Some things are just better when they're made from scratch

I’m not going to sugarcoat it (dessert pierogi do sound good though), making these little dumplings from scratch can take some effort, but it is 100 percent worth it. Put a movie on or binge a TV show while you work, and thenbefore you know it, you’ll have packed your freezer and your belly with some delicious pierogi goodness. Feel free to get creative with your filling, as the potato makes an easy, creamy base for whatever you can think up.

Christine McAvoyChristine McAvoyINGREDIENTS

For dough: 

  • 3 cups flour (more for rolling/dusting) 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water 

For filling: 

  • 3 russet potatoes 
  • Approx. 1½ cups cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Approx. ½ cup milk 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5 to 6 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped finely (optional)

For cooking and topping (all optional): 

  • 2 tbsp butter and/or olive oil 
  • 1 onion 
  • Olive oil 
  • Chives and/or green onions 
  • Sour cream 

INSTRUCTIONS

For dough: 

  1. Measure out the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in salt and combine, then add the water and oil, and begin to bring the dough together with your fingers. 
  2. Once loosely mixed, dump on to a clean, floured countertop, and continued to knead the dough until it comes together in a smooth ballapproximately 10 minutes. 
  3. Cut the dough in half, and wrap each half with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 20 minutes at room temperature. (Make filling during this time.)

For filling: 

  1. Potato is your base here, but you can add whatever you’d like into it. Cheese (different kinds), bacon, caramelized onions etc. 
  2. Scrub and peel your potatoes, and then cut into cubes. Cover with cold water, and then bring to a boil on the stove. 
  3. Let the potatoes cook at a rolling low boil until you can pierce them easily with a knife (around 10 to 15 minutes-ish). 
  4. Drain and then place the potatoes back in the pot. Add the butter, and then either with a potato masher, or a hand mixer, work the potatoes until they're smooth, while slowly adding some milk as needed. Do not use an immersion mixture as this will make the potatoes way too starchy. Lightly salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Now is the time to add whichever extra filling you’d likefor this recipe, I used cheddar and bacon. Stir until evenly combined and then let cool to room temp, so you don't burn yourself when making the perogies. 

To make pierogi: 

  1. Roll out half the dough until it's about 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick (very thin), either by hand, or in a pasta maker. 
  2. Use a round cookie cutter, or a floured glass, and cut the dough into circles (or ovals). Place on a floured cutting board, or cookie sheet, while you do the rest of the dough.  
  3. Re-roll any leftover dough bits to maximize the amount of you can make. 
  4. When half of dough is ready and cut, grab a small bowl of room temperature water. Place the circle of dough in your hand, and fill with about a heaping teaspoon of your filling of choice. This amount will vary with the size of your circles. It may take a few tries. 
  5. Dip a finger in the water bowl and run it around the edge of your circle, and then fold in half over the filling. I started pinching it together to seal it from the middle and working towards one edge, then doing the other. 
  6. Place on a floured surface and cover while you make the rest of the pierogi in this manner.
  7. Keep going until all of the dough is gone! At this point, you can freeze the pierogi on a flat surface until solid and then place in a freezer bag. 

To cook: 
(Note: If you want to have caramelized onions for a topping, it's best to make these first, as they take some time.)

  1. Cut an onion into half-moon slices, and then add to a frying pan that is on medium heat, with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Stir every few minutes, and you can add a sprinkle of salt as well. It will take them about 25 to 30 minutes to caramelize. Keep warm while you make the pierogi. 
  2. Boil some salted water in a large pot. Drop the pierogi one by one into the pot. You can do about 10 at a time maximum, as you don't want them to stick together (or stick to the bottom of the pot). If you're one of those people that eats perogi just boiled and not fried, skip the next part and plate your creation.
  3. In the meantime, heat some butter and/or olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When the pierogi have cooked (about 3 minutes) and rise to the surface (it may take a minute or two longer if you're cooking them from frozen), scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place them in the frying pan. 
  4. Cook them until they're golden brown on both sides. Place them on a plate, and top with your desired sides and toppings. 

Make approximately 50 to 60 pierogi