For holidays or special occasions, Potato, Mushroom and Pea Pierogies, Vegetarian or Vegan, are pure comfort food that makes a filling main course. Serve with caramelized onions, sour cream and a hearty salad.
For the past several Thanksgivings, Rob and I have gone out for dinner. There’s a little restaurant, The Oystercatcher, on the Island that we’re particularly fond of due to their warm, inviting atmosphere and intimate setting. Their food is procured from our local farms, is handled with care, and is creative, allowing the season’s freshest produce to shine.
Although I love to cook, I’ve found that I prefer this to hosting for several reasons. But the main reason is it allows me time to take a break from the multiple-day event of cooking for Thanksgiving and spend extended time with friends and family who have time off from work. Also, to take time for myself.
The holidays seem to be the best time of year for me to break from blogging and social media and to simply unplug.
So instead of cooking during Thanksgiving, and because I’m sharing holiday recipes here, I have a little pre-Thanksgiving celebration, several times, because hello! I love holiday food!!
Last year at Thanksgiving I tried pierogies for the first time. The Oystercatcher accommodates vegetarians, and I’m always excited and intrigued by what they’ll have to offer. Their preparation included mushrooms, potatoes, and kale pierogies pan-fried and finished with a rich, buttery, yet light broth served with caramelized onions. I was blown away and knew I had to learn how to prepare this delightful, traditional Polish recipe.
My research led me to a multitude of ways to prepare these little dumplings: sweet or savory, served simply boiled or boiled then pan-fried, stuffed with or without cheese and/or meat.
The unleavened dough can be made with eggs, buttermilk, or sour cream, in addition to flour and water. Or to keep the dough vegan, simply make the dough with flour, oil, water and salt, which is what I did here to make this recipe flexible for multiple diets.
Making pierogies isn’t difficult. And you don’t have to be a little Polish Grandma to do it! They just take a bit of time and attention to prepare.
Anything worthwhile takes time…
Multitasking is key to preparing this recipe. So while the onions caramelize, I knead the dough. While the dough is resting, I assemble ingredients and make the stuffing. Then, I roll out the dough, cut the little discs and assemble the pierogies. If you have willing helpers, ask them to join you. It makes assembly more fun!
The dumplings can be boiled right away then pan-fried.
The dough, filling and caramelized onions can be made ahead and if you like getting a jump on the holiday game, pierogies can be assembled and frozen. When you’re ready, you don’t even have to thaw them out. Simply boil and pan fry. I’ve included notes in the recipe for meal prep options.
I’ve read pierogies can be enjoyed simply boiled, not pan-fried. Although I’ve not tried this, there’s something particularly satisfying about a crunchy little dumpling with a creamy interior dipped in a bit of sour cream and topped with caramelized onions.
A few other recipes pierogies would be delicious with:
- Winter Jeweled Salad
- Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Maple Roasted Squash
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pear and Thyme
- Maple-Roasted Cardamom-Spiced Carrots and Apples
I’ve seen so many ways to make and cook pierogies. Have you tried pierogies? How do you prepare them? I want to know! Leave a comment below!
Potato, Mushroom and Pea Pierogies, Vegetarian or Vegan
For the Onions:
- 6 C Yellow or Sweet Onions sliced in thin 1/2 moons, about 2 large onions, 615g
- 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea Salt
For the Dough:
For Filling and Pan Frying:
- 1/2 lb Potatoes skins on, diced small (I use yellow fin, but use what you like), 200g
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 3 Tbs Parmesan Cheese Vegan Option: 2 tsp Nutritional Yeast or to taste (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp Fresh Sage chopped (1 tsp if using dried)
- Fresh Ground Pepper to Taste
- 2 Tbs + 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil divided
- 6 oz Cremini Mushrooms destemmed and diced small, 170g
- 2 Cloves of Garlic minced
- 1/4 C Peas frozen or fresh, 40g
- 2 Tbs Butter Vegan Option: 2 Tbs Olive Oil or Vegan Butter
- Sour Cream
- Caramelized Onions
- leaves Fennel fronds scallions or sage for garnish
For the Onions:
- To a large saute' pan, add 2 Tbs of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and a few pinches of sea salt. Turn heat down to low and put a lid on the pan. Cook for 25-30 minutes on low, stirring every 4-5 minutes until they are golden and caramelized. Remove from pan and set aside. Save this pan to pan saute the mushrooms and fry the pierogies later.
Make the Dough:
- In a small bowl mix the flour and sea salt. Make a well in the center and add the olive oil and 4 1/2 Tbs of water. Mix the oil and water using a fork slowly incorporating the flour. As it comes together, start pressing and kneading the dough together. It will be shaggy. Add the last bit of water only if needed (if the dough isn't coming together). Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, set a timer for 8 minutes and knead. The dough will become soft and tacky, not sticky. Form into a ball and cover it with a bowl. Rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. This allows the gluten to relax, making the dough more pliable.
For The Stuffing:
- In a small sauce pot, add the potatoes, and salt. Cover them with at least an inch (2.5cm) of cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, then add them to a medium mixing bowl. Toss in the cheese (or nutritional yeast if using), sage, season with pepper and mash until small chunks are still visible..
- In the same pan as the onions were cooked in, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the mushroom and cook on medium low for 8-10 minutes only stirring every 3 minutes so that they'll sear. The last minute of cooking, add the garlic and saute'. Remove from pan and add to the bowl of potatoes along with the peas. Fold the ingredients together. Taste for seasoning adjustment.
Roll out the Dough and Assemble:
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough as thin as possible, to between 1/8"-1/16" (2-3mm). You want the disks thin but not so they'll tear and thin enough to make at least 16 pieces. Use a cookie cutter, metal Ball jar ring or drinking glass to cut 3-3 1/2" discs making sure to flour the cutter before cutting. Cover discs with a tea towel. Gather scraps, roll into a ball and cover with a tea towel to rest while you assemble the first round of pierogies.
- Scoop about 1Tbs of filling and place in the center of each round of dough. A small cookie scoop makes this job a snap! Brush water on the outer edge of 1/2 of the dough, then gently pull one side of dough over the filling and seal the dough into a 1/2 moon shape by pinching and then crimping the edges with floured tines of a fork. Set aside on a parchment lined pan, cover with a tea towel, while you finish rolling out the dough and assembling the remaining pierogies. Now is a good time to freeze the pierogies, if desired (see note).
Cook the Pierogies:
- In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, add all the pierogies making sure they have plenty of room. If frozen add them slowly as to not reduce the water temperature. Continue boiling until they float, about 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon making sure to strain the water and set on a plate.
- To a large saute pan add 2 Tbs olive oil and 2 Tbs Butter (vegan option: more olive oil or vegan butter) and heat until butter has melted and oil is shimmering. Turn to medium and add the pierogies giving them plenty of room frying in batches. Be careful to not bring the temperature of the pan up so high that the oil starts smoking. Pan fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the pierogies are golden. Set on paper towel to drain. Add the caramelized onion to the hot pan for about 2 minutes, just to rewarm.
- If holding the pierogies for service, preheat oven to 200F (93C) and place on a parchment lined pan to keep the pierogies warm.
- Serve with sour cream (or vegan sour cream), caramelized onions and garnish with herbs.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. Rewarm in a 350F (180C) oven for about 10 minutes.