Potato is often called the most versatile veggie in existence, and one of the most important food sources on the planet, and believe me, these flattering titles are not undeserved.
These small energy storehouses are packed with carbs, vitamins A, B, C and P, minerals, iron, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, so it’s not really a surprise that, as soon as they were discovered in their cradle in Central and South America, they conquered the world overnight.
However, if potato lacks one important nutrient that is protein. Fortunately, besides the high value in vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, and zinc, cheese packs protein in abundance, so it’s obvious that pairing these two together makes one very fortunate marriage.
Whenever I want to put meat on hold or have vegetarian guests I use potato and cheese to cook my way out of the problem.
I have to admit, though, that I wasn’t horribly inspired in this regard. Most of my potato and cheese efforts were limited to chive jacked potatoes and hearty cheese potato soups.
You can only imagine how happy I was when my friend Anna who is a Polish decent passed me a recipe for one of the traditional Polish dishes – pierogi – which is based on… You’ve guessed it – potato and cheese. Of course, I had to put my own twist on the entire story.
So, here’s one neat, cheap and easy to make potato and cheese pierogi recipe:
- 4 ounces grated Parmesan
- 1 pound soft farmer’s cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 3 ounces sour cream
- 2 pound potatoes
- 1 stick butter
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon chopped chive
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 3/4 tablespoon granulated garlic
- Kosher salt
- 2 eggs (larger the better)
- 4 pounds flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 3/4 cups water
- 4 ounces olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- Sour cream
1. Preparing the Dough
- Dough is the heart of pierogi, so you’ll need to make it first. To do that, put the sifted flour, olive oil, 2 cups of water, salt and eggs into a bowl, find a mixer and put it to good use.
- Start slow, and keep it that way for a couple of minutes, switch to high settings and continue to mix until the dough starts pulling away from the bowl.
- Now’s the time to slow the mixer down, add the remaining water and continue mixing until the water is fully absorbed.
- All that remains is to give the dough another 10-minute mixing round on the high setting, cut the mixture into four pieces and leave it to rest in the warm area for about 20 minutes.
2. Preparing the Filling
- First, you’ll need to fill a pot with water, add 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt and boil the potatoes until they are ready for meshing.
- That would take approximately 20 minutes as well, so if you are afraid that you won’t be able to multitask you can start boiling the potato while you’re still mixing the dough to give yourself more time to prepare the filling while the dough rests.
- Anyhow, when the potatoes are finally boiled peel their skin, put them in the mixing bowl and start mixing in the remaining filling ingredients. All except Parmesan. If you need some milk to make the process smoother, feel free to add it.
- Once you’re done, add Parmesan into the mix.
- Now, I have to admit that this addition is my invention, and to be quite honest it does turn these pierogis into a cheese bomb. But parmesan also adds a great deal of flavor and provides the filling with a nice texture when it starts melting so I like to keep it in.
3. Rolling the Dough
- Quite easy and enjoyable endeavor. Just spray the board you are going to use with a nonstick spray, find a rolling pin and roll until you reach the consistent thickness of about 1/4 inch. If you get carried away, don’t worry – you can always re-ball the dough and start over.
- When you’re done, find a good 3-inch circle cutter and try to use as much dough as you can (re-balling dough scraps can prove to be of tremendous help).
4. Filling the Dough
- This is probably the trickiest part of this recipe, but after a pierogi or two, you’ll acquire enough skill to do it like a pro.
- Place approximately 1 teaspoon of filling in each cutout (you can always add more for the added pleasure), then gently pick up the cutout and fold it so it covers the filling.
- Now pull out the both sides of the fold (slightly and gently) and seal it by pinching the edge.
- If you want to be 100% sure that the fold won’t open you can use the head of a fork for this delicate purpose.
5. Boiling and Serving
- We are finally nearing to an end. What you’ll need to do to make the final push is to find a spacious saucepan, fill it with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and boil the pierogis for about 5 minutes.
- When you’re done place them on the baking sheet and let them cool a bit.
- Now, pick up a saute pan, cover the bottom with oil, heat it (medium heat will do the job more than well) and finally saute the pierogis.
- Though there isn’t any prescribed time how long you should do this, you’ll know they’re done when they get that beautiful brown color.
The only thing you’ll need to do after all pierogis are ready is to put them on the plate, decorate them with onions, put the cream on the side of the plate for dipping and enjoy this beautiful and caloric vegetarian blast. 🙂