Have you ever tried pierogi ruskie? They are vegetarian dumplings filled with potatoes and cheese typical of Polish cuisine. Loved by many, they are the first dish you should try while visiting Poland. If you don’t have the chance or time to travel, don’t worry, you can easily make pierogi ruskie at home with this recipe!
Polish cuisine isn’t well known outside of Poland, but if there’s one dish that’s crossed the country borders and gained popularity abroad is certainly the pierogi.
Pierogis are dumplings filled with a variety of ingredients from savoury to sweet, which can be cooked in boiling water or pan-fried. They are one of the most traditional dishes in Poland. Certainly the most loved by locals and tourists alike.
I have lived in Poland for over seven months now and I can say I have eaten my fair share of pierogis. My favourite ones are pierogi ruskie, which are filled with mashed potatoes and cheese.
Because pierogi are so easy to find in Poland, in both restaurants and supermarkets, I rarely make them at home. But of course, making your own food is never about convenience: it is about making something with your own hands, using good ingredients you have selected. It’s about the feeling of creating something nourishing and delicious from scratch. It’s about feeding yourself and your loved ones.
To make pierogi ruskie, I used a recipe from Wild Honey and Rye, Modern Polish Recipes, a beautiful cookbook by Ren Behan. I have known Ren for several years, having first met her at a food event early on my blogging journey. We share a mutual love for cooking, photography and blogging. Ren was born and raised in Britain, but both her parents are Polish, and so Polish traditions, language and culture are a part of who she is. When it comes to Polish cuisine and recipes, Ren’s cookbook is an unbeatable source!
Makes around 70 pierogi.
For the dough
- 1kg plain flour or “00” flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 250ml lukewarm water
For the filling
- 1kg large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 300g twaróg or curd cheese
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
Sift the flour onto the kitchen counter. Make a well in the centre, add the beaten egg, oil and a few tablespoons of water. Use a knife to bring the dough together – the dough will be soft and sticky – then mix by hand to bring it together into a ball. Knead the dough ball for a couple of minutes. Leave the dough to rest in a bowl, with a little oil, covered with a damp tea towel, for around 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into two, keep half covered in the bowl so that it doesn’t dry out. Sprinkle the counter with a little flour and roll out the dough until it’s about 3mm thick.
Using an inverted glass or cookie cutter (around 8cm in diameter) cut out circles of dough. Continue until all the dough is used. Cover the circles of dough with a damp tea towel until you are ready to start filling the dumplings.
To make the filling: put the potatoes in a large pan of cold water, add a pinch of salt and bring the water to boil over high heat. Turn the heat down and gently simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Drain and leave to dry out completely. Mash the potatoes and mix them with the cheese until well combined. Add the onion, previously cooked with oil and butter in a frying pan over low heat for about 10 minutes. Season the potato, cheese and onion mixture with salt and pepper.
To fill the pierogi, take a circle of dough in your hand and add one teaspoon of potato and cheese mix in the centre.
Fold the dough over to enclose the filling. Using your fingers, pinch the dough along the edge to seal the dumpling.
Lay the pierogis on a floured tray and cover with a damp tea towel while you make the rest.
Cook the pierogi in a large bowl of boiling water. The pierogi are ready when they float to the surface, usually after 2-3 minutes. Lift them using a slotted spoon, fully drain the water and set aside while you cook the rest.
At this stage, you can cool down the pierogi and freeze them in ziplock bags.
You can serve the pierogi once they are boiled or you can also gently fry them in a frying pan to add a little bit more of flavour and texture. Use just a little of vegetable oil or butter in the pan and cook the pierogi on both sides until they pick up a golden colour.
Top with onions fried in butter and serve with a dollop of sour cream.