We are very often products of our upbringing. This recipe is a really fun blend of my mother’s culinary curiosity and my father’s Polish ancestry. Leek powder was borne out of my mother getting sick of throwing out leek greens, so she found a way to use them and even make them keep for a long time. Gastronomically she was gifted with preserving things, and she was willing to give anything a chance. Anything.
My father loves feeling connected to his Polish roots, and one of the main ways that he returns to them is through food. It’s the little things like sauerkraut, a well-made kielbasa, or the richness of sour cream that take him back.
Naturally, I inherited both of these compulsions, so here we are. Pierogis are just about the most Polish thing I can think of, and I love the crap out of them. Crispy and cheesy potato dumplings. What’s not to like? To bring this to another level, I decided to try adding a little bit of my mother’s evil genius influence. The leek powder gives the dough a fun color and a wonderful herb-like flavor that’s perfect for its potato counterpart.
Leek powder pierogi dough
- 2½ cups (300 g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 tbsp. sour cream
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. leek powder
- 2 cups mashed red potatoes (about 1 lb raw potatoes)
- 2 tbsp chives, chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 oz. cheddar, shredded
- 1 tbsp. butter
- ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Knead all the ingredients for the pierogi dough together until combined. The dough should be only slightly sticky, so add more flour as needed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the leek flavor infuse and the flour bind to the moisture.
While the dough rests, boil quartered potatoes until soft. Strain and mash, adding cheese, butter, salt, and pepper. Mix until fully incorporated. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding the chives; they shouldn't cook.
Roll out the dough to about ⅛" (thinner is okay) and use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out the dough. Use two pieces of dough per pierogi, spooning about ½ tbsp. (think half a ping pong ball) of potatoes on one. Wet your fingers and dab it around the edges, sealing it.
Heat a skillet with 1/2 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve with sour cream, applesauce, fresh dill, or caramelized onions.
Makes 24 pierogis.