Throw Some Pierogi In Your Potato Soup For A Super Easy Upgrade

pierogi with bacon
pierogi with bacon - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Spring and summer are the obvious stars of seasonal cooking -- after all, it's hard to argue with fresh fruits and vegetables. But winter has culinary charms all its own: the warmth and aroma of freshly-baked breads and pies; the smokey-salty-sweetness of preserved meats like bacon and andouille sausage; different-but-no-less-wonderful jarred versions of summer's bounty in the form of fruit preserves, pickled vegetables, and canned tomatoes; and hearty soups and stews made from root vegetables like onions, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. Few things are more deeply satisfying than a well-made potato soup, after all -- and the next time that dish strikes your fancy, consider enriching it with those magnificent little stuffed dumplings known as pierogis, boiled and fried crisp in butter.

The pierogi is the Polish version of dumplings, which have been around since time immemorial in China, and are typically filled with veggies savory meat and vegetables. Essentially, they're palm-sized dumplings made from unleavened wheat dough and stuffed with, well, you name it: meat, sweet or savory cheese, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, mashed potatoes, lentils, fruit, and so on. The dumplings are typically boiled and then pan-fried in butter until crispy, often served with accompaniments like sour cream, cabbage, bacon, caramelized onions, and occasionally drizzled with more butter! Now, imagine encountering these delights in a bowl of creamy potato soup.

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Your Many Pierogi Options

cabbage and mushroom pierogi
cabbage and mushroom pierogi - Arkadiusz Fajer/Shutterstock

It's not necessary to master pierogi-making to test drive this pairing idea: there are lots of different brands of frozen pierogi available, featuring several different fillings. In addition to the traditional mashed potato-and-cheese versions, you can also avail yourself of frozen pierogi stuffed with potatoes and mushrooms, cheddar cheese (with or without jalapeno), sweet farmer's cheese, sauerkraut, broccoli -- you get the idea. Smaller-sized dumplings are also available; perfect for enriching a bowl of soup.

If you've decided on making your own pierogi, your choices of how to make the dough and what to stuff the dumplings with are virtually without limits. (The process itself can be fiddly when it comes to sealing in the stuffing, but otherwise a cinch for the home baker. Start with this easy potato cheese pierogi recipe.) Beyond that, you can choose the pierogi stuffing you'd most like to add to potato soup -- after all, there are few foods better suited as a foil for such a wide variety of textures and flavors than the humble potato.

The Potato Canvas On Which To Paint Your Pierogi Masterpiece

a bowl of potato soup
a bowl of potato soup - Clarkandcompany/Getty Images

It's amazing to think that a relatively bland, starchy root vegetable is responsible for so many culinary gifts: perfectly-browned French fries, crunchy potato chips, cheesy gratins, and buttery mash. The kind potato you choose to make soup with depends chiefly on your desired texture: want something creamy? Pick yellow or Yukon Gold. Into some chunks, or want to keep the skins on? Try red, waxy, or fingerling varieties. Into a baked potato soup? Go with baking potatoes, natch. No matter what, you'll want to decorate your soup with add ons, not unlike a loaded baked potato.

Why? Because potatoes aren't assertively-flavored; instead, they are a foil, ready to take on other flavors and textures. Different pierogi fillings can make for perfect potato soup additions, filling your mouth with complementary flavors like farmer's or cheddar cheese, earthy sautéed mushrooms, sweet caramelized onions, or the meaty deliciousness of ground pork, lamb, or beef, seasoned and browned to perfection, encased in a buttery-crisp dumpling wrapper. (Speaking of, if you're making a batch of soup designed to last a few days -- and you should, leftovers are always better -- it's best to make your pierogi per serving and add them to the bowl right before eating. It's the best way to preserve their texture and integrity.)

Read the original article on Daily Meal.