Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beet Pierogies and Sweet Potato Pierogies...and where I went wrong

Well, the true history of the pierogi is unclear - according to sources, no one knows where it truly originated. It is clear that is came from Eastern Europe...and it is typically associated with Poland. Well, then, it is a good thing I am not Polish or I would have brought my ancestors to shame with the mess I made in my house the other day trying to make pierogies. The pierogi does have roots in Russia and Romania though, which is the majority of my ancestry. Sigh.

Anyway, so my adventure started with beets. My husband and I have been trying new foods from the farmer's markets one by one. We see all these things on Food Network pop up all the time, so we finally got curious. The Swiss chard didn't do it for me, but I loved the jicama. So last week I put a post on my personal facebook page asking if anyone out there liked beets, and the overwhelming answer was YES! In all the responses, I only had one "no," so I figured I would give it a shot and promptly looked up several beet recipes.

My husband and I settled on this recipe for beet pierogies. It seemed easy enough, and I like pierogies a lot, so I figured it would be a good way to try out this new vegetable.

So...I spent my Monday morning working on this project. OH...MY...GOD. I am NEVER making my own pierogie dough again. That was the hardest part!! The dough was so sticky and hard to work with, and as a result, when I boiled my pierogies, half the filling fell out of some of them and I had to chuck them. SO FRUSTRATING. Seriously. I spent like, 2 hours making these (well, part of that was making sweet potato pierogies too, but still), it was a horrible, horrible mess.

Next time I attempt pierogies (if I do) I am just buying ready made dough and saving myself the hassle.

Cutting and peeling the beets wasn't so bad. I managed to keep my all white kitchen, well, white. My hands turned pink though! And I may have ruined a relatively newer kitchen towel that we were given for my bridal shower, but maybe those stains will come out! The filling was also really easy to make. It was just that damn dough.

My sweet potato piergoies were also an easy filling to make. So all in all, I managed to get 11 piergoies out of both the beets and sweet potato batch. That was enough for a dinner for my husband and I with a side. So at least that worked out.

My husband liked the sweet potato ones more, and so did I. We're not quite sure of the beet taste wasn't gross, but we felt it was missing something. Maybe we needed to sweeten it up a little more, or it needed some kind of spice. It just seemed bland (though eating it with sour cream helped immensely!) If we can't find a way to jazz up beets, well, that one resounding NO on my facebook post will win because beets won't be able to find a place in my house. (So, my dear Chicago friend, I guess the Arabian Onyx's must stick together if I try it again and don't really like it!)

So here are the recipes used in my 2 hour (messy) adventure this past Monday.

Beet Pierogies (from a recipe on
**Also included the dough recipe I used


1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped beets
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 teaspoons margarine

1 egg
1/2 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour


Place the beets and onion into a saucepan over medium heat; add about 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low.

Simmer until the beets are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the water from the vegetables, and place into the work bowl of a food processor.

Add the margarine, start the machine, and pulse several times to finely chop the beets.

Whisk together the egg and water until thoroughly mixed, then mix in the flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes.

Divide the dough in half, and form each half into a ball. Roll out a ball until it's 1/8 inch thick or less. Using a cup or cookie cutter, cut out dough circles. Repeat with remaining dough. (I actually then put the balls of dough int he fridge to try and get them to be easier to work with. Yeah, didn't work.)

To fill, place a dough circle into the palm of your hand, and stretch the dough out slightly. Place about 1 tablespoon of the beet filling in the center of the dough, and fold the dough over the filling.

Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal completely, and use your index finger to make small crimped indentations all round the sealed edges. Dust the completed pierogi with flour.

Fill a large pot with water, and bring to a boil. Drop the pierogies into the water, 1 or 2 at a time, and stir to prevent them from sticking. Reduce heat to a gentle boil, and cook until the pierogies float to the top, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and serve.

Sweet Potato Piergoies (This is my own recipe!!)


1 medium sweet potato
onion powder
brown sugar
1 TBS margarine

(sorry, no exact measurements, I made it up!)


Bake sweet potato in oven for 45 minutes or until tender, at 400 degrees F. Make sure to poke some holes or make slits in the skin.

Once tender, take it out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then peel the skin off and mash the potato in a bowl. Add in the margarine and let it melt into the sweet potato. Season with paprika, brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon to taste. if you want a more bold taste, throw some black pepper in there!

Mix completely into the sweet potato mash and then follow the directions for stuffing and boiling the piergoies from the beet recipe.

All I can say is make sure the pierogies are sealed and not thin enough to break as you are boiling them! Geez, what a mess.

And, if you want to see how many dishes I used, well, this is a small representation of what I had to wash from my sink. YIKES.

Try this at your own risk, or give me advice on how to do it better. Though, next time, I am probably just buying dough!


  1. Hey Adrienne, finally getting to look over this recipe. Question..did you flour the surface before rolling out the pierogies? If not, that may have been behind your sticky mess.


  2. Sadly, flour was used. Dough just doesn't like me! What a mess! :-)