Looking for something warm, doughy, and satisfying to eat? Delicious pierogi are the ultimate comfort food beloved by many. Hungry for some tasty pierogi right now? You can order them for delivery or a convenient curbside pickup without leaving your car. Find the right pierogi for you in the Slice app.
Pierogi are soft dumplings stuffed with a variety of savory or sweet fillings. They can be boiled or fried and served with sauce or cream on top or on the side.
The basic ingredient for pierogi is a dough made from flour or mashed potatoes, and sometimes it is a combination of both. The dough is stuffed with a pre-cooked filling, which can be anything from meat and vegetables, to cheese and fruit.
But where do pierogi come from? Even though there are many origin stories and legends of the pierogi, it is believed that they were born in Central or Eastern Europe.
Few legends are entwined around the Polish Dominican priest Hyacinth of Poland. After a storm destroyed all crops, he told the starving people to pray and the next day all the crops rose back up. So as a gratitude for the priest, the people made him pierogi. Another legend says he fed the people with pierogi during a famine.
But the pierogi were most probably imported to Poland in the 13th century from their east neighbor Kievan Rus (today known as Ukraine), perhaps thanks to the above-mentioned Hyacinth who became the patron saint of the pierogi.
Whereas some believe the pierogis originate in Italy or Turkey, still most people connect the pierogi with Poland and other central, eastern, or south European countries.
The word pieróg is a generic term for filled dumplings. The plural form is pierogi, but sometimes native English speakers add their plural to the word, and thus we have the colloquial term pierogies.
The term pieróg derives from an old Slavic word meaning feast.
However, there are varieties of pierogi typical for some countries, like the Ukraine varenyk or West and East Slavic pirog which indicate the method of cooking the Pierogi, by boiling, baking, or frying.
Today pierogi's popularity among Americans and Canadians is thanks to the Central and Eastern European immigrants who brought the pierogi with them. First, they prepared the dumplings in their homes, then the recipe was spread mostly among ethnic restaurants, but post-WWII and especially in the 1960s, pierogi were a common meal, and they even got their frozen version in the stores and markets.
Furthermore, pierogi are widely spread and celebrated in different cities in Pennsylvania and Indiana and their popularity extends up to Canada.
When in Pennsylvania, order some delicious Pierogi from Nino’s Pizzarama. You can choose classic pierogi with sour cream on the side or go for Texas pierogi with cheddar cheese, mozzarella, and bacon.
Hungry in New Jersey? Pick up some savory homemade pierogi from Bellissimo Mexican and Italian Restaurant, stuffed with light cheese, sour cream, and applesauce. Both spots are available with the Slice app.
The traditional Polish pierogi are made of simple ingredients - flour, water and sometimes an egg for the dough, cheese and mashed potatoes for the filling. They can be boiled shortly, just enough to be cooked but not become soggy, or slightly fried on each side.
Ground meat, mushrooms, and cabbage is another popular filling for the Polish pierogi. In Poland, the Pierogi are eaten for many holidays and on different occasions. They even have an annual Pierogi Festival in Kraków, where around 30.000 pierogi are eaten daily!
Just by looking at the pierogi, you can’t say anything about what’s inside. But once you bite, you’ll unravel the pierogi secret.
What makes pierogi so popular and loved is their versatility. They can be in a semi-circle or a rectangle shape depending on the way the dough is cut. After it is kneaded by local chefs, it is cut into circles or squares, which are later filled with the good stuff that goes inside.
The filling goes in a pocket made of dough, which is carefully sealed so the filling will remain inside when the pierogi are boiled or fried. The secret is to make the dough firm enough, so it won’t fall apart during the cooking process, but at the same time light, soft and chewy.
Apart from the shape, another great thing about the pierogi is that they can be both sweet and savory. Served with different toppings and sauces, there are pierogi for everyone’s preferences.
Thus, savory pierogi can be filled with ground, pre-cooked meat, mushrooms, onion, cheese, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut as some of the most popular options. Additionally, in the US there is a local twist to the savory pierogi with fillings like cheddar cheese, bacon, jalapeno peppers, chicken, and spinach. The sweet pierogi, however, have fruit fillings and the most common fruit choices are strawberries, blueberries, plums, cherries, or saskatoon berries. The fruit inside the sweet pierogi can be used fresh or as a fruit jam.
But what gives the pierogi that final, satisfying taste are the sauces served with both sweet and savory dumplings. The savory pierogi can be simmered in butter, or simply served with some sour cream and chives, fried bacon, or bacon bits, mushroom, and dill sauce. Sweet pierogi can be served with applesauce and sour cream too.
Another great usage of the pierogi is their lasagna and casserole variations.
The pierogi lasagna however is not made with actual pierogi, but with lasagna noodles. The resemblance of the pierogi is in the ingredients typically used as pierogi fillings, such as mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, ricotta, onions, and bacon. The result is a comforting, creamy lasagna that tastes like pierogi.
For the pierogi casserole, delicious pierogi are baked together with sausages, sour cream, cream cheese, onions, and Cheddar cheese to a mouthwatering fusion dish.
Although pierogi are best when they are fresh, some local chefs make a larger batch of pierogi to save your time when ordering. The pierogi are usually pre-cooked, so it takes a little time of boiling, baking, or simmering to be perfectly done.