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Cheddar Cheese and Potato Pierogi

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of JosephDeLeo.cookstr.com

The combination of potato and cheddar has been a popular pierogi filling for generations, especially in the great lakes region. Extra-sharp Cheddar is the type used here, but any other type, except mild, will work just as well. Like other time-honored pierogi recipes, this one includes caramelized onion in the filling. These dumplings are made using the Half-moon fold (see Notes).

Half-Moon Fold:

There is no quicker or easier fold than the Half-Moon Fold, which is essentially a dough round folded in half over a mound of filling (or a dough square folded in half into a triangle). It’s a great go-to fold for most filled dumplings if a traditional fold is too involved or time consuming.

1. Center the filling on top of the dough round.

2. Fold the round neatly in half, pushing out any air.

3. Pinch to seal. Dab a little water along the edges, if needed, for a better seal.

Freezing Dumplings: If you need to freeze extra dumplings, or want to make large batches and freeze them for later, there are a few things to consider. Almost all filled and folded dumplings can be frozen before cooking. They should be frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet or tray lined with parchment paper. If there is a second layer, separate the layers with another piece of parchment paper. Do not stack more than two layers of dumplings on one tray. Only after the dumplings have frozen solid should they be placed in bags or boxes, sealed tightly, and stored for up to 3 months. Fresh corn tamales, some wrapped rice dumplings, and steamed buns freeze well after cooking. Again, space them apart on a tray, let them freeze, then store in tightly sealed bags or boxes for up to 3 months.

Serves4 to 8 (makes about 40 dumplings)

Cooking Methodsauteeing

CostInexpensive

Moderate

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseappetizer, side dish

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturebuttery, cheesy, chewy, savory, sharp

Ingredients

  • 2 medium baking potatoes, such as russet
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or bacon fat
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
  • ¼ pound extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated coarse (about 1 heaping cup)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using bacon fat)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus some extra for dusting
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted just before serving
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2½-inch round cookie cutter
  • Large, wide bowl to hold the dumplings cooked in batches

Instructions

Make the Dough: Place 1¾ cups of the flour in a large bowl and keep the remaining ¼ cup handy. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, 3 tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons melted butter, warm water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the egg mixture to the flour and mix until all the liquid has been absorbed. Work the dough with your hands into one manageable ball. If the dough is wet and sticky, work in some of the remaining flour, a little at a time, until it no longer sticks to your fingers.

Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. The dough will be some-what firm and smooth. Return the dough ball to the bowl, cover, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2 hours.

Make the Filling: Place the potatoes in a small pot, pour in enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place them on a folded kitchen towel. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel off their skins, place the flesh in a large bowl, and mash until mostly smooth.

Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and stir frequently until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Mix the onion into the mashed potatoes and set aside to cool.

Add the Cheddar cheese, egg yolk, salt, and pepper to the cooled potato mixture and mix well.

Assemble the dumplings: Before assembling the pierogi, review the Half-moon fold.

Line a tray with a kitchen towel and sprinkle with a little flour. Have ready the dough and the filling.

Knead the dough once or twice on a floured surface, divide it into 4 equal pieces, then set 3 of them aside under a kitchen towel. Shape the remaining piece into a ball and roll it out until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle with flour if it gets sticky.

Using the cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can, usually 8 to 10. Collect all scraps from around the rounds and put them aside under a damp kitchen towel for later use.

. Lay flat 1 to 5 dough rounds. Brush each round with a very thin coating of water to make it sticky enough to seal. Center a rounded teaspoon of filling on top of each round, fold each neatly in half, pushing out any air, and pinch to seal. Dab a little water along the edges, if needed, for a better seal. Place the assembled dumplings in a single layer on the prepared tray and keep them covered with a kitchen towel while you work. Once you have assembled the first batch of dumplings, continue with the remaining dough and filling. Combine all the dough scraps, knead them into a ball, roll it out, cut out as many rounds as you can, and fill and fold those too.

. Cover the tray of assembled dumplings and place in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes before cooking. Chilling them helps to set the dough, making the dumplings firm and toothsome when cooked instead of puffy and soft. Set aside the number of dumplings that you would like to cook and keep the rest frozen for up to 6 months (see page 36).

. Cook the dumplings: Fill a large pot halfway with salted water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium for a steady simmer.

. Gently drop up to 20 dumplings, a few at a time, into the simmering water. Stir gently to prevent sticking. Cook until all of them are floating, about 3 minutes, then cook for 2 minutes longer. (If cooking frozen pierogi, add them directly to the simmering water and increase the cooking time by 1 minute. Do not allow the pierogi to thaw before cooking.)

. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon, place them in the large bowl, and drizzle with a ladle of the cooking liquid to prevent sticking. Cook the remaining dumplings and place them in the bowl with another ladle of the cooking liquid.

. Drain the pierogi and place them in a large, shallow serving bowl. Drizzle the dumplings with melted butter, spoon sour cream over the top, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

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