My mother is a visiting nurse. She spends her days visiting patients in their homes and her evenings filling out piles and piles of paperwork for each of these patients. On some days she might see up to 10 patients, each with their own different ailment and most importantly their own story. My mother, being the caring person that she is, not only attends to their physical problems, but more often than not, their emotional ones too. Unfortunately, these days not many people seem able to spare the time to listen to the problems of others. We’re all caught up in the whirlwind of our lives, so you can imagine how grateful some of these patients are just to have someone listen for a few minutes.
It’s amazing how all around the world, food is often the currency of thanks. No matter how poor or how rich you are, people can always muster up a morsel of nourishment to say thank you. It makes everyone feel happy and often the gesture is more powerful than the actual gift.
As a form of thanks, my mum often comes home with the most random items. A cucumber, a fresh chicken egg, a single lettuce leaf or even a supermarket shopping bag. But she also receives lovely homemade pastries, fresh baked breads, or sometimes beautiful stuffed vegetables. My favorite though, is by far the family recipes.
This pierogi recipe is one of those family recipes passed down through generations. I’m sure it’s been adjusted and adapted over the years, but the heart still remains.
I’ve made these yummy dumplings the traditional way with a cheese and potato filling which are very delicious. What I love is that they’re easily adaptable to a variety of tastes and flavors. I decided to experiment with a little kick of curry flavor and think they’re just as good as the original version, if not slight better! They’re crispy on the outside and lovely and soft on the inside. Lightly sautéed with a bit of onion and they are delicious all on their own. However, if you need a little cooling down, you can try them with a bit of plain yogurt or sour cream.
A few of these lovelies made their way back to the little Polish lady who shared her recipe with us. She was amazed that we took the time to make the recipe which her own family no longer does. She was also shocked that we managed to successfully replicate such a recipe from a foreign place and add our own twist! I think they taste great – let me know what you think!
Curried Potato & Pea Pierogi
Makes about 30 plus extra dough*
- 5 cups plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1 1/2 tsp grapeseed oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 2 cup mashed potatoes (about 1 large potato)
- 1 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
- 1 cup grated cheddar
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the middle. In another bowl, combine the milk, water, sour cream, egg yolks and egg. Pour into the bowl and with a spoon, slowly incorporate the liquid into the flour. Once it has come together, transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and supple. Divide the dough into six pieces and cover. Leave to rest while you make the filling.
Heat the oil in a shallow frying pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and cook until translucent. Add in the peas, potatoes and curry powder. Mix thoroughly until evenly distributed and continue to saute until heated through, about 7-10 minutes. Add in the grated cheddar and stir till melted. Let cool slightly.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough one at a time to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out the dough into 3 inch circles using a cutter or the top of a thin glass. Fill each round with about a tablespoon of filling. Fold the dough over and pinch the edges together using your thumb and index finger until sealed. If the dough is not sticking well, apply a little water around the edges before folding over. Place on a floured baking sheet and cover with a tea towel while working.
Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. Drop in the pierogi in batches and boil for 5-8 minutes or until they float to the top. Remove from the water and drain. At this point you can eat these as is or you can quickly saute them in a frying pan with a bit of oil until crispy on both sides. Either way tastes great!
- *This recipe utilizes about 1/2 of the dough. You can use the rest to experiment with other fillings such as ground meat or the traditional potato & cheese combination. Otherwise, you can freeze the dough for a month or so to use at a later time.
- They freeze really well. Just place the uncooked pierogi on a baking sheet and pop into the freezer for a couple hours. Once frozen, they’ll slip easily into a ziplock back. When you’re ready to eat, just drop into a boiling water and cook a bit longer until cooked through and floating.