I’m convinced that my love for potatoes has been passed down from generation to generation. From the German heritage coursing through my veins on my dad’s side and the fiery Irish blood from my mom’s side, I was destined to love this very simple food. As a teenager I remember thinking there was nothing better than a thick slice of bread, a healthy chunk of cheese and potato in some form. I apparently have passed along this desire for potatoes to my children because my daughter Kathryn’s nickname among some of her friends is “potato”. I don’t think she has met a potato she didn’t like, and who could fault her for that? I agree 100% with her.
One night while watching a cooking show on television, I saw something I had never seen before. A pierogi grilled cheese sandwich. My interest was immediately peaked as all of my favorite things were being combined into one mouth watering bite of deliciousness. Bread, CHECK, cheese, CHECK, potato pierogi, DOUBLE CHECK. At the same time, I was sad to say that I had never had a pierogi. What was this and why had I never had it before? Here is what I discovered.
Hailing from Central and Eastern Europe, pierogi (this is the plural form) is made by taking discs of unleavened dough, filling it with a savory or sweet fillings, folding in half to create a semicircle dumpling which you then cook by boiling in water. Most pierogi are then pan fried in a little butter and topped with either herbs or fruit sauces for the sweet pierogi. There are multiple legends as to where exactly the pierogi came from. Some say they came from China, by way of Italy and the famous expeditions of Marco Polo. Others claim they made their way from Ukraine to Poland during a famine in the 13th century. But most scholars agree that this simple potato dumpling first made its American debut during the Great Depression of the 1920’s.
And thus began my experiments to create my own pierogi using my trusted Ankarsrum. As I watched countless videos on making pierogi, it dawned on me that the Lasagna Roller would be the perfect attachment to create the sheets of dough for cutting into discs and then fill with my potato filling. This would ensure that my sheets of dough would be nice and thin, resulting in super light pierogi. I couldn’t be happier with the results. I also answered a common question we get regarding the Ankarsrum. Can the Ankarsrum mix up a small amount of dough? Why yes it can! Another question raised and answered was, can you make mashed potatoes in the plastic beater bowl? And the answer to this question is also yes.
Below you will find a simple recipe for Potato Pierogi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce. However, I also decided to take this carb coma one step further and recreated the Pierogi Grilled Cheese which started me on this potato journey. Remember our Dark Rye and Oat Bread from last month? I took that recipe and baked it in one of my favorite large loaf pans: the Hearth Bread Pan by USA Pan. This loaf pan made the perfect shaped loaf for grilled sandwiches. Two buttered slices, a thick slice of cheddar cheese and two cooked pierogi, grilled to perfection and this becomes a carb lovers dream.
I will admit making homemade pierogi can be a tedious and a somewhat time consuming task but it is also a great way to get the family involved. One of my kids enjoyed sealing up these little pockets of potato filled goodness and it made the job go by much faster.
Here are a few tips I discovered along the way and hopefully by reading these first, it will make this recipe easier:
We hope you enjoy this recipe and we would love to hear from you if you give it a try or if you try any other fillings or toppings. Enjoy!
Potato Pierogi with Brown Butter Sauce
Yield: About 24 Pierogi
Prep and Cook Time: About 1 – 1 1/2 hours
4 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
Place chopped potatoes into a small pot and cover with water. Over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft and cooked through. Once cooked, be sure to drain off all water, this will ensure that the filling is not too wet. I prefer to pour the potatoes into a colander and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes and allow them to dry out slightly.
While potatoes are boiling, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Saute onions until they are soft and slightly golden brown.
Position the plastic double beater bowl onto the Ankarsrum base and attach the single-wire beaters. Place potatoes into the bowl, turn the machine on the lowest speed and mix just until combined. Remove 1/4 cup of mashed potatoes to use in the pierogi dough recipe.
Add the onions, cheese and salt. Turn machine on low and mix until smooth. Be careful not to overmix. Over processing mashed potatoes can cause them to become gummy.
Remove beater bowl from Ankarsrum base and set aside.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (whole wheat flour or freshly ground whole wheat flour may also be used in the same amount)
1/3 cup milk, warm
1/4 cup potato, mashed (taken from the cooked potatoes for filling)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
With the stainless steel bowl positioned on the Ankarsrum base, attach roller and scraper making sure the roller is resting up against the rim of the bowl. Place all ingredients into the bowl, turn machine on the lowest speed, adjust the roller to about 1/2 inch from the side of the bowl and tighten in place. Turn speed to a medium-low (about 3 o’clock on the speed knob) and set timer for 4 minutes.
Dough should be slightly sticky but very soft, about the softness of play dough. When machine shuts off, place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
While dough rests, scoop potato filling into 24 individual balls. I find that a small cookie scoop is perfect for this. Place scoops on a baking sheet lined with either wax paper or a silicone mat. These may sit at room temperature while you wait for dough to rest.
Once dough is ready, place on a floured surface and divide into 4 equal portions and roll into balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and prepare to run through the Lasagna Roller.
Attach the Lasagna Roller onto the Ankarsrum base by turning the mixer base on its side. For a refresher on using this attachment, click HERE.
Beginning on the thickest setting, run the first disc through the Lasagna Roller. Fold the sheet into thirds, dust with flour and run through roller again. Repeat the folding, dusting with flour and rolling two more times. Turn thickness setting knob down by one setting and run sheet through. Continue running sheet through on each thickness setting until you reach #3. Repeat with each disc of dough.
Lay all 4 sheets of dough on a floured surface. Using a large cookie cutter or large mouth jar, cut 5 discs out of each sheet of dough. Take excess dough and put together to form one last ball of dough. Repeat rolling directions to make one last sheet of dough, cutting out 4-5 more discs.
Place each ball of filling onto the middle of each dough disc. To seal each pierogi, pick up disc with filling in the center. Fold like a taco, pulling the edges of the disc up and around the filling and pinching the top edge together. I like to start from the middle and work my way to the left corner. Then go to the right corner and seal, moving towards the middle. Repeat until all discs are filled and sealed.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Place 6-8 pierogi into the water and gently stir. Cook for about 2 minutes or until pierogi float. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack to drain off excess water. Continue cooking in batches until all pierogi are done.
FREEZING OPTION: If you wish to freeze, do so here. Place cooked pierogi on a wax paper lined baking sheet and freeze completely before placing in a freezer quality bag. To cook from freezer, place frozen pierogi into boiling water and cook 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, continue with pan frying directions below. May freeze up to 2 months.
Pan Frying Directions:
Place one stick of butter into a large sauce pan along with desired herbs or seasoning. Pan fry until slightly crispy and golden brown. Place in dish and pour over remaining pan sauce. Salt and pepper to taste and top with optional sour cream.
Cooks Notes: For this recipe I chose shallots, garlic and fresh sage for my brown butter sauce. For sweet filled pierogi, brown sugar, cinnamon and/or chopped nuts would be excellent sauce additives.