If you’re reading this right now and you’re thinking what in the heck is a pierogi, fear not because you are not alone. I was in the same boat as you were, and up until recently I was not living life fully. I was missing out on one of the greatest pleasures in life, and that is the pierogi. Pierogi are filled dumplings from Central and Eastern Europe, most commonly from Poland. Traditional Polish Pierogi are filled with various different fillings that include but are not limited to, potato (my personal favorite), beef, cabbage, spinach, cheese, onion, sauerkraut, and mushrooms. The filling options really are limitless, and once you get the technique down and perfect the dough, you can fill them with literally anything you want. Go crazy and let your imagination run wild. It’s a great way to have one appetizer (or dish because it’s a great dinner if served with a salad and rice or roasted veggies) under your belt, which you can customize a hundred different ways.
I decided to turn one of my favorite foods, a bacon cheeseburger, into the ultimate pierogi. If you’ve never tried this dish before, then let this variation be the first you do eat because it’ll make you a believer. A pierogi believer. Now I know that often times whenever I make mash up recipes I always say that it tastes just like such and such dish, and you’re probably like, “Yeah I know I know, sure thing.” But this time I really mean it. If there was ever a time I meant it more, it’s now. These pierogi taste JUST like a bacon cheeseburger. Homemade dough filled with ground sirloin, onions, bacon, and pickles and then served with a burger secret sauce for dipping along with caramelized onions. I kid you not, they have all the flavor we know and love from a burger, and that’s no joke. Your only goal this week is to make these pierogi. You promise?
Let’s start by making the dough for the pierogi. This is probably the easiest dough you’ll ever make. It doesn’t require yeast which is really nice. So in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream and salt.
Add the flour, one cup at a time, and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl, until it sticks together.
**Note: You can also make this in a stand mixer and knead with the dough hook. It’ll save you time and energy in the next step!**
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand until the dough comes together and becomes soft and somewhat smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
**Note: The dough needs time to soften and rest. The gluten in the dough was just overworked and caused the dough to be firm. Resting allows the gluten to rest and become very soft.**
In the meantime, let’s work on the filling. The bacon cheeseburger filling. In a large skillet, brown the beef and onions until crispy. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the crispy chopped bacon and chopped pickles. Both of these will add that distinct bacon cheeseburger flavor.
**Note: Chop the bacon and then cook in a separate skillet until crispy. Transfer to a plate, lined with paper towels, with a slotted spoon. Then cook 2 whole sliced onions in the bacon fat until caramelized. This will be for serving the pierogi later on!**
Remove the filling from the heat and let sit until cooled to room temperature. You don’t want the filling to be too hot when you go to fill the pierogi dough. Once the dough has rested, cut into quarters and work with one piece at a time, making sure to keep the other pieces covered with plastic wrap. Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface until about 1/8 of an inch thick. You want it to be very thin. Cut into 4-inch rounds, fill with a tablespoon of filling and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.*
**Note: Make sure to that the dough doesn’t still to the board or the rolling pin while rolling, so keep the dough moving continuously.**
**Tip: I cute the use into thin pieces, but I realized after that it would be better if shredded, so when you make it, you should definitely shred your cheese.**
Seal the edges with egg wash and then crimp with a form to seal. Transfer the pierogi to a baking sheet dusted with cornstarch, and continue rolling the remaining dough, cutting, filling and sealing.
**Note: The cornstarch helps the consistency of the pierogi and helps them not stick when boiled!**
Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil and season with salt. Cook the pierogi in batches, a few at a time, until soft, wrinkly and floating to the top, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, using a slotted spoon. Continue cooking the remaining pierogi.
In a large skillet, set over medium heat, melt and cook a stick of butter until browned. Add half of the pierogi in a single layer and cook until crispy and browned on both sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cook the remaining half in the same way.
**Note: You definitely want to cook the pierogi in batches so that they brown evenly. If you crowd the pan, they won’t get crispy but rather they’ll become soggy because of the excess steam.**
Serve the pierogi with the caramelized onions and a quick dipping sauce. Since these are bacon cheeseburger pierogi, I made a burger fry sauce. Like a secret special sauce. Like a thousand Island but easier. You know, the way burgers are usually made. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, ketchup, hot sauce, and relish (or chopped dill pickles). This will really take these over the edge and give them the ultimate burger taste.
You can make the sauce two days in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to serve the pierogi. Also, if you want to plan ahead, you can make the filling a day or two in advance as well, and then on the day you plan on making the pierogi, just whip up the dough and fill and cook off as directed.
If you want to go the freezing route, which you should because you should most definitely have these in the freezer ready to go for a party, gathering, potluck or even a quick dinner, you can fill the pierogi and then lay them out on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, transfer to a freezer bag, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to cook off, just bring a large pot of cold water a boil and cook until they float. Then sear in the butter as directed!
I recommend making two batches of these. One to eat right away, you’re going to want to once you get a taste. And then the second batch for the freezer because let me tell you, when you’re so tired during the week from work and the last thing you want to do is cook all night, reaching into your freezer for a bag of these will be a lifesaver.
I like to serve these with a side of green-leaf lettuce and tomatoes (and a cold beer) so that they taste *just* like a bacon cheeseburger. Now I know it seems like a lot of work to make the dough, roll it, fill it, cook it and sauté it, I promise you it is definitely worth it! Even if you’ve never had pierogi, or heard of them, you need to make them. They will change your life!
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 to 4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 pound ground sirloin
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 1/2 cup pickle chips, chopped
- 4 ounce cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 large egg, whisked with splash of water
- 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 2 dill pickle spears, chopped
- To make the dough, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream and salt. Add 3 cups flour and stir with a wooden spoon, adding as much of the remaining flour as needed to form a shaggy dough. Knead with your hands in the bowl until dough starts to stick together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand until soft and smooth, about 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
- To make the filling, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the oil. Once hot, add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until crispy and browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the onions, season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Worcestershire sauce and cook for a minute or two longer. Remove from heat and let cool.
- In a separate skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, using a slotted spoon. In the same skillet add the sliced onions (for the topping) and cook on medium, until soft, translucent and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Stir the crispy bacon and pickles into the ground beef mixture.
- Meanwhile make the sauce, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, mayo, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce and pickles until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
- Once the dough is ready, cut into quarters. Working with one portion at a time, keeping the others covered with plastic wrap, roll out on a well floured work surface about a 1/8 of an inch thick. You want it very thin. Make sure to continuously lift the dough from the board and dust with flour as needed. Cut into rounds with a 4 inch cutter, reserve scraps for later. Fill with a tablespoon of meat filling and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Fold over into half moon shape, seal with egg wash and secure with a fork. Place the pierogi on a baking sheet dusted with cornstarch and continue filling the rest. Repeat with the other portions of dough, rolling out, cutting, filling and sealing. Once all pierogi are filled cover the baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap.
- Fill a large pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and slowly drop in a few pierogi at a time. Cook until soft, wrinkled and floating, about 2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with a slotted spoon, and continue cooking the remaining pierogi.
- In a large skillet, set over medium heat, melt and brown the butter. Add the pierogi, half at a time, and cook until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cook the remaining pierogi.
- Serve warm with the caramelized onions and the burger sauce we made earlier. Enjoy!
- Yield: about 25 pierogi
- Note: You can assemble the pierogi ahead of time and freeze on a baking sheet until frozen solid. Transfer to a freezer bag and keep for months, until ready to boil, and sauté.