Cheddar & Sauerkraut Pierogies with Bacon Rhubarb Relish
crispy cheddar & sauerkraut pierogies with a sweet bacon rhubarb relish
yield: 5-6 dozen pierogies
2 (32 oz) jars sauerkraut
½ stick butter
2 large Vidalia onions, diced
kosher salt and black pepper, as needed
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sour cream
½ cup water, plus more if needed
1 loaf Tillamook extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
cooked sauerkraut (from above)
flaky sea salt, for serving
Bacon Rhubarb Relish
8 oz raw bacon, diced
4 stalks rhubarb, diced
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 tsp minced chives
Drain the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sauerkraut, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let cook for about 45 minutes to an hour until tender. Drain the sauerkraut again and let cool slightly.
In another pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and let sauté until tender and slightly caramelized, about 8 minutes. Squeeze the sauerkraut to really get the water out and add it to the onions. Let the sauerkraut “fry” in the pan for just about 10 minutes. Season the mixture with a good amount of salt and black pepper. Let cool.
Pour the flour into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sour cream until smooth. Whisk in the water. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour and stir to combine. Gradually add more water as needed, stirring until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth, just about 4-5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Forming, Filling, and Boiling
Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and cut it into 4 pieces. Work with one piece at a time and keep the rest of the dough covered. Roll the dough out into a thin sheet, about 1/6” thick. Use a circular, 4” cookie cutter to cut out circles of dough. Place a small mound of the sauerkraut mixture into the center of the circle (reserve 2 cups of sauerkraut for the relish below), followed by about a teaspoon of shredded cheddar. Brush the edge of the dough with water. Fold the dough in half, keeping the filling tucked tightly in the center. Seal and crimp the edges. Gently transfer the pierogi to a lightly floured tray and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining dough to form all of the pierogies.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, boil the pierogies for a few minutes until they float to the surface. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to dry.
Bacon Rhubarb Relish and Finishing
In a large cast-iron skillet, add the bacon. Let the bacon render over medium heat until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and set aside. Keep the bacon fat in the skillet.
Working in batches, sear the dried pierogies in the hot bacon fat over medium heat until golden brown on one side. Flip them over and sear on the other side. Transfer the pierogies to a platter and keep warm.
In the same pan you cooked the pierogies in, quickly add the diced rhubarb to the hot bacon fat, again over medium heat. Sauté for just a minute or two until slightly tender. Add in the reserved 2 cups of sauerkraut and heat through. Stir in the brown sugar, butter, fresh thyme, chives, and cooked bacon. Let the sugar and butter come to a bubble for a few minutes before transferring the relish to a bowl.
Serve the pierogies with a pinch of flaky sea salt over top and the bacon rhubarb relish as an accompaniment.
I recommend making the full recipe amount and then freezing some of the boiled pierogies if you won’t need them all immediately. You can then defrost them in the refrigerator and finish them as instructed.