Oh, the delicious things we can create with our autumn harvest! Yesterday, for the third time in my life, I made Pierogi with Butternut Squash and Sage. Pierogi are filled dumplings of Polish descent. The dumplings are first cooked in boiling water, and then sautéed in melted butter until crisp. Ready for a new, exciting taste sensation? This video and printable recipe is for you:
Be sure to watch the video above. You’ll learn how to knead, fill, form, and seal the fascinating pierogi dough. The directions are easier to show than tell!
Here’s a photographic recap (you’ll find a printable version at the end of this post):
Prepare the Squash:
Halve and seed a medium-size (3 pounds or slightly less) butternut squash.
Brush the flesh with a little olive oil…
And then place the squash, cut-down-down, on a baking sheet. Bake at 400°F until perfectly tender — 40-50 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, scoop the squash innards into a medium bowl.
To the squash, add salt, pepper, and 5 large (or 7-10 small) chopped sage leaves.
Then grab a potato masher…
And mash the mixture until smooth. Set aside while you call your mother.
The Pierogi Dough:
Violently fling 2 cups all-purpose flour into a medium bowl.
To the flour, add 3/4 cup sour cream…
1 large, beaten egg…
1/4 cup olive oil…
And an extremely blurry 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.
Stir with a stout spoon or wooden spatula until the flour is moistened, and a shaggy dough develops.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth. And be sure to watch the video above to see the kneading technique.
Wrap the dough in cling film, and let rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Then call your insurance company, because a storm has erupted during your pierogi performance. As a result, the oldest pine tree on your property is now laying in the middle of a street, blocking traffic. And four sections of your cedar fence have blown over. (I’m not kidding here. All this destruction occurred while I was filming the aforementioned video.)
Filling and Forming the Pierogi
Storm or no storm, cut the dough in half, and roll it out to 1/8th-inch thickness.
Press out rounds that are 3 inches in diameter.
Transfer the rounds to a parchment lined baking sheet, and then roll and press out rounds from the remaining dough. You should end up with 12-15 rounds.
Top each disk with a tablespoon of the butternut squash mixture…
And fold them — as described in the video above — into half moons.
Working in batches, cook the pierogi in a large pot of boiling water until they float to the surface (about 3 minutes).
Then fish them out with a slotted spoon or “spider,” and place them on a parchment lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. You can serve the dumplings just as they are now, topped with melted butter and a sprinkling of chopped sage leaves. Otherwise, proceed as follows:
Crisping the Pierogi
Put some butter in a skillet over medium heat.
When the butter melts and its foam subsides, sauté the dumplings in batches until brown and crisp — about 2 minutes per side.
Divide the pierogi among plates. Top with melted butter, chopped sage leaves, and — for an extra special treat — a drizzling of maple syrup!
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Here’s the printable:
Pierogi with Butternut Squash and Sage
For the butternut squash filling:
- A butternut squash that weighs 3 pounds or slightly less
- olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 5 large or 7-10 small sage leaves, cut into small-ish pieces
For the Pierogi Dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For crisping the Pierogi:
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
Optional for serving the Pierogi:
- melted butter
- chopped sage leaves
- pure maple syrup
Making the butternut squash filling:
- Center the oven rack; preheat the oven to 400°F. Halve and seed the squash. Brush the cut side with olive oil, and then place the squash halves cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Bake until perfectly tender -- 40-50 minutes.
- When cool enough to handle, scoop the squash innards into a medium bowl. Add the salt, pepper, and cut sage leaves. Mash and stir the mixture with a potato masher to achieve a smooth puree. Taste carefully to correct seasonings. Set aside.
Making, filling, and forming the Pierogi dough:
- Tip the flour into a medium bowl. Add the sour cream, egg, olive oil, and salt. Stir until a shaggy dough dorms. Then pour the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface, and knead until smooth. Wrap the dough in cling film and let rest for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, add 4 quarts of water to a large pot, and set it to boil.
- Cut the dough in half. Roll one half into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Use a 3-inch (not smaller!) biscuit cutter or drinking glass to press out rounds. Transfer the rounds to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining dough -- you should end up with 12-15 rounds.
- Place one tablespoon of the squash mixture in the center of each round. Then stretch two ends of the dough up and over the filling, to form a half moon shape. Pinch edges to seal.
Boiling the Pierogi:
- Working in two or more batches, gently plunge the dumplings into the boiling water. Let them cook until they float to the surface -- usually 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked dumplings to a parchment lined (or just lightly-greased) baking sheet.
Crisping and serving the Pierogi:
- Put the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts and its foam subsides, fry the dumplings in batches until they are spotty brown and crisp -- about 2 minutes per side. Serve hot, topped with melted butter, chopped sage leaves, and, if you wish, a light drizzle of pure maple syrup.