Pierogi are a traditional comfort food and a staple in Polish homes. They are absolutely beloved by my family. Although there are endless possibilities for the fillings, we prefer the ones with cheese and potatoes and sauerkraut and mushrooms. Unfortunately, I am cooking for two and one of us doesn’t like mushrooms (did you guess it is not me?). So I have to restrict my binge eating of mushroom pierogi to those rare visits at home.
In my home, pierogi are not often on the table. If they are, there is a good reason behind it – holidays, dinner parties etc. I can’t imagine Christmas Eve without a plate of freshly cooked pierogi. However, as I said, they are devoured rarely in my family. It is because they are time-consuming. Oh, and also they are really calorific – one dumpling has almost 90 calories (14,1 g of carbs, 2,6 g protein, 2,2 g fat and 0 g of fiber!). And believe me, you won’t stop after the first one.
According to My Fitness Pal calculator, my pierogi are only 46 calories each, with 9 g of carbs, 2 g of protein, 0 g of fat and 1 g of fiber. And yet they still taste just as good. To achieve that I substituted regular plain flour for wholemeal flour. I also chose low-fat cottage cheese over traditional farmer’s cheese/quark cheese/dry cottage cheese (Polish: twaróg). But this was not because of its nutritional value or at least not entirely. Cottage cheese is simply more widely available than farmer’s cheese (I haven’t seen the latter in British supermarkets, they are probably available in Polish shops only). Lastly, I decided to top my dumplings with sauteéd onion (it’s a treat after all) rather than lardons or fried pork fat.
Finally, if you haven’t crimped any pastries or doughs before, here are some videos on making pierogies which show 3 techniques of crimping the edges of the dough – you can pinch it, braid it or just use a fork.
Potato and cottage cheese pierogi
Ingredients – dough:
- 3 cups wholemeal flour (about 390 g)
- 2 cups water
- ½ tbs oil
Ingredients – filling:
- 1 kg potatoes
- 300 g cottage cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Steam or boil the potatoes until tender, mash them and let them cool completely.
- Mix cottage cheese with cooled mashed potatoes, add salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge while you make the dough (overnight is even better) Note: filling becomes milder after cooking the pierogies, so it is better to go a bit too salty and peppery.
- Prepare the dough – mix flour, water, and oil in a bowl and knead for a few minutes, either by hand or using a hand or a stand mixer, until the dough is elastic. Note: Start with only 1 cup of water and add more as necessary. I explain why in this post.
- Cut the dough into 4 pieces and work with one at a time. Roll it out as thin as possible, flouring the surface as needed. Cut out circles using a large cookie cutter or a glass and peel of excess dough. Stuff each circle with about a heaping teaspoon of the chilled filling (the amount of the filling will depend on the size of the circles). Seal and crimp the edges. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Cook pierogi in boiling water for about 2 minutes after they have started to float on the water. Take out using a slotted spoon and serve immediately or fry in a frying pan to get a crispy exterior.
- Optional: top with some chopped onion sauteéd in butter and oil.