My heritage is Ukrainian on both sides. My parents grew up in a Canadian town with lots of other Ukrainian families. They even attended a Ukrainian Orthodox church where the services were entirely in Ukrainian. My parents knew some words, but no where near enough to understand an entire service.
Anyway, my siblings and I were raised on traditional Ukrainian foods like borscht, kalach, babka, holupchi, blintzes, kutia, and of course pierogi.
By far our favorite dish, we would set aside a Saturday and form an assembly line. Pierogi are time consuming, but with everyone working we could knock out a few dozen quite easily. And since they store in the freezer so well, we would make enough to get us through most of the year.
Pierogi is derived from a Polish word meaning filled dumpling, and that’s a perfect description. These dumplings are made using unleavened dough (dough made without yeast) and stuffed with endless fillings, which is really best part. They can be made so many different styles — savory: filled with meat or potatoes, sweet: filled with fresh fruit and dusted with powdered sugar, boiled, pan-fried, even deep-fried! In fact, traditionally each holiday had its own designated filling.
Our go-to favorite: Boiled potato and onion-filled pierogi topped with sauerkraut and vegan sour cream. Then pan-fried the second day.
When my mom and youngest brother went off gluten and dairy in 2001, we had to make new recipes. All I can say is thank goodness for the wider availability in gluten and dairy free products now. It makes everything so much easier than those first couple years.
Just remember gluten-free dough has less elasticity than standard dough so make sure you fold each pierogi carefully to avoid ripping the shell.
Happy pierogi making!
GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE PIEROGI
- 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and quarter
- 1 1/2 onions, chopped
- 3/4 cup of alternative milk (I use Soy)
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (optional)
- 4 tbsp vegan butter substitute, divided
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups gluten free flour, plus some
- 1 egg
- 1 cup warm potato water
- 1/2 tsp salt Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh dill, chopped for garnish
- Sauerkraut and dairy-free sour cream for topping
- To start the filling, boil the potatoes until tender. Drain into a bowl and set aside the water for later.
- In the meantime, add onion and 2 tbsp butter to a skillet over medium heat and sauté until translucent.
- Transfer the boiled potatoes to a stand mixing bowl, combine with cheese (optional), alternative milk, onions, and remaining 2 tbsp vegan butter substitute. Mix on medium until blended. Salt and pepper to taste. Move mashed potatoes to large bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- To make the dough, combine flour, egg and 1/2 tsp of salt in stand mixer with paddle attachment. On medium low speed, slowly add in the potato water until the dough forms into a bowl.
- While dough is mixing, line a baking sheet with towel and lightly sprinkle with flour. Have a second towel ready as well.
- Lightly flour a surface and your hands. Begin kneading. If the dough feels wet, a little too moist or too soft, add in a little extra flour.
- Divide the dough in half. Roll out the first half to 1/8 inch thickness.
- Use a pierogi cutter, biscuit cutter, or floured rim of glass to cut circles.
- Place scoop of potato filling into the center of each circle.
- Moisten a finger in a small container of water and run it along the edge of half the circle. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal. Make sure the edges are completely sealed or pierogi will break when boiling.
- Place the pierogi in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and cover with the second towel to prevent the pierogi from drying out.
- Repeat steps 9-11, re-rolling out dough until either or both the dough or potatoes have run out.
- In a large pot, bring salted water to boil.
- Carefully add pierogi to boiling water in batches of 6-10 depending on pot size. Boil each batch 8-10 minutes or until pierogi rise to the surface of the water when they are finished cooking.
- When finished, remove from water with straining spoon and transfer to a folded towel. Then gently pat the batch dry and place in serving dish. Cover to retain heat. I usually can get 2-3 batches of pierogi cooked before starting with fresh salted water. Repeat until all pierogi have been boiled.
- Sprinkle with dill and serve with sauerkraut and dairy-free sour cream.
Note: I usually at least double the recipe (if not triple) in order to make a ton for the freezer!