I don’t know much about my family tree, but I do know that my mom’s side of the family immigrated to the United States from Poland. My grandpa is very proud of his heritage, and his wife (of German descent) embraced his Polish roots as well. That’s why our family pierogi recipe has been passed down from generation to generation. Now I want to share our pierogi recipe with you!
My family used to eat pierogi (a traditional Polish dumpling) every Christmas, but that tradition has faded away. Pierogi (the plural word for pierog (I just learned this today), so you technically shouldn’t call them pierogis (like I did my entire life) – it’s like saying mooses) are now just cooked up for special occasions, including my mom’s birthday party last night. It was the first time anyone in my family has made them in years, so we were all excited. Pierogi are just one of those foods that make us happy!
I don’t know our family pierogi recipe word-for-word (I’ll learn it eventually), but I can pass along everything my sister and mom have told me:
My great-great grandma used to make pierogi dough from scratch, but my mom says that’s a pain in the butt. My mom’s aunt then started using Pillsbury-type dough for the pierogi recipe, so our family now “cheats” on the recipe all the time. I know my sister used crescent roll dough for her pierogi last night, but my mom says she usually uses dinner biscuit dough. That way the dough is already cut into circles, so you just need to roll it flat. My mom says cheat pierogi ”pretty much” taste the same as pierogi made from scratch.
We’re big eaters in my family, so my sister made a lot of pierogi last night. That means it was a timely process. My sister says it took her two hours to just roll the dough and wrap the pierogi. Our family fills the pierogi with sauerkraut, but they are also traditionally filled with potato, ground meet, cheese and even fruit. My mom says she’s even used cottage cheese as filling (but she warns that you have to mix the cottage cheese with egg to hold it all together).
When using sauerkraut for your pierogi, be sure to drain/strain (just like you would pasta) it really well. If there’s too much liquid in the sauerkraut, your pierogi will likely fall apart (my sister needed to toss two pierogi last night, because she didn’t drain the sauerkraut well enough). It needs to be pretty darn dry.
Once the pierogi are filled (place them on wax paper, because they are sticky), you put them in boiling water to cook the dough. My mom says you need to make sure the pierogi are closed tightly, otherwise you’ll lose your filling. She advises brushing some egg around the edges of your pierogi (before you wrap them) to help the dough stay together. My mom also says you should use a light boil, because a rolling boil will open up your pierogi. I wasn’t part of the boiling process, but my sister says eight minutes for the pierogi is usually good enough.
My sister puts the boiled pierogi on metal racks to let them drip dry. My mom says that she would even boil her pierogi in the morning, and then let them sit until dinner time to make sure they dried out a bit (even though she warns that you don’t want them to be too dry). After the pierogi dry out, they then go into a frying pan (I actually helped with this part last night). All it takes is some butter (some also fry pierogi with onion), high heat on the stove, and simply cook the pierogi until they are golden brown on each side.
After that — your pierogi are ready to be served!
Our dinner last night consisted of pierogi, and sausage and beer (Zywiec, Perla and Warka) from a Polish market in Seattle. It was an authentic Polish feast, and one that you can now enjoy in your own home as well!
Please let me know if you have any questions on the pierogi recipe. I can find the answers for you. I’d also love to know how it goes for you once you try or family pierogi recipe. You can simply leave a message below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on food, music, sports and more!