OK, this is going to be a long one!! Because this is a time-consuming process, I either recommend having a helper in the kitchen to boil and drain while you make the Pierogi or that you make these in extra large batches in one day and freeze until ready to eat. The ratio of filling to dough can be off, so in this case tonight, I had to make 2 batches of dough to use all my filling, but there really aren't any set amounts, so it's a matter of some trial and error but it's TOTALLY worth it in the end.
Back when I first met my now-fiancee, I found out he is from a pure Polish family...meaning I had to learn to make a killer Pierogi! Who else to learn from then the best....his mom! She was very kind to teach me one of the very first times I met her and though it is a time consuming process, it is the best recipe. Not too doughy, small enough for a good side dish or you can make enough for a meal in itself.
She taught me her variation on Martha Stewart's recipe for Pierogi, this one being for Potato and Farmer's Cheese. You can use the same recipe for the dough and use whatever filling you see fit, from sweet (blueberry) to savory (sauerkraut and mushroom or meat).
Recipe courtesy of my mother-in-law, Sofia
Ingredients for filling:
3 medium sized potatoes
1 egg (beaten)
1 chunk of Farmer's Cheese (easily found at the specialty section of cheeses in your local grocery)
Salt & Pepper to taste
*This time, I added fresh chives gave it a nice mellow light onion flavor*
Ingredients for Dough:
1 egg (beaten)
1 heaping spoon of Sour Cream
1 splash of milk
1. Peel and chop your potatoes to equal size pieces and boil them until fork-tender.
2. While the potatoes are boiling, crumble your Farmer's Cheese in a large mixing bowl and add one beaten egg to it, mixing lightly, and set aside.
When potatoes are done boiling, drain them and let them sit and cool while you mix the ingredients for the dough.
3. Mix one egg and a large spoonful of Sour Cream together in another large mixing bowl.
4. Add enough flour to make it "not so sticky"...this is a variable amount...so add a little at a time until it becomes the right consistency to start forming a ball....when you are mixing, add a splash of milk (again, a variable amount).
5. At this point, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it, adding more flour until it no longer sticks to your hands and is able to be rolled out into a thin sheet...this can be varied to your tastes, but we do not like too thick of a dough at all, so I make mine very thin, but not too thin where it will tear when it's being worked with.
6. Now, you can add the cooled potatoes into the Farmer's Cheese mixture in your first bowl and add your salt, pepper and any other spices you wish to season with and mash with a potato masher until well blended and the consistency of mashed potatoes.
7. Using a regular sized drinking glass, I floured the rim and used it to cut out small circles of dough and flipped them over in the palm of my hand. This exposes the more sticky side of the dough upwards. Fill the center with a small clump of the filling. It needs to be small enough for you to close the dough around it and pinch it shut without the filling getting in the way of the edge. If the filling is too much and gets in the way of the dough edges, it will cause the Pierogi to break open when you boil it.
8. While you are making each Pierogi, set another large pot full of water to boil on the stove. Once boiling, set about 6-8 Pierogi in the water, so they are not touching and let them boil for 4 minutes. After the 4 minutes, they should be floating and you should then flip them over and continue to boil them for another 3 minutes.
9. Once the last 3 minutes are up, set a colander inside a shallow bowl next to the pot. Remove the boiled Pierogi with a slotted utensil and place in the colander to drain any remaining liquid. Meanwhile, add your next set of Pierogi to the water and repeat the steps above to boil all the Pierogi you are making.
10. Keep rotating the Pierogi from the boiling water, to the colander, then I transfer them to plates to cool and dry off while the rest cook. This is my system, you may have your own...on paper towels or bakers racks would also work well.
11. After they are cooled, at this point, you can put the boiled & cooled Pierogi into freezer bags and store in your freezer until you are ready to eat them. I put them in bags of about 8, that way I can just pull out one or two depending on how many people I am cooking for. Let the bags defrost (you can open them and defrost them in the microwave, if you are in a rush) and then pan fry with butter and sauerkraut or onions or however you prefer and enjoy!!!