Well. It’s been a year, hasn’t it?
I’m spending Christmas alone in New York this year. My first Christmas alone, and my first Christmas in New York. Since it’s just me this year, I didn’t want to order a large dinner for one person. Instead, I decided to make pierogies (or pirohy in Slovak) for Christmas Eve dinner. My family usually makes them for any holiday – Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc. – and serves them before the main meal, somewhere around the time that we’re all having some sort of festive sparkling cocktail. We typically eat them standing up as we crowd around the stove hoping to get the next batch fresh out of the pan.
The recipe I make comes from The Anniversary Slovak-American Cook Book, a gift to my mother in the 1970s. You can find the most recent version here. I’ve been making it in some form or another since I was in middle school.
I always make potato pierogi because it’s usually what my family made, but can fill yours with whatever you like. Some fillings I’ve had are beef, mushroom, and lekvar (plum butter). Cheese or potato and cheese filling is also common, but I’m lactose intolerant so I can’t eat those.
Makes about 30 standard-sized pierogies or 50 small ones. If it is your first time making pierogis, your prep time may be longer than 30 minutes. It takes some practice to fill and seal the pierogies. You’ll be better at it after your first batch.
I like them lightly browned in a pan with a little butter and onions. Sometimes I have them boiled with a bit of butter on top. They are also good with a bit of diced bacon.
I use the potato and butter filling (I do not recommend you add mint) but the cabbage filling is also very good and one of my favorites.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold water (I like to add a few ice cubes)
- 1 large potato, cooked and mashed
- With butter and onions:
- 1 stick butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- If serving with onions, first melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, then stir in onions. Stir frequently for about 20-30 minutes, or until the onions are soft and slightly caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Here is the recipe for pirohy as described by in the cookbook, with my own notes in parentheses.
- Mix all ingredients with enough water to make a medium soft dough (the dough should not be too soft, or it will be very sticky). Knead well, then roll out until thin (use plenty of flour (about ⅓ cup) on your cutting board and rolling pin to prevent sticking). Cut in squares to make 50 pirohy (you can also use a glass or biscuit cutter). Place on each square 1 teaspoon filling. Fold in half to make triangles. Pinch edges well to keep filling from escaping (use water around the edges to make it stick, and I always seal them with a fork). Drop in salted water and cook until all pirohy rise to the top of the water. Then cook for 5 minutes longer and strain. When done, pour a small amount of cold water and strain. Place in serving dish and pour over butter that has been melted and slightly browned. Eat while hot, and if desired, add more salt.
- Pirohy may be spread carefully on bread board after draining, to allow them to dry a bit. Then place on serving dish and you will find them less soggy.
- If serving with onions, combine them in the pan with onions over low heat before serving.
It’s okay to crowd pierogies in the pan like this since they are already cooked. You don’t even need to add them to the pan with onions (you can just put the onions on top), but if you do, they will be extra good.
The leftovers will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, and you can warm them up in a pan or the microwave. But if I’m being honest there are never any leftovers in my house. Enjoy!