Polish Pierogi Panorama
Nearly everyone’s favorite, pierogi, are an absolute must at PolAm festivals, Polonian picnics and parish suppers. People will drive in from miles around if they know they can eat their fill on the spot and take a supply back home with them. Some menu suggestions:
PIEROGI DOUGH (ciasto na pierogi): Combine 2 c flour, 1 c dairy sour cream, 1 small egg and 1/2 t salt. Work ingredients together to form a smooth dough and knead briefly. Roll out thin on floured board, cut dough into rounds with glass or pastry-cutter. Roll out each dough round, place a spoonful of filling slightly off center, cover filling with the larger dough flap and pinch edges together to seal. Cook uncrowded in boiling salted water until they float up. Test one for doneness,
MEAT PIEROGI (pierogi z mięsem): Soak a crumbled-up stale bread roll in water. Dice 1” square pork fatback and brown lightly with 2 finely chopped onions. Grind 3/4 lb cooked beef, pork or dark-meat turkey or any combinations thereof together with the onions and squeezed-out roll. Mix well and salt & pepper to taste. Add 2 T bouillon if very dry. Note: An economical way of preparing these for a community event is to have club members donate frozen cooked meats from their home freezers. Serve garnished with skwarki, or fried chopped onions.
CHEESE & POTATO PIEROGI (ruskie pierogi [z serem i kartoflami]): Cook 1 lb peeled potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, drain, mash and set aside to cool. To potatoes add 1/2 lb farmer cheese or dry cottage cheese, mashed with potato-masher or processed to a ground-like consistency in processor, 2 finely chopped onions sautéed in 2 T oil or butter until tender and lightly browned. Mix ingredients well and season with salt & pepper. As toppings, provide sour cream or skwarki (fried golden-brown pork fatback nuggets).
SAVORY CHEESE PIEROGI (pierogi z serem na słono)): Combine 1 lb farmer cheese or dry cottage cheese, pulverized to a powder in food-processor Add 1 t sałt, 1-2 t sugar, 1 t lemon juice and 1 raw egg yolk Mix ingredietns into a smooth filling.. The cooked pierogi may be served with melted butter, confectioner’s sugar and/or sour cream.
SWEET CHEESE PIEROGI (pierogi z serem na słodko): Combine 1 lb farmer cheese or dry cottage cheese, pulverized to a powder in food-processor, with 1 t salt, 4 T sugar (or more to taste), 1 large egg beaten and ½ t vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate covered, until ready to use. Optional: add ½ plumped well-drained raisins.
POTATO & ONION PIEROGI (pierogi z kartoflami): Cook 6-7 med potatoes until tender, drain well, steaming off moisture, and mash thoroughly or put through ricer. Dice 4 slices thick-sliced bacon and brown with 2 finely diced onions. Add fried mixture to potatoes, stir in 1 egg and (optional) 1 T bread crumbs. Salt & pepper to taste. 1-2 T chopped chives, parsley or dill or a combination thereof may be added to filling. Serve with sour cream..
BLUEBERRY PIEROGI (pierogi z jagodami): Remove any leaves or stems from about 1 lb fresh blueberries, rinse and drain well in colander or sieve. Dust berries with 1 t potato starch to make the cooked filling less runny. These are best cooked, cooled and refried in butter when ready to serve. As toppings, provide granulated or confectioner’s sugar, sour cream or heavy sweet cream.
The Polish Chef
By Robert Strybel