One of the things I love the most about being a vegan is calling my mom and saying “guess what I ate” and her not believing me.  Sauerkraut is definitely one of those things!  I’ve been craving pirogies for years.  Years, I tell you.  The only problem is that I never knew I wanted them until I became a vegan and then couldn’t order them in restaurants.  My friends who had traveled to Poland plied story after story on me about the glories of the potato filled dumpling.  It was cruel and usual punishment.

A few weeks ago, I said enough is enough.  I’d bought sauerkraut for the Russian Soup and had some left over, so I decided to use it half and half with the potatoes as filler.  But then I ran across a recipe for a caramelized onion, sauerkraut, and mushroom base for the pirogies and fell in love with that idea.  I then made the pirogi dough, boiled the potatoes, cooked some onions, threw in some shredded mozzarella teese, filled the wrappers, and voila, delicious out-of-this world lightly fried doughy potatoey creamy goodness.  Everyone was right, they are heaven in a dumpling.

As for the sauerkraut, I had no idea I would love the stuff.  I’d never tried it until the soup–loved it–and then the bread–delish!–and now the onion mushroom base–fabulous!  The tang associated with sauerkraut mellows and the caramelized onions layer well with it.  I like the base because it makes a complete meal and doesn’t rely only on the pirogies and caramelized onions.  The meal was labor intensive, but oh-so-worth it, especially after I froze the leftover pirogies and boiled and fried them on demand when I wanted them.  I’m sure grandmothers are rolling over in their graves for my veganizaton of it all…but that’s good for them, excercise, right?!

Pirogies & Sauerkraut

I used this RecipeZaar recipe and this CookThink recipe, as well as my own genius (smile), to come up with the final dish.

For the Dough:
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp warm water
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl, and knead until smooth (it will still be kind of sticky).

Let the dough rest in the bowl (covered with a towel) for 30 minutes.

Separate the dough into 2 parts. Roll each half of the dough until about 1/8″ thick. Cut circles with a cookie cutter (i used a wine glass). Set aside.

For the Filling:
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chunked
pinch of salt
1 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1/2 c shredded teese (I used mozzarella, although I suppose cheddar would be more traditional)

Boil the potatoes in salted water like you’re making mashed potatoes.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion in the oil until translucent.

In a bowl, mash the potatoes with a fork and mix in the onions and teese. Set aside.

For the Sauerkraut Base:
8 tbsp Earth Balance
2 pounds onions, sliced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 (2-pound) jar sauerkraut, rinsed and drained well
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2/3 c water, plus more if necessary

In heavy, large Dutch oven (I used a stock pot) over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons Earth Balance. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in the sauerkraut and the flour, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the water. Cover the Dutch oven and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the sauerkraut is tender and the mixture is thick, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water by tablespoonfuls if mixture seems dry.

Mix in 2 tablespoons butter. Season generously with pepper.

Meanwhile, to Assemble and Cook the Pirogies:

Add a teaspoon or so of filling to each circle.

Fold the circles in half over the filling, and pinch closed. You can also press the edges with a fork to make sure they are sealed really well.

At this point you can freeze the pirogi for later, or you can cook them.

To cook them, place the pirogies in large pot of salted boiling water until heated through, 6 minutes. Drain.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, swirl a tablespoon of oil. Add the pierogies to the pan and lightly fry each side for 4 or 5 minutes.

Serve over bowls of the sauerkraut, mushroom mixture!