Pot Cheese & Potato Cheese Pierogies for Christmas Eve and #SundaySupper Home for the Holidays

Sooo excited for #SundaySupper this week because we are celebrating family, heritage, and traditions.  That is exactly what Christmas Eve is all about for me and my family.  And a big part of that heritage and tradition is pierogies!!!

Potato Cheese and Pot Cheese (aka Farmer's Cheese) Pierogies | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #polishfood #homemade

My family is mainly Polish and Ukranian, and we are Byzantine Catholic.  I mentioned this once a long time ago, but basically it is exactly like the Roman Catholic Church, which is what most people refer to when they say “Catholic”, in beliefs, but some of the rituals and traditions are different.  One unique tradition is that Christmas Eve was originally a day where meat and dairy were not eaten (yes, I know, vegan.  But this was in the days before “vegan” was a word, and before there were tons of vegan recipes out there in typical American culture).  Now, we do eat dairy, but still no meat.  And my family has never been big on many kinds of seafood, so anything resembling the Feast of the Seven Fishes wasn’t happening.  Though we have lost some of the very traditional dishes, our menu evolved from this traditional practice.

It is always interesting the first year a new person joins us when the dishes start rolling out.  We start with shrimp cocktail while everyone is gathering and chatting.  Then we sit down for a mushroom and brown rice soup, flavored with vinegar.  This turns out either really delicious or really awful.  Someday my mom and I will have to write down what we do to start to ensure some consistency, because when it is good, it is soooo good.

Dinner really revolves around the pierogies.  Sure, we have some mashed potatoes with red gravy (this is the weirdest stuff ever – basically tomato sauce thickened with zaproshka – aka Ukranian roux.  I am not a fan), corn pudding, green beans & mushrooms, and fried shrimp and flounder (yeah, we buy those.  We are not huge seafood people, nor are we a people that really knows what to do with a deep fryer).  But really, you could take it all away and just leave us with the pierogies, and we would be happy campers.

Potato Cheese and Pot Cheese (aka Farmer's Cheese) Pierogies | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #polishfood #homemade

As I told you yesterday, dessert is simply cookies.  Because, you know, we clearly haven’t yet consumed enough carbs.

Some “outsiders” like it.  My aunt from Costa Rica has actually grown to really enjoy our Christmas Eve dinner.  Or she has been faking it really well for the last 25 years.  Some aren’t sure what to think.  The pierogies, though, are always a hit.  We have two of the most traditional varieties.  Potato cheese is simply a mixture of boiled potatoes mashed with cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.  Pot cheese is just a farmers cheese, similar to a dry ricotta or cottage cheese.  You should be able to find it in most grocery stores.  This is my family’s favorite.  The dough is similar to a pasta dough, but with sour cream in it.  This makes it super tender.

The best way to cook up pierogies is in a pan with some butter (and onions, if you like), or, if you have to serve a lot, just put them in a baking pan with butter, and throw them in the oven.  We like to serve them with sour cream, and, on Christmas Eve, the aforementioned red gravy.  Some people say you can deep fry pierogies.  OK, fine, if you are using those chewy, frozen ones from the grocery store.  But to do that to a delicate, homemade pierogi is akin to a crime in my family.  When the dough is kneaded well and rolled very thin, and the pierogies are gently heated through in a lovely pool of butter, you should be able to cut them with a fork.  And truthfully, I think if you threw them in hot oil, the dough might be so thin that they would explode, they are that delicate.  Why, oh why would you ever destroy this perfect texture by turning it into a hard, crunchy “chip”?  Honestly, I would be offended if you did that to my pierogies.

Potato Cheese and Pot Cheese (aka Farmer's Cheese) Pierogies | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #polishfood #homemade

My grandma always used to order them from a local church, where the old Polish ladies used to crank out dozens upon dozens in no time.  Then one year, she forgot to order the pot cheese!!  We searched high and low for somewhere to get pot cheese pirogues.  Even most of the little Polish delis and shops you can find tend to make the sweeter variety of pot cheese pierogies, whereas we like the savory ones.  So, The Hubby and I scoured the web for just the right recipe, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work.

And we haven’t looked back since – making them when I was pregnant, when we had a 9 month old, when our kitchen was half torn apart and our counters were pieces of plywood covered in plastic tablecloths. We have persevered!  And that first year, well, they were probably closer to the grocery store frozen variety.  But with some practice, confidence, and, well, a little help from the KitchenAid pasta roller attachment (which I highly recommend, though a rolling pin or any pasta roller will do), we have gotten pretty good.  We can now roll the dough super thin, and pack in the fillings without fearing a major explosion of potatoes and cheese during the boiling process.  I wish my grandma were still here to see how far we have come.

Even this batch, which I slightly overcooked, still cut with a fork.

Potato Cheese and Pot Cheese (aka Farmer's Cheese) Pierogies | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #polishfood #homemade

These are a fair amount of work, but sooooo worth it!  And clearly, The Bug totally approved.  He is gonna be a good little Polish boy.

This week’s Sunday Supper Event is hosted by Beate from Galactopdx.  Check out the links below to learn more about our families, heritage and traditions.

What does it mean for you to be Home for the Holidays?  Please join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper on December 23rd.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our #SundaySupper to talk about our Holiday Traditions.  We are so excited to have you join us.  All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.  Please feel free to share with us and our followers your favorite Holiday recipe on our #SundaySupperPinterest Board.
Potato Cheese and Pot Cheese (aka Farmer's Cheese) Pierogies | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #polishfood #homemade

What are your holiday food traditions?  Anything unusual?

Pot Cheese & Potato Cheese Pierogies
 
The classic Polish dish of tender pasta-like pockets filled with potatoes and cheddar cheese or a farmers cheese.
Author:
Recipe type: Main dish, Side dish, Christmas
Ingredients
For the potato cheese filling (makes enough for about 4 dozen):
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper
For the pot cheese filling (makes enough for about 3 dozen):
  • About 1 lb farmers cheese (I use two 7.5 oz. packages)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ t salt
For the dough (makes about 4 dozen):
  • 4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c sour cream
  • About ½ c warm water (may need more or less)
Instructions
For the potato cheese filling:
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks.
  2. Place in a pot of cold water, and bring to a boil.
  3. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender.
  4. Drain the water off, return the potatoes to the post, and add the cheese, salt and pepper.
  5. Cover the pot for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
  6. Using a potato mashed and spatula, mash and stir the potatoes to incorporate the cheese. It's fine if there are still a few lumps.
  7. Place potato mixture in the refrigerator until cooled completely, and ready to use.
For the pot cheese filling:
  1. Combine all ingredients until well mixed.
  2. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the dough:
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, and make a well in the middle.
  2. Place the eggs and sour cream into the well. Using your fingers, gradually work the flour into the eggs and sour cream until you have a crumbly mixture.
  3. Slowly work in the water. You will think you haven't added enough, but as you work the dough, it wil come together. So it is better to add the water very lowly, then wet your fingers to work in more water as you knead, as necessary.
  4. Once the dough comes together, knead it until is is fairly smooth and elastic.
  5. Form dough into a ball, and let rest for about 10 minutes (I've let it rest up to 30 minutes, but I was not happy with the results the one time I tried to make the dough the night before).
Filling and simmering the pierogies:
  1. Roll the dough on a floured surface, using about a quarter of the ball at a time, VERY thin - as thin as you feel comfortable working with. I like to use my KitchenAid pasta roller, starting at a setting of 1, work my way to a setting of 4. This is probably less than ⅛" thick.
  2. Place the rolled dough on a floured surface, and cut circles about 3-3½ in. in diameter.
  3. Place about 1 T of the desired filling offset from the middle of the circle, fold the circle over, and press the edges together with a fork to seal completely.
  4. Bring a shallow pan of water to a gentle simmer (do not boil).
  5. Add pierogies and simmer for about 15 minutes. Do not overcrowd your pan. Stir gently to keep them from sticking to the bottom and to each other. They will be floating when they are done.
  6. Remove from the simmering water, and place in a baking pan or on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray, and top with some small bits of butter to keep them from sticking.
  7. Continue until you have cooked all of the pierogies.
Cooking and serving the pierogies:
  1. Melt butter in a pan, saute onions if desired. Add the pierogies and gently saute until heated through. OR
  2. Place pierogies in a baking pan with butter, and onions, if desired, cover, and place in an oven at 350°F-375°F. Baked for about 20-30 minutes, or until heated through, tossing gently every 10-15 minutes. OR
  3. Deep fry?!?! Umm, no! ;-)
  4. We like to serve pierogies with sour cream.
Notes
If you are not going to serve the pierogies within a day or two, they freeze well after boiling. Just thaw and cook as desired.

Enjoy!

Potato Cheese and Pot Cheese (aka Farmer's Cheese) Pierogies | cupcakesandkalechips.com | #polishfood #homemade

And check out these amazing recipes and stories:

Breakfast
- Orange Refrigerator Rolls by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Eggs Benedict by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Holiday Cream Cheese Tea Ring by That Skinny Chick can Bake
- Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake by Small Wallet Big Appetite

Appetizers & Snacks
- Chicken Liver Pate by Tora’s Real Food
- Bindaetteok {Mung Bean Pancakes}by Kimchi Mom
- Crab and Asparagus Soup by The Urban Mrs.

Sides
- Potato Salad {Schwaebischer Kartoffelsalat} by Galactopdx
- Italian Orange Salad by Shockingly Delicious
- Sweet Potato Casserole by Magnolia Days
- Carrots au gratin by Juanitas Cocina

Main Dishes
- Char Siu Bao – Chinese Roast Pork Buns by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Savory Crepe Cake by Vintage Kitchen Notes
- West Indian Curried Goat by The ROXX Box
- Pot Cheese and Potato Cheese Pierogies by Cupcakes and Kale chips
- Seafood Gumbo and Grilled Oysters: A Louisiana Christmas
Tradition by the Catholic Foodie
- Mom’s Paella by What Smells So Good?
- Portuguese inspired Chorizo Crown Pork Roast by The Family Foodie
- Dorie’s Chicken in a Pot by Gotta Get Baked
- New Year’s Eve Buckwheat Noodles with Mochi by The Ninja Baker
- Crab Cakes for Christmas Eve by Daddy Knows Less
- Mile High Lasagna by Cravings of a Lunatic

Desserts
- Pizzelles {Italian Wafer Cookies} by Chocolate Moosey
- Fudge by Dinner Dishes and Desserts
- Crescent Cookies by Cookistry
- Christmas Stollen by Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks
- Pfeffernusse by The Foodie Army Wife
- Creme De Menthe Cake by I Run for Wine
- Panettone Bread Pudding by the Country Girl in the Village
- Spiced Gingerbread Gooey Butter Cake | A twist on a St. Louis Favorite by Daily Dish Recipes
- Chocolate Gingerbread Layer Cake with Eggnog Cream Cheese by Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends
- Jamaican Christmas Pudding by Lovely Pantry
- White Chocolate Cranberry Santa Cookies by Mooshu Jenne
- Christmas Tree Cookies by Damn Delicious
- Old Fashioned Lady Fingers {Creamhorns} by The Meltaways
- Rose Milk Almond Falooda {Indian Dessert Drink} bySue’s  Nutrition Buzz

Drinks
- Wine Pairings by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
- Cinnamon Infused Hot Chocolate with Southern Comfort Whipped Cream by Mama Mommy Mom

This recipe was shared with: Thursday’s Treasures Week 66

 

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Comments

  1. says

    It is so true… there is nothing better than a good pierogie! Love your recipe and love that you have been such a big part of #sundaysupper! Thank you for your support and for sharing your fabulous recipes with us. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) says

    I am loving the stories this week!

    I have deep admiration to those who make their own dough for pierogies/dumplings/mandoo. I still buy store-bought but maybe one day I will have the patience to roll my own! This looks and sounds great! Happy holidays to you and your family!

  3. says

    Wow, what perfect pierogies, Brianne! Such a wonderful holiday tradition that looks like will continue through the next generation :) Merry Christmas

  4. says

    Interesting how bizantine catholic is almost the same as roman catholic, which is absolutely predominant here. I never tried pierogis, but they have been on my bucket list fo.re.ver! They look so good! Have a great holiday Brianne!

    • says

      Yes, they freeze perfectly. After you boil them, just dot on some butter, wrap them up well, and throw them in the freezer. We have about 4 dozen in our freezer, and I’ll probably save some for Easter because I’ll have the new baby, and won’t be able to contribute too much.

  5. says

    I’m drooling over the thought of the light dough, potatoes, and cheese being cooked in butter and served with sour cream. This is really making me want to try pierogies (I’ve never had them).

  6. says

    Brianne, I really enjoyed reading about your family’s traditions and the dishes served (thanks for the brutal honesty – I think there are things served at every family dinner that aren’t gonna be a hit). I went my whole life without eating perogies and the first time I tried them was last New Year’s. One bite of those savoury dumplings and I was hooked – I’ve totally been missing out! They were of the frozen variety but still delicious so I can only imagine how good your homemade ones are. I hope you had a fabulous Christmas with your family!

  7. says

    I’ve been meaning to make pierogies for awhile now. Thanks for the great flavor combination. I will be making these very soon. Hope you enjoyed your Holidays and Happy New Year.

  8. says

    My dad makes cheese and potato pierogies for all of our holidays based on his aunt’s recipe and they are awesome. I’ve never heard of pot cheese but I’d like to try it the next time we make these!

    • says

      That is great you have a family recipe. I cobbled togther what I could find on the internet that sounded most like what we like. But I guess this is now our family recipe. The pot cheese is so good. Lighter than the potato, and like the Easter European version of cheese ravioli.

  9. says

    My grandma is Polish and Ukrainian and pierogies (and kapusta!) are my faaaavorite part of holidays. I made them with her once but they were SO MUCH work that I never made them again… not sure what I’ll do when she’s gone!!!

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