Upon hearing that our Friends-giving feast would require every dish to have "a twist" I was racking my brain for ideas. At Girl Dinner when a few of us picked ingredients from a hat to assure we covered all bases, I ended up with sweet potatoes. I was quite nervous about making something super unique, while all the time craving my mom's sweet potato casserole. Luckily, Mekenzee swept in and said "Aren't you who's always talking about sweet potato pierogies?" It's true. I often try to persuade the waiter at Blue Dust's 25 cent pierogie night to get the kitchen staff to make sweet potato ones and love the Gosia's Pierogies from farmers' markets and the Pittsburgh Public Market. So the hunt for a sweet potato pierogie recipe was on.
Turns out... no recipe. Of the few recipes Google gave me there were only ones with cheese and onions and other savory ingredients, and I was still craving sweet potato casserole. Stressed once more I mixed a couple together and came up with my own. My mom always said "cooking is not an exact science unless you're using leavening". I on the other hand always use recipes. If you know that this + this + that = good why not use it as a guide? Here is what happens when you mix the recipes of St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church's pyrohy recipe found in this article (or from a volunteer roommate), and ravioli recipe from Epicurious:
Sweet Potato Pierogies
- 3c durum flour (We just used all-purpose)
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 c warm water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 lbs Sweet Potatoes (Had to hit up my favorite farmers' market; the girl at Mott Family Farm was nice enough to measure out 1.5 lbs for me. Also, I'm sure yams would be fine.)
- 2 Tbsp (packed) brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp pecan pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Sauteed onions
- 3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter
- 1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar (the recipe I found calls for balsamic but we used and were very happy with apple cider vinegar)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme
For the dough:
Combine the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add egg, oil, and water. Stir initially until ya gotta get down and dirty with your hands.
Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes (I did for an entire EP + another song). Add water if the dough is too "chalky or hard" or flour if the dough it too sticky (I didn't have to use either). Knead into a ball, cover and let it sit for a while. It took me a while to make the filling but I've seen that you could even let the dough sit overnight in the fridge.
For the filling:
Wash and trim the gross parts of the sweet potatoes - no peeling necessary. Boil the sweet potatoes until easily forked. Drain and smash. After smashing, food process those suckers. After a few moments in the Ninja, add in the sugar, pecans, and nutmeg.
Assembly and cooking:
Throw some flour down over a clean, dry, flat surface. Roll the dough until it's about 1/4 inch think. Cut circles out of the dough using a cookie cutter or a glass.
Place about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle. Ya kinda have to eyeball it until you get the hang of it so you can secure the edges without the filling bursting out. Pinch the edges well and finish by going around the edges with a fork. If they're not sealing well you can add a little water.
(Here's Nick helping out)
In a large pot boil the pierogies for about 8-10 minutes, or until they float. Don't over-crowd the pot. Transfer from the water to a frying pan with your sauteed onions in it. I whole-heartedly prefer slightly browned pierogies. Transfer into a serving dish.
Brown Butter sauce:
Not necessary but so worth it. Melt the butter over medium heat. When it's brown (refer to my last recipe!) remove from heat (very important step... trust me!) and mix in the vinegar and thyme. Poor over the pierogies.
(Also an example of how much this makes)
And after a week and a half really worrying about making something new for a group of people everything worked out. EVERYTHING at Friends-giving was delicious and the sweet potato pierogies disappeared within a half hour!