Once a Classic, Always a Classic

“Have you ever made pierogies before?”

“No, well yeah, er…from scratch? A long time ago…”

pause.

Why?”

“‘Cause I’m gonna make pierogies tonight.”

“Really.”

I’m sure you can guess who my mom is, and who I am in the above dialogue. I mean…I guess the simple response of “really.” could be a good response if it was one filled with excitement, hope, and joy at being made pierogies from scratch.

Except, this wasn’t a really that was filled with excitement, hope, and joy.

This was a “really,” as in – “Yeah, I bet you are, and I bet the horses are going to spread wings and fly, too.”

I mean, I can’t blame my mom for doubting my pierogi-making abilities. I, who cannot make bread in a breadmaker for Pete’s sake (okay, only partially true. it tastes great, it looks…wrong.), am going to be rolling out dough (homemade dough, thank you)Β into 1/16″ sheets, stuffing them with filling (homemade filling, thank you) and then boiling and frying them.

Did somebody say frying?

Yeah, another thing she doesn’t often see.

But everything is do-able if you ask me.

When I read the challenge prompt for Foodbuzz’s Project FoodBlog, I was puzzled at first. What could I do that is unique, a challenge for myself, and something I’ve rarely, if ever, done? And not just a dish, but a cuisine.

Something Polish.

pierogies.

You see, I am sort of a mish-mosh of heritages, but Polish is probably the one that is most celebrated. And by that, I just mean we’d just have pierogies and kielbasa at Easter, Christmas, and…I don’t know when else. Whenever we feel like it, I guess. I’ll probably be shunned that those pierogies have always been from a box – Mrs. T’s to be exact – and I’d never made or had made for me, pierogies from scratch.

Until now.

I am never going back.

When the idea struck last night, I was pretty set on making butternut squash pierogies with some sort of tart yet mapley cranberry sauce.

I even woke up pumped to get it done.

And then I reread the challenge prompt:

…Try to keep the dish as authentic as the real deal…

and thought better of it. Although, I will say I added a “without selling out” tidbit to the end of that sentence.

…and decided to keep it technically traditional, but maybe not as boring traditional as my babcia might make. A classic rock song re-done in 2010 is still a classic, you know.

And hey, they’re vegan and not too bad for you but mom and mom bf approved so you know they’re a winner.

Sweet Potato and Onion Pierogies

for the dough:

  • 1 1/2 c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 T. milled flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 T. + 1/4 c. warm water
  • 1 T. blended silken tofu

for the filling:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, mine was about 3/4s of a pound
  • 1/4 of a large red onion, should yield between 1/2 – 3/4 cup
  • 1/2-1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. blended silken tofu
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • the leaves from 1–2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

for the rosemary sour cream “sauce”:

  • 3/4s of a pack of silken tofu, blended
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 large clove garlic, mashed
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1/4 t. salt (or more)
  • pinch of ground pepper

to make:

First, work on your filling. Puncture your sweet potato with a fork or knife, and microwave (probably around 5 minutes on the potato setting) until soft and baked. While it is baking, finely dice your red onion and rosemary and blend all the tofu you’ll need (for the sauce, dough, and filling).

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and sautee your red onion and rosemary together until the onions are tender. While they are cooking, your potato should be just about ready. Let it cool and then pull the skin off and transfer to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mash it with a potato masher, and season with salt and optional crushed red pepper flakes. Add in the onion when it is ready and the silken tofo. Combine everything well, cover, and set aside.

Next, work on your dough. Combine the flaxseed and 1 1/2 T water in a small dish, stir, and let to sit while you measure out your flour. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, flax egg (that you just made) tofu, and warm water. Start with 1/4 c. and if you need more, add it aΒ tablespoonΒ at a time. I think I added another tablespoon or two total. Your goal is to get a soft dough. When it looks like this…

…you should be good. You won’t be able to stir it together, but knead it a couple times and it will form a nice soft round ball.

Cover it and let it just be a cool dough ball for 30 minutes or so.

While it’s sitting you can either go play with your ponies like I did, or oyu can be productive and make the sauce.

To make the sauce, I am going to assume you have already blended the tofu and taken out what you need. So, heat the oil in a pan and lightly brown your garlic. While it’s browning, to the blender with the tofu, add the lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt and pepper. Blend. Add in the lightly browned garlic and what’s left of the oil, and blend quickly again. Add in the rosemary leaves, and blend until just about smooth. It will turn to a pale green.

To assemble the pierogies, fill a large pot with water and add a pinch of salt and drop of olive oil. The olive oil will keep them from sticking (or so I am told, I haven’t ever tried it otherwise, though.) Place it over medium heat and wait to boil while you start preparing the pierogies.

Separate your dough into two balls, and then divide those into two. Roll it (the individual balls) out so it’s very thin – about 1/16th of an inch. Using a large glass, cut out circles. Drop between 1/2-1 T. of filling, and fold them over. Seal them wither with your fingers by pinching, or pressing with a fork, or “braiding.” I liked the fork or braiding method best! Continue this until all the dough is gone, re-using the “excess” from each roll-out. You’ll get into a rhythm once you start boiling them – say, drop some in, by the time you’ve made another set, they’re done, switch, so on and so on.

Drop them into the boiling water, and leave in until they start to float. Note that some will float right off the bat – for some reason, the fork-pressed ones floated, and the braided ones didn’t float until they were done? Either way – if they float let them boil for about 5 minutes anyway. When they’re done, remove with a strainer and let cool on a plate.

At this point, you can either freeze them, fridge them, or fry them. If you’re eating them right away, move on to frying them:

heat 2-3 T. olive oil in a pan, and add in some chopped onion and then some pierogies. You don’t want to crowd the pan. Fry until they get a nice golden crust, and then remove and drain on a paper towel.

Serve with the sauce!

Better than Mrs. T’s, if you ask me!

My mom agreed. What we didn’t finish is in the freezer to be consumed at the next holiday!

The dough recipes I found all pretty much seemed to be some sort of variation, so I mixed and matched, as I did with the filling. The sour cream is an adaptation of a Cilantro Sour Cream sauce from Veganomicon.

You could, apparently, also serve them just boiled or baked, but I think this is definitely one thing you want to pan-fry to get a nice crispy-yet-chewy golden crust.

…you know, golden like Teddie!

Does your heritage have a big impact on what you eat? I guess it’s sort of funny how proud of the fact that I have Polish blood I am…because I’m really not that Polish – just enough, I guess! haha

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39 Comments

Filed under cooking, dinner, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe

39 responses to “Once a Classic, Always a Classic

  1. You are a GENIUS! I like pierogies (I’ve only ever had those “Mrs. T’s” kind) but I know I would LOVE these. The sweet potato filling must be so delicious!
    Cuuute Teddie photo at the end πŸ™‚

  2. Those are beautiful! Great job! I hold on to my Greek heritage pretty hard. I LOVE Greek cuisine and I feel pretty pulled that way for the most part. I am with you though…I am something like 1/16th Greek, so it is a stretch. The other side is French and I have to say I love that too!

  3. Wow Jess! I am honestly blown away πŸ™‚ Those look fantastic! I’ve made real pierogies from scratch once, and they are totally different from the frozen premade ones πŸ˜› I’m have a German background, and it heavily influences the way I eat. I grew up on summer sausage and rouladden (sp?) as a kid. I don’t really eat that much meat anymore, but I still eat dark german rye bread almost every day πŸ˜‰

    Seriously though, I don’t think you could have done a better entry for your second challenge! Congrats and good luck!
    ❀ Tat

  4. I haven’t had pierogies in ages, but they were one of my favourite foods back in high school. These ones look amazing! I love that you used sweet potato. πŸ˜€

    My ancestry is 3/4 British and 1/4 German. My dad always used to make roast beef dinners with yorkshire pudding when I was younger, which I think is British. And he also made a lot of schnitzel, which is German. He hasn’t made either of those meals in a while though since my sister and I no longer eat those meats, haha.

  5. Mo

    Jess, these look amazing and so creative! I’ve never had pierogies before… reallly need to get working on that. πŸ˜›

    I’m over 1/4 German (a full 1/4 from my mom’s side, and there’s a bit of German on my dad’s side too). I look pretty German (so I’m told, anyway haha) but I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate German food. I just… eugh. Liverwurst on vollkornbrot? Yeah, no thanks. πŸ˜‰ I am a fan of bratwurst, pretzels and spΓ€tzle, at least. πŸ˜›

  6. My family is mostly swedish ~ lots of meat and cheese on rye bread. I just like the rye bread! Those pierogies look amazing and not too tough to make!

  7. teenagehealthfreak

    wow…congrats girl..that’s awesome. couldn’t have done that. would’ve been WAAAY to impatient for something like that. they look amazing. we eat sausage + saukraut…which is my german side of me…as for the czech side..kolaches…well i don’t eat them anymore…they were healthy things (once upon a time..when my g-ma would home make them..now she can’t make them..so we buy them..and ew..so not the same.) but it’s basically a bread filled with some sort of fruit (pear, cherry, poppyseed was my fave, or even creamcheese)..anywho..yeah. we sorta stopped that tradition and eat sausage (deer) and bavarian saukraut..mmm!! love it. (we eat it once a week ususally..with sweet potatoes too of course)

  8. I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a pierogie and I’m almost 100% positive they were never homemade. Fantastic job on the challenge! Maybe the next time I get to go home I can give these a whirl as they were something I probably stopped eating due to the high white-flour, fat, lack of vegetable, etc. content.

    And unfortunately I really don’t know much about my heritage. I’m told Irish and Norweigan but being adopted I’m not really sure at all. I did go through a period around 9th grade where I would eat potatoes like crazy – microwaving and eating them like apples – so I could understand how I might be Irish… πŸ˜›

  9. Jess – you’ve outdone yourself this time!!!! You truly are so creative and inspiring!!! You never seem afraid to try anything and you always succeed!!!
    I’ve actually never had a pierogie before!!! I come from an Italian and Irish background – family time always centered around dinner time together and we ate a lot of fresh veggies, pasta and tomatoes. Mediterranean cuisine is my favorite!! I love how it uses all fresh ingredients.
    Hope you have a great Sunday!!!

  10. Nikki

    I don’t have a food blog myself but I have about 20 food blogs I read on a daily basis. I just found yours today after looking at remaining contestants. I am very impressed with your pierogies. My boyfriend eats them all the time as does my grandma. We always get the store kind. You inspired me!

  11. Pierogies! My partner is from a Polish family, and the first time I made them was at his parent’s place: I had a Polish grandmother leaning over me the entire time!
    I just posted my Classics entry too – I’m excited to see what everyone comes up with!

  12. Holy cow! The thought of a sweet potato perogi blows my mind!!

  13. I come from a french background (cajun, to be exact) and I grew up eating some delicious cajun dishes that I still eat and love. And of course, I have an affinity for french bread! You did a wonderful job on your perogis…they look delicious. I have a sweet potato on my counter and these might just have to get made tomorrow afternoon. They would be perfect to take to school!

  14. Wow! Double wow! Those looks so yum! πŸ™‚ Love it how all the comments are about food ancestry! What can I say…in school I once made a project about traditional Danish “cuisine” (-haha! Not the term you wanna use…) with samples and it was very close to making the whole class barf, except the pancakes, hahaha…:-)

  15. I would love to try this, looks amazing.
    Well, I don’t really care that much for our national cousine, it’s a bit to oily for me πŸ˜€
    But I do like some of the traditional meals, specially the ones influenced by our austrian neighbors πŸ™‚

  16. Ohmygosh, those things are so cute!! I love loooove the sound of the filling. You are very talented! Ever thought of becoming a chef? You could use the $10k Food Buzz prize you 100% deserve to win to open up that cafe/photography place πŸ˜€
    My heritage doesn’t influence my tastes in the least! I’m part German, Dutch, Scottish, Danish, Swedish….I’d have a hard time including it all πŸ˜›

  17. Oh! I forgot to add Italian to that list πŸ˜›

  18. Oh my God. I love pierogies with a passion but have only ever had the frozen kind before… but your recipe looks delicious and I’m definitely going to try it the next time I had time!

    I am a mish mash of a bunch of cultures: British, German, Danish, Swiss, Irish, Basque. So like most Americans without a really prevalent heritage/traditional dishes, I steal food from other cultures. πŸ™‚

  19. jess – this is the most awesome entry i’ve seen so far for the 2nd round of project food blog!!! oh man, this is so creative and it looks really delicious! i love how you added your own twist to the classic pierogie by incorporating sweet poatoes and tofu! i really like this round in general because i’m studying abroad in italy right now and it’s so cool seeing all this delving into other cultures!

    my dad is a huge fan of pierogies and used to always buy the potato/onion/leek pierogies from the farmers market. i bet he will love these too. this is seriously so creative and such a beautiful entry too!!

  20. I’m always looking at the ingredients lists of pierogies in grocery stores, and then promptly I put them back on the shelves – too many chemicals! These looks great, though – only pure ingredients!

  21. Those look great! My heritage does play a big part in what my family eats when we all get together… especially on the Swedish side, my relatives (some of whom have spent time in Sweden) make a lot of traditional food for us. It’s actually quite fun. And the Irish side likes its potatoes and whiskey (haaa).
    But my own eating habits veer quite a bit from the family traditions – for instance, neither side really understands how I can go without meat, or prefer a sweet potato to a white one. Good times! πŸ™‚

  22. Congrats for nailing the pierogies!! That looked like one tough challenge! I’ve never had them before, but if I were to, I would definitely love to try your recipe.

    I’m half italian, half french canadian and I must say that without even trying, most of my food preferences come from this heritage.

    Once I read somewhere that our bodies do best when we eat according to our heritage. I find this really true!!

  23. These look amazingggg!!! My mom’s side of the family is Hungarian, so we always have pierogies at reunions. This meatless version looks so much better though!

    With the exception of my 1/4 Hungarian blood, the rest of my heritage is pretty bland. Dutch, German, Welsh, Scottish. Not too much good food going on there!!

  24. This is amazing!! I’ve never even heard of anyone making perogies from scratch (funny because someone must have made those ones that come frozen but I never paid any attention to that). I looove, love this recipe. And I love that it’s vegan too. I bring perogies every year to a Christmas potluck – I know exactly what kind I’m going to be bringing this year! Thank you! πŸ˜€

  25. Those perogies were an awesome idea! You are definetely gonna have to do the butternut squash and cranberry ones, too!

    Great Job on this challenge!

    ~Missy

  26. That is awesome that u made homemade perogies!
    I’m totally going to borrow this recipe and make sum of my own πŸ™‚ they look spectacular… I wish we had smell a blog haha so I smell ur delicious dish ( a little geeky I know)
    Hope u have a fun Sunday!

  27. my polish friend’s mom make AMAZING PEROGIES!!!!! these looks so much better tho! this is so lovely, mmm potato and chive perogies are so yummy, even cottage cheese, or dill or anything really lol. i didnt make it to the second challenge which i realize is because i didnt link to their site and remind people to vote, which sucks!! u definitely deserved to make it to the next round, and farther!!! xoxo

  28. Looks like they turned out great, Yum!

  29. Ohh those look sooo good! I love how daring you are in the kitchen..you’re up for making anything! And even though you had no experience at making them before, they still turned out fabulously. Yum!!

  30. izzy

    Polish Pridee! (name that Jennifer Aniston movie ;P) I wish I could say I have memories of my Polish grandmother slaving away in the kitchen making pierogi…alas, my memories are all of the store bought, frozen ones. Still good, though! I’m totally intimidated by your pierogi skillage demonstrated here, but slightly tempted to try!

    They look amazing!!
    izzyy
    xoxx

  31. So yummy! Nice work on your post. You got my vote.

  32. Love, love, LOVE this post!!! I had so much fun with my challenge too πŸ™‚

    I hope you make it to the next round! I did my part to help, in voting for ya πŸ™‚ Good luck!

  33. Pingback: A Few of my Favorite Things « Healthy Exposures

  34. Lauren

    Can you provide printable versions of your recipes? This looks excellent by the way – I may buckle down and try it this weekend.

  35. I love the recipe. Pierogi are in my list of thing to make and when I do I will come back here and look at your dough. Great job on the challenge. You’ve got my vote.

  36. Pingback: Don’t Mess with a Good Thing « Healthy Exposures

  37. Your pierogies look absolutely delicious! Love the filing! Good luck in this round!

  38. I love pierogis, I’m Polish so I better love them πŸ™‚ I’ve never had ones with sweet potatoes though, I guess it’s like a healthier version of potato and cheese pierogis. My favorite ones are with dried wild mushrooms and sauerkraut and I promised to make pierogis this Christmas when I’ll be visiting my family in Poland for Christmas.

  39. You did a super job! I remember when I first started blogging, my mom was so skeptical. It took a while but now she’s a firm believer! πŸ˜€

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