I am Italian + Lithuanian with a sprinkle of Irish/German. Not one of these nationalities is known for pierogi (and don’t you dare call kuldunai “pierogi” to a Lithuanian if you know what’s good for you!) yet for some reason, pierogi reminds me of family. Maybe it’s because they were an easy to prepare side dish for my Italian grandmother – who hates cooking, what?! – to prepare for her grandchildren with huge appetites and very little patience. My mom told me recently that when she was in college her favorite late night munchie was fried pierogi, so perhaps it’s simply in my blood. Or, could it be because for the better part of my 20s I lived in the Polish section of Brooklyn and ate a lot of (err…hungover) comfort foods at Karczma? Who can really say.
If you’ve ever spent even an hour in Greenpoint, Brooklyn chances are you’ve stumbled upon at least one place that serves the most amazing, authentic Polish food, one being pierogi. One of my favorite memories of living in this neighborhood is the abundance of amazing food on every corner. I’m certain the recipes have been passed down from someone’s grandma’s grandma for ages and I am willing to bet not one thing has changed. And for good reason. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. Unless you can’t eat gluten. Then fix it, but don’t tell Grandma.
Now, if you’re here and you’re low FODMAP like me you’re also scratching your head by now wondering how the heck you’re supposed to eat these without suffering immediately following. And to that I’ll simply say, you’re here. I won’t allow it!
While the main ingredient in the filling is white potato, which is low FODMAP at 1/2 cup serving, if you simply do not tolerate or you are in the elimination phase, try swapping out the potato for rutabaga or parsnips. You could also use a mixture of potato, parsnip and rutabaga. The flavor will be a little different and a bit sweeter but the delicious factor will remain in tact.
Another thing to note here is that this recipe contains lactose free dairy, however this is a very easy swap to make if you need. I prefer to use Cabot cheddar cheese which is naturally lactose free. Instead of buying a bag of the shredded cheese which can sometimes contain gut-irritating fillers, I simply shred up a block of cheddar myself. It takes a few extra minutes but is entirely worth it. As for the sour cream that is so interwoven in this recipe, look out for lactose free there too. I love Green Valley Organics lactose free sour cream. You can also sub in vegan cheese/sour cream, or try using Greek yogurt. I do not tolerate yogurt so I have not tried this, but if you know it’s something you do well with and prefer, please rip apart this recipe and make it your own! That’s the fun in cooking. The rules are meant to be broken, and that’s why I love it so darn much.
For the Dough
1/2 cup lactose free sour cream
2/3 cup oat milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups gluten free 1:1 flour
For the Filling
1 lb potatoes (1 large potato or about 3 small white potatoes)
3-4 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
1/2 cup lactose free sour cream
1/2 cup lactose free cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt to taste
Optional: green parts of scallions or chives if you’re missing the traditional oniony flavor
Place a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil.
While water comes up to a boil, prepare the dough. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, milk, egg, and salt whisking to combine.
Gradually add in the flour mixing well to incorporate until it begins to form dough.
You may need to add a little additional flour while working with it until you’re able to kneed the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to chill.
Peel potatoes and add to the boiling pot of water, cooking until fork tender.
Once potatoes are cooked, drain the water from the pot, keeping potatoes inside. Place a tea towel over top to keep the steam inside, allowing the potatoes to continue to soften.
Add sour cream, garlic infused olive oil, salt, and cheese mixing to combine. The filling will end up looking like mashed potatoes.
Continue tasting and adjusting flavors to your liking and set aside once you’ve reached desired flavor.
Roll out the dough on lightly floured parchment paper until it is about 1/4 – 1/8″ thick.
If you do not have a round cookie cutter, use a coffee mug and cut out rounds. Continue this process until you’ve gone through all of your dough.
Add about 1 tbsp of filling to each dough round, fold over and pinch edges together forming your pierogi. You may need to brush the inside with a little egg, olive oil, or water in order to get it to stick.
Once all pierogi are assembled, add about 6 at a time to a pot of boiling water, cooking only until they begin to rise to the top. Remove from water and repeat until all pierogi have been boiled.
Transfer into an airtight container, using parchment paper to layer in between so they do not stick to one another.
When you’re ready to eat, simply add garlic infused olive oil or melt butter in a frying pan and fry pierogi about 2 minutes on each side.