Sunday, June 24, 2012

Food Network Monthly Cookalong: Perogi Truck Dreams (Part 1)

I've seen a few pierogi food trucks on Eat Street and I gotta say...I have no clue how they make pierogi into fast food! It is a labour of love that always takes me a full day and I only make about 120 when I do a big batch. I'm guessing the secret lies in a dough sheeter or maybe some magic or maybe they have someone's grammie hiding in the back mass producing them. I swear I remember one truck saying she served over a 1000 some days!

I loved pierogi before I was vegan but never would have considered making them myself until I realized it wasn't easy to find a vegan version commercially. I'm so glad I found a recipe in Vegan Brunch and decided to take the time to learn how to make them. I think I enjoy them more now knowing the effort I put into them and I love that I can customize the fillings. After seeing a few food trucks do them, I started to think about what kind of pierogi I would want to make if I were on a food truck. Ryan and I had a brainstorming session and came up with tons of ideas but the ones that stood out were Cheeseburger, Shepherd's Pie, Poutine and Apple Strudel. I decided Father's Day would be a perfect date to try them out. We would have a pierogi feast! I have to say on the other end of the whole thing that maybe I should have been a little less ambitious but it was all worth it once I tasted them and heard the mmms around the table!

For the dough, I use Isa's recipe from Vegan Brunch with the only change being that I use olive oil in place of  the canola oil. Not because I think it's better, just that I buy big ol' bottles of olive oil at Costco so I always have lots on hand. Once you have made your dough, rolled it out and cut the circles you can stuff them with these tasty new fillings! Just because of the length each recipe will take I will be making four separate posts, one for each recipe. (The cooking method for the pierogi is always going to be the same so I will just refer to Step 3 and 4 from this post in the other recipes.)

Cheeseburger Pierogi

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb frozen vegetarian ground crumbles (I used PC Blue Menu brand but Gardein would work as well)
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 cup beefy broth 
1 tbsp reduced sodium tamari
3 tbsp dill pickle, finely diced
1/4 cup cheese sauce (use your favourite and make extra to top them with, I recommend the cheese sauce from Hearty Vegan for the Irish Nachos)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil for frying

To Top Them
Burger Sauce (Vegenaise mixed with a small bit of ketchup, mustard, chopped dill pickle and some pickle juice from the jar)
Cheese Sauce (again use your favourite still recommending the one from Hearty Vegan)
Finely Diced Dill Pickles 

1. Using a large saute pan over high heat, warm the olive oil and then add in the frozen crumbles and onion. Pan fry it, stirring occasionally until the onion is slightly softened. Add in the beefy broth and tamari and continue to cook, letting the broth reduce until there is almost none left.

2. Remove from heat and stir in the pickles and cheese sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper if you feel it needs it.  Let cool, then fill pierogi. After filling and shaping, I froze them for about two hours which made them easier to handle for the cooking process.

3. To cook, bring a large pot of water to boil. Place a few pierogi in the pot and boil for just a few minutes. You want them to float. Remove them from the water and place on paper towel just to remove the water on the outside but don't leave them too long or the paper towel will start to stick. Once dried, place them on a sheet pan that is either lined with parchment/wax paper or lightly oiled.

4. After you have boiled all the pierogi, get a deep saute pan and pour in olive oil until you have about two inches in the pan leaving more than two inches of pan above the oil. This is a food truck dish so we are going to deep fry (click here for deep frying tips) these suckers! Heat the oil until it shimmers. Fry them in batches of four or five, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Flip them after about thirty seconds or so and cook until the outside is bubbly and light in colour on both sides. My mom and I argue over this, she likes them really browned, I like them lighter, the choice is yours. It should only take a few minutes to fully cook them. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Keep them in a 200F oven to keep them warm while you fry the rest.

5. To serve: Place a few pierogi down on the plate (or basket like we used), smother in your favourite cheesy sauce, squirt a few lines of ketchup and mustard over the top, sprinkle the top with finely diced dill pickles and serve the burger sauce on the side for dipping!

Makes enough to fill 18 pierogi


  1. Your posts are amazing! I am seriously dreaming about making these. :)

  2. Oh I am so glad you are enjoying them! I'm enjoying your sandwiches too!