sweet potato pierogis


I have some pretty fond memories of pierogis. Definitely didn't grow up in a Polish household (notttt even close), but somehow had them as a staple in our dinners growing up. Frozen, sure, but still delicious. How can you go wrong with cheese and potatoes wrapped in a soft yet crispy dumpling?

Well? As it turns out, yes. Though my craving for pierogis surfaced a few weeks ago, we had a devil of a time finding an option without cheese. Don't misunderstand: I love cheese. Cheese is more or less the food group I deem the most heavenly. There are other cute reasons why cheese will never do. (To understand, go here.)

Anyway, I thought, if I've conquered other recipes of things I formally bought pre-made, why not this? How hard could it be? Plus, it will give me the opportunity to adjust the recipe, to make it my own, to give it a twist.

So, for this slightly adapted version of a pierogi, you will need:

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup vegan margarine, completely softened

For the filling:

1/2 cup mashed white potato
1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
1/2 small onion, caramelized
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to make smooth

Easy enough, no? You want to start by making your dough, which needs to be refrigerated for about thirty minutes to an hour before you can form your pierogis. Combine your flours into a large bowl with your salt. Whisk together. Add your egg and yogurt. The mixture will be a bit crumbly, but that's okay. Add your softened margarine and mix together until it forms a soft dough. It will feel pretty wet, but don't worry. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for the recommended time above. Using some olive oil, caramelize your onion and garlic in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Set aside.

In the meantime, set a medium-size stockpot full of salted water to boil. Once boil, add your potatoes (peeled and cut into large chunks). Allow to cook until soft enough to mash, about 15 minutes. Drain your potatoes and then add your caramelized onions, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin. Mash together. If you find yourself straining to break the chunks down or that you need more liquid, add a dash of olive oil and try again. Continue this way until you've reached your desired consistency. I firmly believe that all mashed vegetables are better when not completely liquified, ie. retaining a few chunks for texture. But you have to do what feels right to you.

Set a large stock pot of water over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Once your dough has chilled, remove plastic and roll out on a lightly floured surface. You'll want the dough to be about 1/8 thick. However, I found this to be a little tough to do all in one shot. If you feel the same, roll it about as thin as you possibly can. Then using your cookie cutter of choice, cut out your pierogi shapes, then flatten each cut-out individually until you achieve the right thickness. So much easier, am I right? Fill each pierogi with approximately 1 teaspoon of potato filling. Which, I know, doesn't seem like enough. It will, however, when you go to seal your dumpling and find it impossible to close. After you center your filling, fold the dough over and pinch closed. You can then use a fork to further seal the deal and add a cute, crimped edge to your pockets. Repeat until all pierogis are filled and sealed.

For any pierogis you don't plan on consuming immediately, now would be the perfect time to place them in a freezer-safe container for a later date, say, when you're ready to make this soup again. For all other finished pierogis (about 10 at a time, but no more), drop them into the boiling water. You'll know that they're ready to come out when they float to the top. Since they're fresh, this will happen relatively quickly, about 2-3 minutes.

Even though they're perfectly ready to eat at this stage, what's a pierogi without a little extra crispness? Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add some vegan margarine to the pan, which will no doubt start sizzling right away. Place your boiled pierogis in the pan and heat on each side for about 2-3 minutes, or until crisp. These are perfect to serve with more yogurt or a little apple sauce. Or just as is. The sweet potato lends a slightly nuttier, sweeter flavor to the pierogis, not to mention a little more color, though this recipe could definitely be completed using just white potatoes.