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Pierogi: Feel the food fear and do it anyway, episode 1

Pierogi: lovely, lovely Polish dumplings or secret creeping terrormongers in a dainty dough jacket?

Clearly, it's both. Yes, I've never made a pierogi, so intimidated have I been my their majesty. I used to eat pierogi back in my pregan days at a local Polish restaurant which is now long since closed, and I've been jonesing for their sweet, sweet goodness ever since.

Despite that, I've never been tempted to head to the kitchen to recreate them. I guess I assumed that I'd have to make the dough, then fill it, then fry the pierogi in some butter-free butter, then who knows? But it definitely seemed like too much work, so no pierogi graced this kitchen.

But with my New Year resolution to feel the food fear and cook the scary dishes anyway, I made me some dumplings. They looked like this:

They were stuffed with a mix of fried onions, mashed potato and sauerkraut, and served with a sour cream (Tofutti's heroic Sour Supreme in this case) and dill sauce.

I'll level with you here: this was my second attempt. My first attempt I didn't want to share with you, mainly as it looked like something you'd find in a hospital bin. Seriously. I tried boiling the pierogi and then frying them, as I seemed to remember that's how the ones I used it eat were cooked and a number of recipes suggested I should, but the dumplings fell apart and started oozing out all their filling in a most unappealing way.

Second time around, I cooked them gyoza style - fried them, added a bit of water, stuck a plate on top and let the steam do the rest of the cooking. Second time around = success.

What's that? You reckon I didn't make the pierogi dough myself, and you think I went gyoza style because the dumplings are just ready-made vegan wonton skins with a different filling? Well, I say to you, haters gonna hate. Or, in this instance, you've got me bang to rights, guv.

Yep, I cheated. You caught me. Still, I really like these pierogi-a-likes and they weren't a million miles from the real deal either.

So, anyway, I'm still chalking this one up as a resolution kept - look, I even made myself a little laurel out of dill to celebrate my first taking-down of a food fear.

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  1. Your pierogis are beautiful, but I did do double-take wondering why they looked so much like gyoza! :) Anything that offers a hand-to-mouth transportation system for sauerkraut, onions, and potatoes is good by me! They look delicious! Which pierogi recipe did you use? I've only made them once, and I used the recipe in Vegan Brunch. They turned out great, but I've never made them again. Like you said, they require quite a bit of work. I hear that they freeze well, though, and so I keep telling myself I'm going to make a huge batch and freeze half. A girl can dream...

  2. Glad to see you got around to making pierogi and conquered your pierogi fear! Gyoza wrappers also work for ravioli. They don't taste exactly the same as 'real' pierogi or ravioli, but it's a nice shortcut sometimes! :)

  3. Wow! These look amazing! Especially for a second go of it - I'm sure my fifth attempt wouldn't look as well. :) I've not had gyoza, so you could have easily fooled me!

  4. So did you make the dough here? Or were the wrappers pre-bought? I'm only confused, not critiquing. As long as they served the purpose of feeding you and dealing with the craving, I say well done. They sound awesome + I love the fresh dill topping.

  5. This is the second post I've seen in a week about using dumpling wrappers as pierogi dough. Very clever idea! I used to make pierogi every now and then, but haven't in years because it's so very time consuming. This method just might bring pierogi back into my life...

  6. I also read the post that Theresa mentioned and thought that using dumpling wrappers was a stroke of genius! When I made pierogi with home-made dough it was such a time consuming process and I swore I would never make them again but I'm super keen to give them a go with dumpling wrappers. I love how you pan fried them gyoza style as I'm pretty comfortable with this method and I do recall having issues with some pierogis falling apart when I did the initial boiling step.

  7. They look good to me. I made pierogi from scratch and they turned out well. I froze a ton and got to eat them a few times, but I never made them again, because as others have pointed out, it's a LOT of work. They're on my blog, but like I said, one time deal.

  8. Your pierogi look delicious, and I like the laurel of dill. (Dill is one of my favorite herbs.) I don't blame you for using pre-made wrappers because facing recipe fears is one thing, and spending hours and hours and hours making something is another. Great job!

  9. You made perogies!!! And they're totally creeping terrormongers...growing up it always felt like a punishment for me when I had to help make them! And good call on using wonton paper, the dough is easily the most annoying part about perogi making. Congrats on conquering a food fear!

  10. You conquered something! And twice no less. I’ve always wanted to make pierogis, but man do they look like a pain in the ass to make. I’m digging your method, and would totally eat the hell out of those things.

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