Pierogi with Goat Cheese Filling

Pierogi  are little dumplings that are boiled, baked or fried. They can be made sweet with prune, berry or other fruit fillings or traditionally savory with potatoes and onion filling. They can be served with browned butter and onions, cheese curd and caraway or simply fried and dipped in sour cream or ketchup. These really are a very popular classic all over many parts of Pennsylvania. (as well as all over the country where there’s European influences) These are my variation with a modern twist. The Poconos being somewhat of a melting pot of cultures, modern and old, a little country and rock and roll I find the title especially fitting. There’s a good deal of European culture here, its really something that I truly love. The primary culture link to pierogi is Polish,  however I feel the Pennsylvania Dutch influence especially is what keeps this treat a staple of our local Pennsylvania cuisine. I’ve been fortunate to have grown up with the Pennsylvania Dutch diet, and its these types of foods that really set me back to childhood.

Dough:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (unbleached)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes peeled and boiled until soft
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped/minced onion
  • 1 1/2- 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ounces goat cheese- (Use Flavored if you wish)

To prepare the dough:

In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Mix together melted butter, egg and sour cream. Create a small well in the middle of the flour and stir the butter mixture into it using your fingers or a spoon. Either in the bowl or on a work surface knead the dough until its smooth and thoroughly combined. (about 5-7 minutes). The butter in this dough makes it somewhat sticky but it also keeps it moist and pliable during assembly. You shouldn’t need to add very much flour during kneading if any. Refrigerate 30 minutes or overnight.

To prepare the filling:

In a saute pan melt butter and gently saute the onions until they are soft. Combine the cooked potatoes, goat cheese salt and pepper. Using a potato masher or fork smash the filling thoroughly. I prefer some lumps but it does have to be relatively smooth so you can form 1″ balls and close the pierogi dough smoothly. Refrigerate until cooled or over night. Do not attempt to assemble pierogi with hot filling.

***If you are using a non soft cheese such as jack or cheddar you will wait until the filling is cooled to combine. Other ingredients such as sauerkraut, cooked sausage, ham or bacon would be mixed into the cold filling as well.

To Assemble:

-Roll out pierogi dough to approximately 1/8″. Cut into circles using a drinking glass or a biscuit cutter. (I used a 2 1/2″ cutter and then rolled the dough a little thinner. If you have a 3 to 3 1/2″ cutter that should work perfect.

-Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop place about 1-2 tablespoons of filling into each round. Wet your finger and trace around half of the circle to moisten it. Fold the circle over the dough (if your filling is somewhat sticky or wet dip your finger in flour and pat it down into a football shape.) Crimp together with your hands and then gently use a fork to crease the edges. Set each one aside on a floured cookie sheet.

To Freeze:

Freeze individually on a cookie sheet. Once frozen place them in a zip tight baggy. If you don’t freeze them individually they will freeze together into a glob…not that I know from experience or anything.

Preparation:

Place pierogi into rapidly boiling water once they are floating they are cooked. You need to pre-boil them before any other preparation.

Saute: Place boiled pierogi into a pan with browning butter, onions if desired and caraway seeds.

Fry: Place pre-boiled dry pierogi into 350 degree oil until crisp and brown 3-4 minutes