These simple pierogi ruskie are real hearty comfort food. They are stuffed with cheese, potato and onion before being boiled and then fried with bacon lardons. Perfect for a filling family meal.
A few years ago I spent two years living in Poland and teaching English. One of my favourite food discoveries while I was there was pierogi ruskie. They are definitely my favourite pierogies. I also like the cabbage ones a lot but I was never convinced by the sweet ones!
But what are pierogi ruskie?
Pierogies are Polish stuffed dumplings, a little bit like ravioli. Pierogi ruskie are stuffed with mashed potato, Polish farmer's cheese (twarog) and onions. They are boiled and can then be eaten with just a little butter or you can then fry them so they crisp up on the outside. Personally, I love to fry them with a few bacon lardons to get even more flavour into these cheesy pierogies.
Although the name 'ruskie' translates as 'Russian', they are not actually from Russia but were apparently made popular by Poles living in Ukraine before the second world war.
What ingredients do you need for pierogi ruskie?
To make these Russian pierogi you'll need to make the pierogi dough and the filling. I use a simple pasta dough for my pierogis and the ingredients are:
- Flour - I use plain white flour
- Salt - Just a little to season the dough
- Eggs - I use large eggs
- Water - To bring the dough together
To make the filling you'll need:
- Potatoes - You can use leftover cooked potatoes or cook them specially and leave to cool first
- Cheese - If you can get hold of twarog which is Polish farmer's cheese then use that. It is available in some supermarkets these days. If not you can use feta as a replacement. You can even use cheddar although the flavour will not be authentic. The pierogis will still be delicious.
- Onion - I use a plain brown onion.
- Nutmeg - I love to add a pinch of nutmeg to season the potato filling.
- Seasoning - A little salt and black pepper
If you plan to fry the pierogies with bacon after boiling them you will also need:
- Bacon - I use lardons but you can use chopped up bacon pieces.
- Oil - I use vegetable oil but you can also use a little butter.
How do you make pierogi ruskie?
You can make the filling and the dough in advance. The filling needs time to cool completely before you stuff the pierogies.
Making the pierogi ruskie filling
To make the filling, boil the potatoes until they are cooked through. At the same time, gently fry the onion until softened.
Pass the cooked potatoes through a potato ricer to get rid of any lumps and then stir in the cheese, onion, seasoning and nutmeg.
Making the pierogi ruskie dough
To make the pierogi dough, you can either combine all the ingredients by hand and knead for 5 minutes or mix them in a food processor with a dough hook.
Once the dough is smooth, wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for half an hour.
Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Take one, and roll it out on a floured work surface until it is as thin as you can get it, about 1-2mm thick. Alternatively use a pasta machine to roll out the dough.
Filling and cooking the pierogi ruskie
Take a round cutter or a glass about 5-6cm in diameter, cut out circles of the dough. Take a teaspoon of the filling, put it in the middle and then fold the dough over and seal it in. Use a little water to help the two sides to stick together. Then pinch the dough to make sure it is well sealed and there are no gaps.
Heat a pan of boiling water and cook the pierogies for about 2 minutes. They will float to the top when they are cooked. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches.
While you are boiling the pierogies you can also cook the bacon lardons. Heat a frying pan and add just a little oil and fry the bacon pieces. When they are beginning to brown, add the pierogi and cook until browned and crispy.
Are pierogi ruskie difficult to make?
As you can see, there are quite a few steps to making the pierogies but they are not hard at all. They just take a little time so you just need to plan a little in advance. You could make the filling in advance using left over mashed potatoes. Or make a larger batch of dough and freeze some of it to make life easier another time. Or use it to make a different kind of pasta.
What can you serve with pierogi ruskie?
As pierogi ruskie are quite carb heavy and filling I like to serve them with something light to balance out the richness. They are delicious with salad or vegetables like cabbage and green beans.
You can also serve a dollop of sour cream on the side and top them with some fresh herbs. Chives go really well with pierogi ruskie.
Can you adapt the recipe?
Yes of course, feel free to vary the ingredients a little. You can experiment with diffrent kinds of cheese. Why not add a few leeks instead of onions or even cook a few bacon pieces with the onion to add to the filling?
I like to add a little nutmeg to my potato but it is totally optional. You could even try a curried pierogi and add some Indian spices to the potato.
Can you freeze them?
Yes! If you don't want to eat all of the pierogies at once you can freeze them before you cook them fully. Lay them in a single layer on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Once they have frozen you can transfer them to a freezer bag. They will keep well for about 3 months.
You can then cook them from frozen. They will just take a little bit longer to boil.
You can also freeze the pierogi dough, wrap it up well and then defrost in the fridge overnight before using.
More pasta recipes
If you like these pierogies, why not try one of these recipes:
- Chicken paprikash with homemade tagliatelle
- Chorizo pasta with garlic and sundried tomatoes
- Speatzle with onions, bacon and cheese
- Leftover roasted vegetable gnocchi
Pierogi Ruskie - Potato and Cheese Pierogies
- Pasta machine optional
- Food Mixer optional
Ingredients for the pierogi dough
- 200 g plain white flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- water add just enough to form a dough
Ingredients for the filling
- 250 g potato
- 100 g twarog or an alternative cheese such as feta
- 1 onion diced
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
Ingredients for cooking the pierogi
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 100 g bacon lardons
Making the filling
- Boil the potato. When cooked, pass through a potato ricer.250 g potato
- Cook the onion gently in a pan with a little oil1 onion, 1 tablespoon oil
- Mix together the onion, potato, twarog, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Taste and check the seasoning. Set aside.250 g potato, 1 onion, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, pinch salt, pinch pepper, 100 g twarog
Making the pierogi dough
- Put the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the egg and mix it into the flour using a knife. Add a little water, just enough to form a dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Alternatively use a stand mixer with a dough hook to make and knead the dough.200 g plain white flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 egg, water
- Wrap the dough up in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.
- Roll the dough out thinly to about 2mm if you can. You can either use a rolling pin on a floured work surface or a pasta machine if you have one.
Making the pierogies
- Use a round cutter to cut out circles of dough about 5-6cm in diameter. Put a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each circle. Brush a little water around the edge and then pinch the sides together, trying to make sure there is no air trapped inside.
- Heat a large pan of boiling water on the hob. Add the pierogies and cook for about 2-3 minutes until they are floating on the surface. You will probably need to cook the pierogies in batches.
- Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and add the bacon lardons. When they are beginning to brown, add the pierogies and cook them until browned and slightly crispy on either one or both sides.100 g bacon lardons, 1 tablespoon oil
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