It’s time for us to make a confession–our choice of cuisine when we visited the Texas Renaissance Festival last week was not entirely random. I know, I know. While it’s true that we both love Polish food, that wasn’t the only reason we chose Polonia. For anybody who doesn’t know, Catherine’s last name is…wait for it….Sieraski. That’s about as Polish as they come, so of course we had to do a Polish dish to honor her heritage (and our taste buds)!
While we had a lot of great recipe options thanks to the combination plate we ordered last week, we had to go with a tried and true classic, the pierogi. We pulled these pierogi recipes from two places: Natasha’s Kitchen for the cheese filling and Cold Weather Comfort for the meat filling.
Not to be outdone by the chefs of the Renaissance Festival, we made not one, not two, but three different pierogi fillings. We started our cooking there, with the fillings–potato and cheese (cream cheese and mozzarella), beef and onion, and a mix of both for a beef and potato combo. We did fillings first because it’s fine for them to get cold while you spend most of your time prepping the dough later. The fillings will be heated back up later when we cook the pierogi, so all you need to do is make sure that you have a way to keep them fresh in the meantime. We just left them covered and on the stove, and they were still great by the time we were ready to fill. One quick tip about the dough, when you are forming the pierogi, we recommend that you keep any dough you are currently not using covered by a bowl so it doesn’t dry out. If the dough dries out, it becomes tough and much more difficult to roll out, which makes the process longer and not nearly as enjoyable.
There are two ways to cook pierogi, and the one you choose will impact your final result. The first is to simply bring your water to a boil, plop them in, and when they float, voila! You’re ready to eat! The other option is to take it a step further. In this method, after the pierogi float, you then transfer them to a pan with a little bit of oil to get some browning on the outside, which provides a really nice crunch and is our personal favorite way to do it. Whatever your choice, after you’re finished cooking, you can serve your pierogi with a side of sour cream, tossed in butter, topped with salt and pepper, or just plain and enjoyed on their own merit.
Now, here’s a fun grammar tidbit: pierogi plural is just pierogi. Simply put, if you want to tear up a whole plateful or even two, you totally can and nobody will be the wiser when you say you had “pierogi” for dinner. You can eat them with a fork if you’re feeling fancy, but don’t be shy to just use your fingers and dig right in! We know we did, especially those beef and onion ones, which were our absolute favorite.
What should you know before you make pierogi?
- The dough takes a WHILE to make and on top of that filling and pressing the pierogi will eat up your time, especially if you’re trying to make them look good. Don’t think this is a simple, quick dinner meal you can whip up on a weeknight (totally not speaking from personal experience or anything…)
- Don’t be afraid to play around with fillings! Pierogi are essentially a pocket for your imagination. For example, the recipe for the potato and cheese filling calls for mozzarella, which is what we used, but it would be so easy to switch that up for your favorite cheese and really make the recipe your own.
- Pierogi make a great meal, especially if you really love them, but they’re also a wonderful choice for an appetizer, side dish, or as an hors d’oeuvres for a party.
When should you make pierogi?
This would be a great dish choice for a cheap, at-home family bonding or date night. Making this recipe would be great with a S.O., kids, or other family members, and would be a fun way to pass an evening with a delicious payoff at the end. Just make sure you start early and have some light snacks (or wine, or both, we won’t judge) while you cook!
Do you have any heritage dishes you like to make? We would love to hear them, so let us know in the comments or on Instagram @fizz.and.fork!