Meat pierogi are a classic Polish dish, hearty and simple, loved by children and adults alike. The filling I used in this recipe consists of naturally low fat turkey meat and a handful of pantry ingredients. I used my foolproof pierogi dough recipe which guarantees great results every time.
Start by preparing the filling. Place the meat in a food processor and pulse until it starts to come together and becomes sticky.
In a large frying pan heat up 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes until golden. Add the meat and cook stirring and squashing with the back of the spoon for about 5 minutes until fully cooked. Add the stock cube, water, Worcestershire sauce, onion granules and plenty of pepper and continue cooking until all the moisture has evaporated (don't cook too long as the meat might become too dry).
Place the mixture in a food processor again and pulse until sticky and pasty. Adjust the seasoning if needed, set aside and make the pierogi dough.
To make the dough tip the flour onto your work surface, add the salt, make a well in the middle and add the oil. Start combining using a large knife, gradually adding the water into the middle and gathering up the mixture with the knife to prevent the water from escaping. (You can also do this in a large bowl and use a spoon). When the dough starts to come together and all the water has been added knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until it becomes smooth, soft and elastic. If the dough sticks to your hands add a bit of flour (max. 1 tsp) and knead in. Cover with a bowl or wrap in cling film and set aside for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 parts (easier to work with) and roll out one part (keeping the other 2 covered) on top of a very lightly floured surface as thinly as possible, 2-3 mm in thickness (don't worry, the dough is quite elastic and won't tear easily). Using a glass with a diameter of about 7 cm make round shapes (gather up the excess dough and add to the other dough part).
Place a small amount of the filling (about a teaspoon) in the middle of the round dough shape (if the dough is sticking to the work surface use a knife to help it come off but take care not to tear it). With tips of your fingers stick the edges of the dumpling together, using your pinky to gently push the filling away from the edges and remove any air bubbles - go over the edge twice for each dumpling (your fingertips should be dry so it's a good idea to keep a sheet of paper towel near you to wipe them if they get sticky).
Place the dumplings on a lightly floured surface and cover with a dry cloth.
Fill a large pot with salted water, cover and bring to the boil. Continue making the dumplings as you are waiting for the water to boil. When the water starts boiling carefully place the dumplings in the pot one by one (not more than 15 per batch) and quickly but carefully stir with a wooden spoon. When all the dumplings come up to the surface cook them gently for about 4 more minutes, switch off the heat and using a slotted spoon transfer them onto a large plate. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve! Yields approx. 40 pierogi.
If you would like to use meat leftovers fry the onions as per Instructions then place in the food processor along with the chopped meat, add Worcestershire sauce and pepper and pulse until the mixture starts coming together. If it's too dry add a drop of water or milk to loosen it.
To ensure the filling is smooth (not grainy) it is important to pulse the meat twice: once raw and once cooked.
The filling might occasionally stick to your fingers as you are making the dumplings. It is a good idea to wipe your fingertips (paper towel works well) from time to time. The pierogi will look neater and will be easier to make.
Try to roll out the dough as thinly as possible (approx. 2 mm thick). Don’t worry, it won’t tear easily.
Best served immediately.
If you make them ahead coat thoroughly with butter or oil and place in a large bowl. Keep leftover pierogi refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days. Reheat either in a microwave or in the oven (covered).
To freeze raw pierogi place in a single layer on top of a floured tray and freeze for 4 hours. Remove from the freezer and either place in a freezer bag or place portions of pierogi on top of small trays and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen (they will take a little longer to cook).