Pierogis are one food that can transport me back to happier times. Pierogis are well suited hard times and cold prairie winters. However, traditional pierogi recipes are not suited to gluten sensitive tummies.
This recipe, developed with the help of a friend, is an attempt to create a dish that can be enjoyed by those who cannot tolerate gluten but still crave some old fashioned, stick to your ribs bundles of pure happiness.
Like all good “peasant food,” pierogies are flexible. You can make them using only rice flour when tapioca flour is not available. You can omit the bacon if you want to make a vegetarian version. You can add onions or mushrooms. You can even use instant mashed potatoes and Cheese Whiz, which make some of the best tasting pierogis ever.
Gluten Free Cheese and Bacon Pierogis
Make about 36 pierogis
- 1 ½ cup rice flour
- ½ cup tapioca flour
- 1 1/3 cup potato starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons melted bacon fat, butter or vegetable oil
- Extra rice flour to flour your counter top
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I used ½ cup sharp cheddar and ½ cup Monterey Jack)
- 2 pieces bacon
- A splash of milk
A pot for the potatoes, frying pan, large bowl, round cookie cutter (or drinking glass), rolling pin, fork, cookie sheet and freezer containers if freezing your pierogies.
One of my favorite way to make pierogis is with my friend and pierogi mentor Heather. No way around it, pierogi making takes time. If you don’t have a friend to help you, at least make sure you are wearing comfortable footwear and have something good to listen to.
I started by making the filling. Fry up the bacon and let it drain and cool on some paper towel. Reserve the bacon fat for the dough. Peel and chop the potatoes. Add to boiling water with a bit of salt. Cook until tender. When the potatoes are fork tender, drain them and mash them using a bit of milk if needed. Add the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese is melted. Finely dice the bacon and stir into the mixture. Set aside.
Add all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork to combine. Add the wet ingredients. If you are not using bacon, you can substitute melted butter or vegetable oil for the melted bacon fat. Mix well. The resulting dough will be sticky but fairly stiff.
Use some of the extra rice flour to liberally flour your counter top. This dough is very sticky so do not skimp on the flour. Take a fist full of dough from the bowl, place it on the surface, dust it with flour and roll to about 1/8 to ¼ inch thick. Getting the thickness right can be tricky. Too thin and your pierogies will fall apart; too thick and your pierogies will taste too doughy. Use a largish, round cookie cutter to cut your dough into circles. You can also use a drinking glass if you don’t have a cookie cutter.
Add a scant teaspoon of filling to the center of the pierogi circle.
Moisten the perimeter of the circle with a water dampened finger. This will help the dough stick together. Fold the pierogi in half. I gently smush the filling into an oblong shape while I gently fold the pierogi in half. You must be very gentle as this is not a sturdy dough. Using a fork, press along the seam to further stick the edges of the pierogi together.
Use more water on your fingertip to smooth over any cracks. Check to make sure that there are no cracks and that the seam of the pierogi is fully sealed. If you don’t, your will have a messy potato and cheese soup when you boil them.
Keep going until all the pierogis are done. If you want to freeze them, lay the finished pierogis on a cookie tray and place them in your freezer until they are fully frozen.
Place the pierogis in a pot of boiling water and boil until the pierogies float to the top. Drain and fry them in butter until golden brown. Serve with sour cream.
Your choice of filling will influence the final price of your pierogies. I was lucky as bacon and cheese were both on sale last week. It cost me about $6.24 to make 36 pierogis, meaning that each little bundle of gluten free happiness cost about $0.18 each.
Price per unit
Cost for this recipe
|1 ½ cup rice flour||$0.005 per gram||$0.96|
|½ cup tapioca flour||$0.007 per gram||$0.50|
|1 teaspoon baking powder||$0.01 per gram||$0.04|
|2 teaspoons xanath powder||$0.07 per gram||$0.56|
|1 1/3 cup potato starch||0.008 per gram||$1.50|
|2 eggs||$2.54 a dozen or $0.25 each||$0.50|
|2 teaspoons butter (or bacon fat)||I used left over bacon fat||$0.00|
|2 medium potatoes||About $0.24 per potato||$0.48|
|1 cup shredded cheese||$1.16|
|2 pieces of bacon||About $0.35 per piece||$0.70|
|½ cup rice flour to flour counter and rolling pin||$0.005 per gram||$0.32|
|$6.72 for 36 or $0.18 each|
How about you? What childhood foods transport you back to the past?