Can I see a show of hands for people who are absolutely mad for pierogies? I don’t see how there could be a much more perfect food: mashed potatoes and cheese (or maybe onions) wrapped up in a perfect pasta pocket.
Pierogies almost reduce my linguistic skills to guttural noises. Uhhhhnnnnnn.
For years upon years, I’ve made pierogies one of two ways: pan-fried with butter and onions (HELLO CHOLESTEROL) or baked. “Baked pierogies?” you ask? Oh yeah. Big time. It’s the fast, furious, fabulous way to make pierogies… no need to thaw them, just toss them with some oil and spices and throw them onto a sheet pan and into a hot oven. While they heat, they get puffy and turn a gentle golden brown. Crispy edges around smooth, fluffy mashed potatoes and cheese. Is anyone else drooling?
I wouldn’t have thought it could get any better than that until one night when I was DREADFULLY busy and needed a fast meal to feed my family. I cut up a couple packages of kielbasa, tossed some halved baby bell peppers and sliced onion with some olive oil and salt, and threw all of them around the edges of the sheet pan I had loaded up with pierogies. I banged that pan into the oven and went off to finish the project that was looming. Within fifteen minutes my house smelled so good I was tempted to gnaw on the ankle of some small passing child or dog.
Within thirty minutes I was taking a tray of plump, juicy, brown kielbasa, puffy pierogies, and lightly charred onions and bell peppers from the oven.
A little bit of everything from the pan made it onto our dinner plates (minus the scary, frightening bell peppers for the anti-veg crew) along with a lovely spoonful of grainy mustard, a salad (which is -inexplicably but still gratefully- okay with the anti-veg contingent) and dinner was served. Then it was devoured. Then it was requested again and again and again.
Ah, simplicity. You taste so darned good.
- 2, 14 ounce packages Kielbasa (I like Hillshire Farms brand because it's readily available.)
- 2 medium onions, peeled, halved, and cut into ½-inch thick strips
- 12 baby bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and halved (or 2 large bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into ½-inch thick strips)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 24 frozen pierogies
- 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco or preferred hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon granulated onion or onion powder
- any robust mustard like grainy Dijon, smooth Dijon, spicy brown, etc...
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cut the kielbasa into 4-6 inch lengths and arrange around the outside of the sheet pan. Toss the onions and bell peppers with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl then use your hands or tongs to move it to the pan, depositing it between the lengths of kielbasa.
- In the same large mixing bowl you used for the peppers and onions, toss the pierogies with the remaining ingredients to coat, then arrange those in the center of the sheet pan. The goal is to get as many pierogies touching the surface of the pan as possible. Try not to have multiple layers of pierogies. Place the pan in the oven. After 15 minutes, try to remember to flip the pierogies over, having any that weren't touching the pan do so now. If you forget, it's not a disaster, but they'll be better if you remember.
- Bake an additional 15 minutes, for a total of 30 minutes or until the pierogies are puffy and beginning to show signs of golden brown around the edges, the sausages are plump, and the onions are crisp tender. Serve immediately with a nice salad.