and pepper, stirring occasionally. Let cool for 20 minutes before filling dumplings.
Make dough by simply mixing sifted four together with all other ingredients and knead in bowl. Rest it for 1/2 hour, covered. Then knead the dough again on a floured surface. You can either roll to 1/8 inch thickness, or use a pasta maker, like I did, to roll the dough thin. Cut out circles with a glass or large can edge – you’ll want the diameter of the circle to be between 3 – 4 inches.
Sifting the flour – beside our cheese and potato filling.
Putting a bit of dough through the pasta maker.
Cutting out the circle.
Fill with about a table poonful of your favorite filling. Then wet the edge of half the circle and press the edges together. Be sure to seal VERY well, as you don’t want the filling spilling out into the boiling water as they cook!! Heartbreaking!
Adding some filling – Kraut in this one.
Wetting the edge on a potato-filled pierogi.
Pinching the edges tightly together.
Ready to boil!
Bring water to a boil and add salt, just as if you were cooking pasta. Drop the pierogi gently into the boiling water. When the pierogi float to the top, turn down the heat to a low boil, and cook for about 5-7 more minutes. Remove the finished pierogi with slotted spoon.
Ready to enjoy!
EAT THEM UP!
At this point you can either serve them right from the boil with melted butter, or lightly fry them in butter or margarine (my favorite way!) until they brown, as in the picture at the top of the post. Some people even make a sour cream sauce with chopped onion, butter, and sour cream and pour this over the top of their pierogi.
You’ll want to eat what you make within a week, but pierogi also freeze really well. We sprayed some with olive oil to keep them from sticking and tucked them away for later! As long as you’re taking the time to assemble these little guys, you may as well make a bunch to enjoy for several meals.