Thursday, March 13, 2014

Potato and Cheddar Pierogi

 Pierogi, or Polish dumplings, have been on my "to-do" list for a long time. I finally had a day off with some extra time and decided to give them a shot. Though they are a bit time consuming and messy to make, they certainly were good. Much better than the frozen varieties that I have had years ago. Since they are quite dense I served a small portion of them with a salad and some baked chicken breast for a healthy (and lower calorie) dinner.

Pierogi are dumplings made with an unleavened dough rolled out thin and stuffed with meats, cheeses, mushrooms, or sweet fillings. They are then boiled and often baked or sautéed in butter. I went with a pretty basic mashed potato and cheddar cheese filling and added sour cream to the dough for extra flavor. To save time, you can use leftover mashed potatoes if you have them on hand for the filling, just simply add cheese and onion and stuff.

These will stay fresh if kept in the refrigerator for a few days or can be frozen for several months and boiled.

Potato and Cheddar Pierogi
Makes 20 dumplings (Serves 5)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling dough
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 Tbsp butter, softened and cut into small pieces

Potato/Cheese Filling:
2 medium red potatoes, peeled
1 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp margarine, for sautéing
1/2 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
Sour cream, for serving/dipping

1. Prepare the dough: Mix flour and salt together.
2. Beat the egg and add to the flour.
3. Add the sour cream and butter. Stir and knead for about 5 minutes (until the dough begins to becomes less sticky).
4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile quarter the potatoes and boil the potatoes in a large pan, about 7 minutes or until soft. Drain water and mash. Add the onion powder and cheese and pepper. Set aside.
6. Roll the dough out on a floured countertop or cutting board until about 1/8 inch thick. Use 3" biscuit cutter to cut dough into circles.
7. Place rounded Tbsp of potato filling in the center of each circle of dough. Fold in half and use a fork to press the edges together.*
8. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the pierogi in the boiling water for 4-6 minutes (they are done when they float to the top).
9. Heat margarine in a large frying pan over medium heat, add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add pierogi and toss in margarine and onion mixture. Serve warm with sour cream.

*If the dough is too dry, you may need to add a bit of water to the inside of the dough to help seal the dough closed.

Nutrition Facts: 4 large pierogi
370 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated), 53 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 13 g protein, 230 mg sodium, 70 mg cholesterol

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