Considered by many as Poland’s national dish, pierogi exist in many varieties, each suited to a particular taste or occasion; salty as an appetizer or as part of an entrée, and sweet for dessert. Our version is stuffed with onions, sour cream and kraut, and is inspired by the pierogi served as part of the traditional Christmas meal.
2 ½ CUPS (625 ML) Simple Sauerkraut
1 ½ CUPS (375 ML) Chopped onions
3 TBS (45 ML) Lard
¼ CUP (65 ML)Sour cream
½ TSP (2.5 ML) Salt
½ TSP (2.5 ML) Pepper
3 CUPS (750 ML) All-purpose flour
1 TBS (15 ML) Salt
1 Cold large egg
3 TBS (45 ML) Vegetable oil
1 CUP (250 ML) Warm water
Sour cream, bacon and chives, for serving
Wring out the sauerkraut by hand and pulse it for several seconds in a food processor until finely chopped. Set aside.
In a saucepan, sauté the onions in the lard for 3 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, sour cream, pepper, and ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt. Stir. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick and sticky. Remove from heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the flour and 1 tsp (5 ml) salt. Add the egg, oil, and water. Mix until a dough forms.
Flour a clean and clear work surface. Lay down the dough onto the prepared surface. Knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. (Make sure not to over-knead the dough, as this will toughen it.) Using your hands, roll the kneaded dough into a ball and place it in a bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
After the dough has rested, turn it back out onto the floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a ¼-inch (5-millimeter) thick disk. Using a circular pastry cutter or water glass, cut the dough into circles.
Place 2 tbs (30 ml) of stuffing in the center of each circle. Moisten the edge with a little water and fold each circle in half to make a half-moon shape. Set the pierogi aside on a floured surface. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out. Lightly oil a baking sheet or dish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place several pierogi in the water. Cook for 5 or 10 minutes, or until the pierogi are plump and rise to the surface. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the pierogi. Once the pierogi have cooked, gently remove them from the boiling water (preferably using a slotted spoon) and place them on the oiled tray. Cover with a cloth or a sheet of aluminum foil. Repeat until all the pierogi are cooked.
If possible, keep the pierogi hot until serving time. You may also reheat the pierogi over low heat in a pan with butter or oil, or steam them in a steamer basket. Serve with sour cream, bacon and chives.