According to our friends at Trafalgar, many believe that Poland’s national dish, the pierogi, has its roots in the Far East as a version of Chinese dumplings brought back to Europe by Marco Polo. Others think the Tatars brought pierogi west from the former Russian Empire. Popular legend, however, credits Saint Hyacinth, the patron saint of pierogi, for bringing these tasty treats to Poland.
You can find versions of pierogis throughout Europe, most notably in neighboring Belarus, Slovakia and Ukraine. You’ll be ordering pirohy in Slovakia and pirogge in Germany. And, Canadians and Americans, who trace their roots back to Poland and Ukraine, have also developed a long term love affair with homemade perogies. In fact, Canadians love perogies so much, that the small town of Glendon in Alberta, erected a 27-foot tall statue of a perogy in 1993. The United States went as far as declaring 8 October ‘National Pierogi Day’.
With an endless array of cooking styles, flavors and fillings, pierogis will not disappoint. People have been experimenting with different variations of homemade pierogi for hundreds of years. Eat them warm, cold, steamed, baked, fried or boiled…whichever way is your favorite! And be sure to try one of the most popular methods: boil them first in lightly salted water (approximately 8 minutes) and then sauté them in melted butter until golden. Delicious!
On the off chance you have any pierogis left over, they freeze well and can be reheated in the oven.
Whatever cooking method you choose, the secret to a delicious homemade pierogi is in the dough. For the softest, lightest dough (whatever combination of flour, water, eggs, salt or butter the recipe calls for…several options are listed below), remember to knead gently. Dough that is handled too much leads to pierogis that may be heavy and chewy. So, make sure you apply a light touch and knead as gently as possible before allowing the dough to rest.
DOUGH RECIPESFROM FOOD.COM:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 egg
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
Mix all ingredients lightly and knead until smooth. Rest the dough, covered, for 30 minutes. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into circles with a biscuit cutter or floured glass.FROM ALLRECIPES.COM:
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 egg, beaten
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center. In another bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Pour into the well, combine and knead lightly. Cover and let rest for 2 hours before rolling out.FROM FINECOOKING.COM:
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 cup water
In a large bowl, combine the flour, eggs, sour cream and ½ of the water. Slowly add the rest of the water until the mixture comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly until well blended and the dough is smooth. Form a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 20 minutes before rolling it out.FROM FOODNETWORK.COM:
- 1 pint sour cream
- 5 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons oil (olive is recommended)
Combine all ingredients and knead gently into a soft dough. Cover and let rest 10 minutes before rolling out, working with ½ of the dough at a time.
The wonderful thing about pierogis is you can fill them with about anything that suits your fantasy. Try some of these favorites or create your own fabulous flavor combination.
- Christmas pierogi are often filled with sauerkraut and mushrooms.
- Easter pierogi are stuffed potato and cheese.
- Mashed potatoes with cream cheese, or with cheese and onion, or even with sauerkraut.
- Cooked mincemeat with sauerkraut and mushrooms.
- Slow-roasted meat (of your choice) and potato.
- Potato, mushroom and caramelized onion.
- Spinach and artichoke.
You can even turn pierogis into a sweet treat! Try stuffing them with seasonal fruits like plums, apricots, blueberries, cherries or strawberries, and once cooked, add a dollop of cream and a sprinkle of sugar. You’ll have the perfect dessert, no matter the time of year.