While my background is Lithuanian, I grew up in the heavily Portuguese state of Rhode Island. Chourico, a.k.a Portuguese sausage, was one Luso-American food item that you could find at any grocery store, from Walmart to Stop to Shop to Whole Foods. A simple weeknight go-to that my mom would serve up was a plate of seared Chourico sausage, creamy mashed potatoes and steamed sweet peas. I loved forking a slice of sausage and swiping it through the mashed potatoes, gathering up a few peas along the way for a spicy, creamy, sweet bite. These pierogi pay homage to this humble dinner, with creamy mashed potatoes swirled with cheddar and feta and spiked with bits of spicy Portuguese chourico and sweet green peas. Each bite pays homage to my Lithuanian heritage as well as growing up in a state with different food traditions.
- 1 lb golden or Yukon potatoes, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
- 1 cup cheddar, shredded
- ½ cup block feta, crumbled
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 fresh Portuguese chourico link, casing removed and crumbled (or chopped into small pieces if using turkey chourico). Cook for 5-10 minutes in a non-stick pan with a dash of oil until heated through.
- ½ c frozen peas
Dough (adapted from Bonnie Frumpkin’s Kachka):
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Sour cream
- Caramelized onions
- First, make the dough by mixing together the flour and salt in a stand mixer with a dough hook. With the mixer on low, add the egg and slowly pour in the water until the dough comes together. Increase mixer speed to medium and knead for 8 minutes. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, make the filling. Boil sliced potatoes in salted water until very tender. Drain, then place hot potatoes into a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low, add the cheddar, feta, butter, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Remove bowl and stir in peas and cooked chourico. Refrigerate until your dough is ready to use.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. To assemble classic-shaped pierogi, cut dough into two pieces, cover one with a damp towel and roll the other out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Use a 3-inch circle cookie cutter or large cup to cut out rounds in dough. Fill each round with 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp of filling. Fold one side over and pinch to seal (you can wet the edge with a little water if you’d like, but I usually find the dough sticky enough to do without). Place finished pierogi on the prepared sheet pan and cover with a damp towel as you continue. Once done, use immediately or freeze on the sheet pans.
- To serve, heat water in a pot until boiling. Add fresh pierogi about 6 at a time and cook until they float to the surface (about 4 minutes), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Use a slotted spoon to remove and place in a bowl with butter. Toss, and serve with sour cream and caramelized onions.