I’m sorry, I mean, perogi.
Wait, no. Pyrogy?
Hmm…There’s got to be a way to settle this. I know! Eenie, meenie, minie, mo, I pick, “pierogi” by the toe!
Ugh, I’ve never seen a word with so many freaking different spellings. If you put the “I” before the “E” or a “Y” in the place of the “I,” it doesn’t make a difference; there is no definitive “right” way to spell it and it’s always pronounced the same: pi-roh-gee.
How or why there have come to be so many different ways to spell one word? You got me. But no matter which way you write it out…wait for it…pierogi always spells delicious.
Pierogi are dumplings. Similar to ravioli, they are thin sheets of dough that envelope a filling of some kind; usually in the shape of a semi-circle, pierogi come filled with sauerkraut, meat, cheese, vegetables, and even fruit. A popular pierogi stuffing and my personal favorite, is a cheesy potato combo.
I’ve always known pierogi as being a Polish specialty, but their origins are not restricted to Poland alone. In general, they are said to descend from central and eastern Europe (Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, etc…). Of course, there are a lot of nerdy arguments on the internet about where pierogis “truly” come from, but guess what? I’m not going there.
These pockets of deliciousness are made with what is basically regular pasta dough that I added a little bit of sour cream to. Naturally, I filled my periogis with cheddar mashed potatoes. Once they are all folded and crimped, they are boiled and then pan-fried in butter.
Common accompaniments are melted butter, sour cream and caramelized onion. I serve mine with all of the above but brown my butter or make a “beurre noisette” for extra flavor.
Manufactured by the tons, there is a huge pierogi market in the United States. Here are a few examples of just how much we love them:
• In Whiting, Indiana, they have Pierogi Fest every July. The yearly celebration of Polish heritage features Mr. Pierogi himself:
• Based in Pennsylvania, Mrs. T., the largest pierogi manufacturer in America, has dubbed the area including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Chicago, Detroit, and parts of the northern Midwest and southern New England as the “Pieorgy Pocket” since it accounts for the largest percent of annual U.S. pierogi consumption.
• October 8th is National Pierogi Day.
• Between innings of Pittsburg Pirates games they have The Great Pittsburg Pierogi Race in which four contestants dressed in pierogi costumes duel it out for the win. This is amazing:
Pierogi with Potato Cheddar Filling:Print
Yield: About 25 pierogi
- ½ pound AP Flour
- Pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- ½ ounce water
- Egg wash for sealing pierogi
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform chunks
- ½ cup shredded cheddar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/8 cup milk or heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (or chives)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoons butter, plus 1 stick to be browned/melted until golden brown in color—“beurre noisette”
- Sour cream
- 2-3 large onions thinly sliced and slowly caramelized over low heat with just a little bit of oil; stir often until nicely browned.
• Dough: mix salt and flour together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add eggs, sour cream and water. Turn the mixer on low and stir until dough is formed. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and continue to knead by hand until the texture becomes smooth and elastic. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and let relax at room temperature for at least an hour.
• While the dough is resting, prepare the cheddar mashed potato filling. Boil the potato until tender. Mash the potatoes and while they are still hot, mix in cheddar, butter, heavy cream, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Try to make the mixture as smooth as possible.
• Using a pasta machine, roll dough out into thin sheets. Cut out medium/large circles from the sheets using a cookie cutter. Brush egg wash onto one side of the circle and place a spoonful of the potato mixture in the center. Fold non-egg washed side over the potato and onto the other; securely seal by pressing down on the seam with the tip of a fork.
• Bring a medium/large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add perogies; they are done when they float to the top. Once removed, drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the pierogi to keep them from getting sticky.
• Heat about 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan. Cook perogies until they are nicely browned on both sides. At this stage, brown the 1 stick of butter for serving. Pour browned butter on top of pierogi and serve with sour cream and caramelized onion.