Pierogies with Fried Sage and Butternut Squash  

Who loves pierogies? I do, I do! These pierogies with fried sage and butternut squash are delightful! They are made from scratch, so they're a little messy and take some dedication in the kitchen, which is why I'd recommend making them on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. But they are really fun to make and the process is extremely simple! 

The funny thing is that when I do “play” with flour, I often remember the stories my mom and my sisters would tell me about my twin brother and I diving into flour when we were toddlers. My brother and I knew how to get beyond the child locks in seconds, and when my mom wasn’t looking, we let the flour fly across the kitchen. I still remember doing this to some degree, but those memories are aided by a few funny pictures to document the events, which I’d love to dig up for you sometime, but not today. I suppose you could say these were some of my first foodie experiences! Regardless, being a twin was so much fun sometimes (and still is!).

Whether or not you like playing with flour for nostalgic reasons, you will enjoy making these pierogies. The butternut squash adds a little extra pizzaz than the average pierogi, which tend to have a couple simple ingredients, like sauerkraut and sour cream. I love the simple recipes too, but I really prefer to see color in every meal, which is why I also added the fried sage. 

As a serving size, I recommend about 4-5 pierogies for a reasonable portion and to serve them up with a side salad for an extra healthful touch. Salad tip: toss some greens you have on hand with sliced shallots, balsamic vinegar, a drizzling of olive oil, and crumbled queso fresco. So much yum!

Pierogis with Fried Sage and Butternut Squash  

Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Serves: 4-6
Yields: About 20-25 pierogis

1 large head of cabbage, quartered, core removed
8 tbsp butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups flour
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp sour cream
1/2 cup hot water
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small bunch fresh sage leaves, stems removed
3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
4 cups butternut squash, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Sour cream, to serve

Steam cabbage in a rice cooker according to rice cooker directions or in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling salted water, The pot should only be ¼ full of water. Cook cabbage until tender, about 6 minutes each side. Transfer cabbage to a plate to cool. Then squeeze out as much liquid from the cabbage as possible and transfer to a medium mixing bowl. 

While cabbage steams, heat butter in a medium skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add cheese and reserved cabbage and stir in until cheese just starts to melt. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add flour and form a well in the center. Add egg yolks, 1 tsp salt, and sour cream into the center. With your hands, gently blend the ingredients together until just combined, adding a little water at a time. Knead the dough in the bowl (or on a lightly floured surface if desired), adding more water if necessary, until firm and smooth. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then cut in half.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one dough half into 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out rounds of dough with a 3-inch biscuit cutter. Form remaining dough scraps into a ball and roll out again, continuing to cut out rounds. Repeat with other dough half.

Brush a bit of water around the edges of each round. Pick up a dough round and hold in one hand, spooning a bit of the filling into the center. Fold one end over the filling into a half circle and press to seal the edges, folding over edges into pleats if desired. Repeat with remaining rounds. 

Heat a pot of boiling salted water. Add about half of the pierogis and cook for 10 minutes, until the pierogis float to the surface. Set aside and repeat with remaining pierogis.

In a small skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sage and cook until crisp, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer sage to a paper towel lined plate. 

Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallots and butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots have softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in ½ cup water and brown sugar and bring to a simmer and cook, covered, but stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, about 10 minutes. 

Add pierogis to shallots and squash with with balsamic vinegar and cook for 3 minutes, until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately on plates garnished with a dollop of sour cream and fried sage.