Polish Pierogies-Discovering Culture through Food

PUBLISHED ON: 04.01.2012

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!


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