Being born and raised in close proximity to Pittsburgh, peirogies are a big deal. For anyone that is unfamiliar, peirogies are a type of dumpling that may contain a variety of fillings. The variety that is familiar to me is filled with a mashed potato base, which can then include cheese, garlic, spinach, etc. As of late, the issue with making peirogies, which are one of my favorite foods, is that they are pretty unhealthy. The dough is made with a large dollop of sour cream, and the finished product is generally boiled, and then sauteed in butter and onions. So, I decided to try and make a healthier alternative and see how things went. To make the dough, I used plain yogurt in place of the sour cream.
2 C. Flour
½ tsp. Salt
½ C. Plain Yogurt
¼ C. Butter, softened
Combine the flour and salt, beat the egg and combine with the flour mixture. Add the yogurt and butter and work the dough until it is no longer sticky. Wrap the dough, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2-3 White Potatoes, depending on size
1/4 C. Milk
1 Tbl. Garlic, Minced
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
1 C. Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
2 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 Onion, Diced
Peel, chop and boil the potatoes for 10 minutes over medium-high heat. Drain the potatoes, then add milk and mash thoroughly. In a small pan, sautee onion and garlic in olive oil. Add sauteed onion and garlic to the potatoes, as well as the cheddar cheese and mix thoroughly. Allow mixture to cool before peirogi construction.
Now that everything is prepared, it’s time to craft the peirogies. Flour a surface and roll the dough out to 1/4″ to 1/8″. Use something round to cut out circles from the dough (I personally used a drinking glass… however, for those that make these regularly, invest in a peirogi press), and place to the side; re-roll and cut until there is no more usable dough. Put a small ball of filling in the middle of the dough circle, fold over and crimp the edges with a fork. Congratulations! You’ve made a peirogi; now repeat this until all of the dough has been used.
Normally, the finished peirogies are then boiled, and then sauteed in butter and onions. Another alteration I made was to sautee my peirogies in olive oil and onions instead of butter. Note that these ideas are culinary blasphemy to the peirogi traditionalist, but in the end had no noticeable difference on the finished product. One note: the plain yogurt does give the dough a slightly sour smell when making the peirogies, but has no effect in the end.
These peirogies definitely require some work, but the result is a heartier and MUCH tastier product than the supermarket can deliver, at a very reasonable price per serving; while these are not the most healthy food choice in the big scheme of things, the alterations make these peirogies less of a guilty pleasure and more of an occasional treat. Try the recipe out for yourself and let me know what you think 🙂