Pierogi Little Pies

One of Poland’s most popular foods, probably because of its versatility, each “little pie” is hearty and pleasantly chewy. They’re delicious stuffed with almost anything and can be served as a side dish, a main dish, or even as dessert. Here’s a basic pierogi dough that I used in Potato vegetarian Pierogi and a Potato bacon Pierogi. My mother in law and I were dining at a restaurant in Province, Rhode Island called Local 121. They served their Pierogi with a side of jam and crispy bacon. This gave me the idea to come home and attempt them myself. If you haven’t been to Local 121, I highly recommend it. Everything is fresh and local. There’s a casual bar side and another side that is more white tablecloth. Service was fantastic. You can make all 16 of these at once or freeze some of the non-fried ones for later.
·         2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1/4 cup reduced-fat or low-fat sour cream
·         1/4 cup water
·         1 tablespoon vegetable oil
·         1 large egg
·         Cooking spray
       Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Combine sour cream, water, oil, and egg, stirring with a whisk. Add sour cream mixture to flour mixture; stir until combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 7 minutes). Place dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rest 15 minutes.
Potato & Bacon Pierogi:
·         1 pound peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
·         1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or green onions
·         2 tablespoons reduced-fat or low-fat sour cream
·         2 tablespoons egg substitute
·         1 tablespoon butter
·         1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
·         3/4 teaspoon salt

          *Pierogi Dough Recipe listed above

·        2 quarts water to boil the Pierogi
    1 tablespoon butter, divided
·         1/8 teaspoon salt
·         1/3 cup reduced-fat sour or low-fat cream
Optional: 3 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and minced
       Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until tender; drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Add chives and next 5 ingredients (chives through 3/4 teaspoon salt); blend well with potato masher. If you want to split this potato concoction into half to add a vegetarian Pierogi option and toss the bacon in the other half to give your guests a meat option that is what I did.
       Divide Pierogi Dough into 16 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), roll each ball into a 3 1/2-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. I did multiple sizes to see which ones the family enjoyed the best. The 3 ½ inch or just a tad larger is the ideal size.
     Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon of the potato mixture onto half of each dough circle. Bring opposite sides of dough circle together; pinch to seal, beginning with center and pinching down both sides to form a half-moon shape. Repeat with the remaining dough circles and potato mixture.
       Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add half of pierogi; cook 7 minutes or until done (pierogi will rise to the surface). Remove pierogi with a slotted spoon; drain in a colander (pierogi will stick to a paper towel). Place pierogi in a single layer on a baking sheet or platter. Repeat procedure with remaining pierogi.
   Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 8 pierogi; cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove pierogi; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons butter and 8 pierogi. Sprinkle cooked pierogi with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Serve with 1/3 cup sour cream and a side of your favorite jam.
***If you don’t want to make all of these, you can boil them slightly, about half the normal time and then freeze them. Take them out when ready to fry and let them get to room temperature. Take the same steps to cook them in butter. They tastes just as good!
Inspired by: Lorrie Hulston Corvin, Cooking Light