Working on my PhD means I work from home most of my days. When I have an impending deadline & really need to procrastinate the kitchen turns into elaborate-meal time. This week it was pierogies. I have helped make pierogies as a child in Poland, watching the multistep day-long process. I have been craving pierogies for a long time and I assumed without regular flour they were inaccessible to me forever. I was SO WRONG! Luckily with my wheat allergy I am able to indulge in spelt on a rare basis without too much symptoms.
Spelt pierogies are delicious and unlike the other blogs out there complain, spelt isn’t as strong of a flavor as you think, especially with savory pierogies. It may seem like there is a lot of steps but they are truly easy to make. They’re also cheap. Your invited guests don’t need to know that. 🙂
Makes about 16 pierogies
- 2.5 cups of spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 large egg (room temp)
- 3/4 cup – 1 cup water
Potato & Cheese Filling
- 1 medium onion (softened over low heat for 15 − 20 min with butter, salt & pepper & some garlic)
- ½ lb of grated cheddar cheese (I prefer a mix of medium and old)
- 700 g of potatoes (about 3 medium)
- Salt & pepper ( be liberal)
Mushroom & Onion Filling
- 1 large portobello or 3 cups cremini mushrooms
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tablespoon of butter (or more depending on your taste)
- Salt & pepper (be liberal)
- Soften the above over medium then low heat for 15 − 20 min.
To prepare your dough—pour flour in a mixing bowl. You can sift it first if you want smooth flour. I am too rustic for that. Add salt. Mix with a fork to incorporate. Add egg and olive oil to the centre and then blend it. Add sour cream. You can use the fork or get your clean hands in there. Add water in stages to incorporate into the dough. This gets very sticky. When all the water is absorbed the dough should be a sticky ball. Make sure everything is well incorporated. If you didn’t sift the flour it will be lumpy. That’s ok. The kneading will remove that.
I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a kneading attachment but hands do better. Sprinkle some flour on a large clean work surface. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and rolls into a ball. This can take some time. When you’re done, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let stand for at least 20 minutes. This will be time you’ll make your filling(s).
For the potato filling—boil the potatoes with salted water until tender. Drain and cool. Add cheese and mash with the potatoes. In a pan, lightly sauté the onion in olive oil then add to the cheese-potato mixture. Blend and season.
For the mushroom filling—cut the mushrooms in tiny pieces. In a pan, sauté with the onion in butter and spices. Remove from heat and then dice them up even finer. Even though the photo below looks all pretty it is wrong. I did not do this initially and all my piergies fell apart.
Once you’ve done the fillings, take the dough out of the plastic wrap and split it in two. Spread some more flour on your workstation and roll out the dough until thin. Cut dough into rounds with cup.
Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the filling in each pierog. Fold over and squish the filling inside so it spreads outwards. Pinch to seal. Take a fork and gently make grooves in the fold. If you find your pierogies are not sticking then add a bit of water to your fingers and seal.
Put pierogies in the biggest pot of salted boiling water. You will have to do this in batches. I did 6-8 pierogies per pot. They need a lot of room to float around. If you have a huge pot you can probably get away with up to 12. Let them rise, then about 2 minutes after take them out. You can fry them up in butter. Top with sour cream. Start to eat immediately.