Just to get this out of the way, I’m pretty sure pierogi is already plural, so saying pierogies is like saying…um, okay, well, I can’t come up with anything off the top of my head, but anyway. Gourmet calls this Pierogies, but I think it should have been Pierogi (update: Wikipedia backs me up on this one). Aaaanywaay. Now that I’ve outed myself as a bit of a word nerd, let’s move along.
When I looked through my spreadsheet (okay, so maybe I’m not *just* a grammar nerd…) of Gourmet recipes in search of an April project, this particular recipe jumped out at me. I already had everything on hand; the forecast for Sunday was rain and more rain (the perfect kind of weather for a day in the kitchen); and varenyky (the Ukrainian version of pierogi) and borscht were the two lasting food cravings I developed after spending time in Western Ukraine while in jr. high. Perfect! A project with elements of sentimental connection, frugality, and enough complexity to occupy a rainy Sunday. What more could I ask for?
Pierogi are dumplings; in this case, dumplings stuffed with potatoes, cheese, and onions. Like all handmade dumplings, they’re kind of time consuming, but I think they’re worth it. Actually, I have yet to taste a handmade dumpling that wasn’t very delicious. Since they’re somewhat time intensive, they make for a perfect rainy-day-in-the-kitchen project, giving me time to catch up on podcasts. I spent a couple of hours working on these, with a few other cooking projects going on at the same time, and it was a perfect way to spend a very rainy Sunday. And now I have the other half of this batch of pierogi in the freezer, perfect for a last minute dinner.
True to form, I took some liberties with this recipe. I have onions not-so-slowly turning to mush in my cupboard, so I added sauteed onions to the potato and cheese filling and doubled the onions for the topping. I opted against using an entire stick of butter for the topping, since it seemed completely unnecessary (I have no problem with butter and will happily use it when there seems to be a real pay off. This didn’t seem to be one of those occasions.) The biggest departure was panfrying the pierogi after boiling them. Perhaps it’s scandalous, but it turned out to be a good touch. The pierogi were tasty with the sauteed onions and sour cream, but my husband suggested applesauce instead of onions for the batch in the freezer, and I think he’s right. The sauteed onions were good, but applesauce would be even better.
Unfortunately, dumplings don’t really photograph all that well. I’ll spare you the beige photos. If you have any tips for successfully photographing dumplings, let me know!
Pierogi Adapted from Gourmet, April 2004 Recipe at Epicurious.com
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