Polish Pierogies-Discovering Culture through Food

I always feel lucky when someone shares a recipe with me.  Sharing a favorite family recipe is opening a window to their table, to their world and an opportunity for me to discover something new.

Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to enjoy traditional Polish foods brought to me by a new friend.  Ola knows I enjoy food and she has graced me with the opportunity to enjoy handmade pierogies,  rustic European breads and a cold summer soup (a borscht of sorts) filled with beets, fennel and loads of other mild fresh vegetables.  I am honored, honored that she wants to share her food and  culture with me.  I have really enjoyed the opportunity.

To honor her, I tried my hand at making authentic Polish pierogies based on the recipe that she shared with me. Although not difficult, it was a labor of love. If you are not familiar with perogies it is a dumpling that can be filled with potatoes, meat or vegetables, that is then sauteed after being boiled.  Periogies are a traditional food that are enjoyed in Eastern Europe and Russia.

I made two types of perogies. The first was a mushroom and sauerkraut that was quite good.  The second was a potato, cheddar and bacon pierogie, a favorite of my son.

I discovered that playing with dough was almost as much fun as playing in the dirt in my garden.


The result was plenty of pierogies that could be frozen for later use and a new appreciation for the simplicity of ingredients, that produce amazing flavors.
Homemade Authentic Polish PierogiesMushroom and Sauerkraut
Recipe adapted from Ola Jaskolska
Ingredients for Pierogi Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of butter or oil
1 large egg, whisked
1-1/8 cups warm water
Note: I cheated here and added about a 1/4 cup of sour cream
Directions:
Sift the flour to a bowl.  Make a pit in the flour, add salt, butter or oil, sour cream (optional) and the egg.  Gradually, add water,  Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead the dough till it becomes soft and flexible (about 10 minutes).
Divide the dough in sections to roll it out easily (ideally, the dough should be  about 1/8 inch-thick).  Cut circles of dough (2″ for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2 ” for large pierogies).  You can roll each circle again to make it a little bit stretched.  It will help to seal the pierogies after filling them. 
Mushroom and Sauerkraut Filling

Ingredients:
A big jar/can of sauerkraut, that is shredded finely, drained
Fresh mushrooms (any variety or mixture is good)
2 onions, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter or oil
Directions:
Melt butter in a medium frying pan. Over medium heat, add onions, mushrooms and sauerkraut, salt and pepper, until onions are soft.  Put aside.
Preparing the Pierogies:
Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle.  Press the edges together with the tines of a fork.  Each batch of dough makes abut 12-15 pierogies, depending on size.

Boil the pierogies a few at a time in a large pot of water.  They are done when they float to the top (about 8-10 minutes).  Rinse in cool water and let dry.

Melt butter in a large frying pan (you can add chopped onions too, saute until soft).  Then add the pierogies and pan fry until lightly crispy.  Serve with a side of sour cream or salad.

Enjoy!


36 thoughts on “Polish Pierogies-Discovering Culture through Food

  1. My mother-in-law could turn out those delicious like \”packages\” quicker than the water could boil to start them off in. She did many different kinds including blueberry and cherry filled ones for dessert. I've never attempted them. We do have many sources to get them fresh around Chicago. There are also many festivals that serve them as well. I am tempted to try making my own–someday.Best,Bonnie

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  2. Great that you are learning new cooking that you can help keep alive by passing it on – too much is being lost. I've been wanting to make these and they will be perfect to try out our 3 1/2\” empanada/pierogi/meat pie/fruit pie/ mini-calzone maker

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  3. Pierogies are like our sambuseks, just different; have a French friend married to a Russian whose first task when she married the man was to learn how to make these; would love to make them too and I adore these fillings!

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  4. I am part Polish. My grandmother would make hundreds at a time. Fond memories. I love them! I will send you our Family recipe to add to your collection, they are slightly different. Reading your post brought back warm fuzzy feelings … A bit teary. Karen B.

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  5. We had Polish friends when I was younger and she gave me two recipes. This was one and the other was a cookie called Kolacky. Double yum on both recipes!Love the filling here, Velva!

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  6. Oh my! I am so excited because the other day I wanted to make Chinese dumplings but couldn't find a recipe I really trusted and this is a nice twist/related recipe that I can see really works. Can't wait to give it a shot!

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  7. When we moved to Wisconsin, my NC sister-in-law came to see us and was fascinated with the German/Polish influence there. She commented on it as we rode around town one day. She pointed a sign and said, \”Look–EVERYTHING is Polish up here!\” The sign said CARS – Wash and Polish.

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  8. Ohhhh, I LOVE perogies, Velva!! 🙂 My favorite ones are the potato, cheddar and bacon. 🙂 Slathered in sour cream and even MORE bacon. So naughty but absolutely wonderful. 🙂

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  9. Velva – Looks like your first try at pierogies was a major success! Pierogies are very popular where I'm from in northern Ohio. In fact, they sell them with nearly 100 different fillings. At home I can only find Mrs. T's. Definitely need to start making my own. Love this post!

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  10. Oh Velva,I have never heard of perogies before!! They seem so easy to make!! I may add a little cheese with everything else!! Thanks much!

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