Homemade Polish Pierogi

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After Ukrainian nalysnyky, I’m figuratively moving to Poland to explore their culinary history.

Polish cuisine, as I mentioned with that of Ukraine, is one I was not too familiar with, but one that, in doing a little research, I’m intrigued to try more of!  As with a lot of Eastern European dishes, there’s an abundance of pork and meats (kielbasa being my favorite), lots of cabbage (often stuffed or stewed) and hearty potato dishes. The savory side of Polish cuisine didn’t surprise as much as the sweet one… pastries like Chrusciki or Sernik, Polish cheesecake, or a poppyseed cake Makowiec, popular at Easter and Christmas. I’ll definitely be seeking more Polish food out in the coming months, but in the meantime…. 

I decided to go for the classic (and often believed national dish of Poland), pierogi.

As with Ukrainian cuisine, there’s much overlap between dishes in Slavic nations. As such while pierogi are commonly thought of as Polish (and least here in the states), their fellow Slavic neighbors each have their own take on these dumplings as well. In Russia, they are pel’meni (little dumplings that I actually recently had and will be making soon!). In Ukraine, varenyky and in Hungary, derelye. In Slovak cuisine they are called bryndzové pirohy and in Romania, colţunaşi. All in all, you really can’t beat a dumpling… I mean every country has their own version even!

Fun fact: pierogi have their own patron saint, St. Hyacinth and the phrase, St. Hyacinth and his pierogi! (Swiety Jacek z pierogami) is an old expression of surprise – much like holy smokes!

While there are many fillings you could go with, I decided on a potato and cheese one served with caramelized onions and sour cream! Interestingly, while this variety of pierogi is a favorite in the US, it is not necessarily the most popular in Poland… pierogi of ground meat, mushrooms and cabbage are most popular followed by dessert pieorgi.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Homemade Polish Pierogi

Pieorgi adapted from Zahlicious

For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup melted butter, cooled
1 egg
½ cup sour cream

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Homemade Polish Pierogi

Combine flour and salt. Mix together melted butter, egg and sour cream. Create a small well in the middle of the flour and stir in the wet mixture using your fingers. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Refrigerate 30 minutes and bring to room temperature before rolling.

For the filling and assembly:
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
3 tbsp butter
5½ tbsp sour cream
1½ tsp salt
2/3 tsp black pepper, ground
2/3 cup aged cheddar, shredded

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Homemade Polish Pierogi

Boil the potatoes with their skins on in salted water until soft. When cool, skin the potatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mash until smooth. Allow to cool before assembling the dumplings.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Homemade Polish Pierogi

Roll dough 1/8-inch-thick. Cut into circles and place 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the center.  Pinch together the edges of dough at the center of the dumpling, closing completely. Set aside.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Homemade Polish Pierogi Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Homemade Polish Pierogi

Boil the dumplings in batches until they float to the surface. Alternatively, sauté with butter until golden brown!

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Homemade Polish Pierogi

And for anyone looking for good Polish or Ukrainian food, I know New Yorkers swear by Veselka in the East Village. It’s a 24-hour café that has been in the same location since 1954.and serves unpretentious classic Eastern European food. They make an estimated 3,000 pierogi a day and 2,500 potato pancakes a week!

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Velseka

And I can attest that these rivaled even Veselka’s.

Poland: Pierogi
 
2 cups all-purpose flour ¾ tsp salt ¼ cup melted butter, cooled 1 egg ½ cup sour cream 1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes 3 tbsp butter 5½ tbsp sour cream 1½ tsp salt ⅔ tsp black pepper, ground ⅔ cup aged cheddar, shredded
Author:
Ingredients
  • Combine flour and salt. Mix together melted butter, egg and sour cream. Create a small well in the middle of the flour and stir in the wet mixture using your fingers. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Refrigerate 30 minutes and bring to room temperature before rolling.
  • Boil the potatoes with their skins on in salted water until soft. When cool, skin the potatoes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mash until smooth. Allow to cool before assembling the dumplings.
  • Roll dough ⅛-inch-thick. Cut into circles and place 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the center. Pinch together the edges of dough at the center of the dumpling, closing completely. Set aside.
  • Boil the dumplings in batches until they float to the surface. Alternatively, sauté with butter until golden brown!
 

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