Why It Works
- Sour cream in the dough creates a tender, light dumpling.
- A combination of provolone and mozzarella delivers a maximum of both flavor and meltiness.
- The pierogi can be made in advance and frozen for future use.
As someone who has spent my whole life in the greater Philadelphia area, I'm most content when there's a big, greasy Philly cheesesteak sandwich full of thinly shaved steak, sweet onions, and melted cheese in front of me. So much so that when I'm not frequenting local cheesesteak joints,* I'm dreaming up new ways to incorporate those components into all sorts of other things. I've made cheesesteak potato skins, cheesesteak calzones, and cheesesteak stuffed mushrooms that were positively overflowing. But my favorite of them all was cheesesteak pierogi.
*If you're in Philly, be sure to check out our guide to the best cheesesteak sandwiches.
It's a creation that takes many cues from classic cheesesteak cookery, but I've made some tweaks here and there. For instance, instead of quickly frying the onions, which is how most cheesesteak shops do it, I slowly cook the alliums so that they caramelize, bringing out much more of their sweetness. Half of them go into the filling, the other half are added as a topping later.
The steak, on the other hand, does follow cheesesteak canon: It's sliced very thinly and cooked quickly over high heat. If it takes more than a minute to cook through, then the steak is too thick. Freezing the steak first can help you get thinner slices, though you can also just ask the butcher or the meat cutter at your local grocery store to shave it for you.
And just like for a good cheesesteak, I chop the meat after cooking to make sure there are no large pieces—a step that is arguably even more important for a dumpling filling. To finish the filling, I just mix together the chopped cooked meat, onions, and a mixture of shredded provolone and mozzarella, which together give a great combination of both flavor and gooey meltiness. If you're a purist, you can omit the mozzarella and just use extra provolone in its place. I'm not wedded to that level of tradition, but I put my foot down with Cheez Whiz: It's a no-go here.
As for the dough, I take a trick from the Pittsburgh-style pierogi rulebook by adding sour cream to it. While it may not be the traditional way pierogi dough is prepared in Poland, the sour cream improves the dough's texture, making it more tender and helping prevent it from cracking or breaking when being rolled out.
I roll the dough out, cut it into three-inch circles, then place the filling in the center of each round. I brush the edges with water, folding each in half and pinching the seams together to seal. Use a fork to make decorative indentations along the edges.
At this point, they can be frozen and saved for easy meals and snacks, or you can go straight to cooking them for dinner.
To cook the pierogi, they first have to be briefly boiled. After a few minutes of gentle boiling, I drain them and then cook them in butter until browned. Just before they're done, I toss in the reserved caramelized onions to heat them through.
Bite into one to reveal a pocket of juicy steak and sweet onions coated with melted cheese. I'm pretty sure even the most devoted cheesesteak enthusiast will approve.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided, plus more as needed
10 ounces thinly sliced steak, such as ribeye or top round (see notes)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese
1 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Add egg, 1 cup sour cream, and 4 tablespoons softened butter. Stir until well combined and the dough pulls away from the bowl. If dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of water at a time until it comes together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 48 hours.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add sliced onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 30 minutes. Roughly chop half the onion and transfer to a large bowl; set the other half of onions aside.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and increase heat to high. Season steak with salt and pepper and, working in batches, sauté, stirring, until just cooked though, about 1 minute per batch; add more oil to pan if needed. Remove from heat and roughly chop. Add chopped steak to the chopped onions and toss in both shredded cheeses. Mix to evenly distribute and set aside to cool.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out to a sheet about 1/16 inch thick. Using a 3-inch circular cookie cutter or the top of a glass, cut the dough into circles. Roll the excess dough into a new dough ball and wrap with plastic wrap; let rest for 5 minutes, then roll out and repeat. Discard any remaining dough scraps.
Place 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each dough round. Working one at a time, use a wet finger to moisten the edge of each round with water, then fold into a semi-circle around the filling. Gently pinch edge together to seal, then press with tines of fork to make pleated edge. At this point, the pierogi can be frozen and saved for later use, if desired (to freeze, arrange pierogi on parchment-lined baking sheets and freeze, then transfer to zipper-lock bags and return to freezer until ready to use).
Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil and add fresh or frozen pierogi in small batches. Boil until they float to the top and are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain in a colander. Repeat until all of the pierogi have been boiled.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons butter to a nonstick skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Working in batches, sauté pierogi until crisp and browned on each side, about 6 minutes per batch. In the last few minutes of cooking the last batch, add the reserved onions to the pan to heat through.
Transfer pierogi to a plate, top with the warmed onions and garnish with parsley. Serve with sour cream.
Steak must be sliced very thinly. To do so, it helps to freeze it first, then shave with a sharp knife. Alternatively, ask your butcher to shave the steak for you.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 11g||14%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||28%|
|Total Carbohydrate 9g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||4%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|