My family is originally from Lithuania, and we’ve been making Meat Pierogis (or as our family calls them, Meat Dumplings) for generations. Much like tamales, this is definitely an undertaking for the whole family!
Plan to make the meat filling before you begin. Because assembly and cooking of the dumplings is time-consuming, we generally make the meat filling the day before (or even earlier, and freeze it).
There are two filling options below: the original beef version, and a lower-fat turkey version. We very often make a double batch of each:) Assembly of this many dumplings usually takes a group of 6-8 people 2-3 hours to make, including cooking time.
You’ll find the full recipe at the bottom of this page. But first, here’s an overview of the assembly and cooking process, along with a few tips:
- Begin heating water in a couple of LARGE boiling pots. You want the water at a rolling boil before cooking the dumplings, so you want to start this first.
- Roll out the dough on a large flat surface (give yourself plenty of room). We often use the whole kitchen table or the island in the kitchen.
- Then, find a cup or lid in your kitchen that’s about 4″ in diameter, and cut circles in the dough.
- Place a circle of dough in the palm of your hand, and add about a tablespoon of meat to the center of the dough. Be careful, not to get the meat on the outer rim of the dough, as it will make it more difficult to seal.
- Wet the outer rim of the dough with your fingertips (keep a cup of water handy to dip your fingers in).
- Fold dough in half, around the meat, and pinch the edges. Make sure that it’s completely sealed – a small opening will become bigger when cooking.
- Place the pre-cooked dumpling on a plate that’s been lightly sprinkled with flower (to keep the dumplings from sticking to the plate). You want to have a batch of dumplings ready for each pot of water.
- Once the water is boiling, carefully drop 6-8 dumplings into each pot.
- Cook in boiling water for approximately 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove cooked dumplings from the pot, and place in a shallow dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. You can create 2-3 layers of dumplings in a single dish, if you spray each layer with some cooking spray (this prevents layers from sticking together).
- Salt to taste, and enjoy!
Many hands make light work!!
Meat Dumpling Recipe
1½ lbs. ground beef, browned
½ lb. bacon, chopped and fried (make into fried bacon bits)
¾ lb. ham, diced in tiny bits
1 med. onion, grated & sautéed (you can put it into ground beef as it browns)
1½ lbs. ground turkey, browned
¼ cup bacon bits (the kind you buy in a jar at the store)
¾ lb. Turkey ham, diced in tiny bits
½ med. onion, grated & sautéed (you can put it into the ground turkey as it browns)
- Mix meat and onions.
- After meat mix is cool, add 2-3 eggs.
- Salt to taste (easy salt because bacon and ham are already salty).
3 cups warm water
1 cup dry mashed potato mix
6 cups self-rising flour
- Combine water and potato mix.
- Add liquid to self-rising flour until sticky dough forms (dough will become drier as it’s rolled out with flour on the board and rolling pin).
- Roll out dough on floured board – approx. ¼ – 1/8 inch thick.
- Cut circles approximately 4” diameter (across).
- Fill with meat; moisten edges, fold and seal. Do not overfill.
- Put 8-10 dumplings in an extra large pot of boiling water.
- Boil 10 minutes.
- Remove from water, cool and eat.
- Dumpling filling can be frozen before assembly OR whole dumplings can be frozen after they’re cooked.
- To reheat, you can just microwave OR cook them in a pan with a little butter.