Pierogi – the sweet or savory appetizer, snack or meal or dessert!
I always come back from my trip, inspired to recreate some of the local cuisine that I tasted. This post is dedicated to a new found love of Polish Pierogi.
For the love of Pierogi
Pierogi (pronounced pih-ROH-ghee) are dumplings which are filled with sweet or savory filings and cooked in boiling water. The dough is an unleavened dough made with four simple ingredients. There are a wide range of different fillings. Typical pierogi fillings include potato, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese and seasonal fruit. Once made, pierogi are cooked in boiling water and can be eaten as is, or, as I prefer, panfried in some butter and oil to make them crispy!
Making pierogis is a family tradition with skills learned from grandmothers, but thankfully, they are not too difficult to learn to make, if like me, you don’t have a Polish grandmother.
Traditional Pierogi fillings
Pierogi Ruskie – cottage cheese and potatoes
Fruit – filled with seasonal fruits eg blueberry, strawberry
Christmas Eve – sauerkraut and mushrooms
Weddings – Pierogi kurniki filled with chicken
Moving away from the traditional flavors, modern twists include pierogi filed with duck and apricot, and Pierogi filled with smoked meat and herbs.
The patron saint of Pierogi is St. Jack (Swiety Jacek z pierogami)
8th October is National Pierogi Day
Pierogi is the national dish of Poland
Krakow host an annual Pierogi festival held during August in a festival which promotes Polish cusines and folk culture.
Pierogis are celebrated across the world. In particular there are plenty of Pierogi festivals across the States as they have a large immigrant population
Pierogis are versatile and can be sweet or savory, boiled, baked or fried and they can be made with different flour combinations.
Where to eat Pierogi in Poland
You can find Pierogi in most restaurants and during our trip we ate rustic versions with traditional fillings, through to refined versions stuffed with local cheese and herbs. If your dining focus is purely on pierogi, then Poland has its own dedicated pierogi restaurants called “Pierogarnia.” You can see them on many street corners.
Where to eat Pierogi in Dubai
Check out the Food truck ZAPIEKANKA for authentic Polish street food made using Granny’s recipes, cooked with love by Chef Olimpia. Find them at various outdoor events and activities.
Alternatively, you can find frozen Pierogi in the frozen section of Choitrams (occasionally).
Even better, make the recipe below.
Below Zapiecek in Warsaw, where the focus is on traditional, hearty Polish food.
Pierogi or Dumpling?
Dumpling is a broad classification for a dish that consists of pieces of dough wrapped around a filling or of dough with no filling. Dumplings may be prepared using a variety of methods, including baking, boiling, frying, simmering or steaming and are found in many world cuisines.
Here the shape of these delicate pierogi are similar to Turkish Manti.
In Georgia, we feasted on Georgian dumplings called Khinkali – you can read about my Khinkali adventures >> here
Pierogi Recipe – With Potato & Cheese
SERVINGS | 6 people
TIME | 1 hour 20 mins
DIFFICULTY | Moderate
190 g all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sour cream (or yogurt)
190 g water
420 g mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
113 g grated cheddar cheese
115 g butter
60 g sour cream or yogurt
handful finely chopped chives
Directions – Pierogi Recipe
In a large mixing bowl make the dough by combining flour, eggs, sour cream (or yogurt).
Slowly beat in the eggs until dough is well combined and add the water. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface.
Knead 3 to 5 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest 30 minutes. TIP : The dough should be manageable and not too sticky so you might want to not add all the water.
In another large mixing bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and cheese. TIP: Taste and add additional seasoning at this point if you want to.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
To make the pierogi take a small pinch of dough (approximately a tablespoon size) and roll into about three dozen balls.
Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface into a 3 1/2 to 5 inch circle.
Cover with a damp towel or paper towel to prevent them from drying out.
Place a heaping tablespoon of potato filling into the center of each circle. Fold in half, pinching the sides shut with your fingers, or gently with a fork to seal.
Working in small batches, boil the pierogi in salted water for 2 to 3 minutes, until they float to the surface.
When they float, remove and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
You can eat the Pierogis at this stage if you wish.
To Pan fry and make crispy
Melt the butter in a large skillet and sauté the pierogi until lightly browned. To Serve Top with sour cream and garnish with chives.
Notes on ingredients:
I used up what was in the cupboard/fridge so make a few substitutions to the standard pierogi recipe.
Instead of sour cream I used yogurt which I strained, labneh should work too
I doubled up on the spice levels and used fresh garlic not powdered as I like strong flavours
I used a combination of grated halloumi and cheddar cheese
Pierogi can be eaten boiled, or fried in butter and/oil to make them crispy. This recipe goes straight for the crispy pan fried method which is how I like mine.
These freeze well and can be cooked from frozen.
Disclaimer: I attended this trip as a guest of Krajowy Osderek Wsparcia Rolnictwa (the National Support Centre for Agriculture in Poland), Poland Tastes Good and the Krakow Municipality with the mission to learn and share about Poland and its food, cuisine, culture and culinary traditions.
All views, opinions and images, unless otherwise stated are my own.