I'm a person who made at home a lot of pierogi in her life. That, in consequence, took me to a point of a deeper understanding of the entire Polish food culture. And that is why I have a sense of duty to advise you to learn how to make pierogi at home. Generally speaking it is quite simple. It is a very cheap food. It can be frozen for a long time - still, it will be 10 times better than 'industrial' ready-made pierogi from a grocery store. It is a universal dish - you can put inside many things you like. And although making a good pierogi dough is a bit tricky business and requires some experience you will become an expert faster than you think.
So, contrary to appearances it is not difficult to learn how to make tasty Polish pierogi. A base of pierogi taste is the filling. This is quite easy and you can find many pierogi filling recipes on Tasting Poland website. Probably, to make a good pierogi dough is the most difficult part of a work. Here, not only relying on trusted recipes but also some experience is required. The pierogi dough is oftentimes undervalued but oftentimes this is what decides whether your pierogi will be excellent or not.
What I love about this Polish food is a fact that pierogi is a really creative food. There are countless possibilities to serve it. It can be boiled-only, additionally fried or baked. It can be dished up with many additions you like, including dips. Number of fillings is countless and limited by your imagination only. You can change the taste of a pierogi dough by using some milk instead of water or applying a yolk. You can also make a colorful pierogi dough… yellow, green, pink and orange (using natural juices). And at the end pierogi can be frozen for prolonged periods of time without a loss of the quality. All that combined creates a dish with a great potential – for a long, long time you won't get bored with this excellent Polish food. You can read more about these things in our 10 tips & tricks on making pierogi.
Pierogi with strawberries. Photo by kalleboo
I have made every effort to publish pierogi recipes (and all other Polish food recipes), that are detailed enough. Since oftentimes a success of a food we prepare depends on details, and users of this website are not Polish, such detailed recipes and accuracy are necessary. At least I think so :) I would also like to add that the majority of Polish food recipes at Tasting Poland is well-tried. These are my reliable ones based on authentic Polish cookbooks and culinary traditions. I hope that you will recognize this recipe collection useful. Good luck!
Pierogi dough - authentic Polish recipe
Pierogi with meat filling recipe
Pierogi/uszka with mushroom & cabbage
Uszka for the Christmas Eve clear borscht
Pierogi with bil-, blue- or strawberries recipe
Pierogi with white mushrooms and eggs recipe
More recipes coming soon!
You may also be interested in 10 tips&tricks on how to make pierogi.
How to make pierogi? Looking at some authentic Polish pierogi recipes we find few basic tastes and regional diversities. But what you would like in this wonderful Polish food is that making pierogi is an art - use your creativity. And here comes a picture of what is the most basic and traditional:
The most traditional Polish pierogi fillings
Pierogi are simply made of a dough and a filling. Those two plain things are merged into pierogi to your enviable joy :) Making pierogi obviously starts with preparing a dough. A trusted, authentic pierogi dough recipe is published at Tasting Poland (pierogi dough recipe). This is based on a well-tried Polish food tradition. Pierogi dough is made from wheat flour, water, salt and a bit of oil.
After mixing ingredients and kneading pierogi dough is being rolled up on a table or pastry board. Circles are cut out using a drinking glass. Then, in the middle of every circle, we place a portion of the filling with a teaspoon. As I mentioned above, this could be a meat filling, small heap of sauerkraut and mushrooms, ruskie filling (aka ruthenian, potato & cheese) or a sweet curd cheese. Also, it could be a few thin slices of strawberry with a bit of cream or handful of bilberries, whether blueberries. Of course, you can find traditional pierogi filling recipes at Tasting Poland, but it is always a great fun to give a free rein to the creativity and invent your own pierogi fillings.
When the filling is placed on pierogi circles we fold / wrap pierogi dough, forming a semicircle. In order to seal pierogi it should be pressed on the edge with your fingers or a fork. There are also some pierogi makers available to buy. Theoretically, this stuff is to make folding of pierogi easier and faster. Pierogi is always semicircular in the Polish cuisine (I have read some time ago that this characteristic, traditional shape of pierogi comes from the time when it was a ritual food, used in a solar worship – sounds interesting ;)
Raw pierogi are ready to be boiled. To cook pierogi boil lightly salted water, and then throw pierogies one by one. After few minutes this Polish food will float to the surface and soon will be ready to be drained off. Well, that is nearly all and after some decoration a delicious food is ready to eat! Usually pierogi are served with some additions and, as I think, this is somehow important. Of course, type of addition of course depends on a kind of pierogi filling. You can use pork scratching, roux, bacon or fried onion to decorate pierogi with meat, mushrooms or sauerkraut. Sweet pierogi are usually dished up with fruit sauces, sweet cream, maple syrup, yogurt etc. Just pour what you like over pierogi.
However, in Poland pierogi is most often served after additional browning on a frying pan or more rarely baking in the oven (as I have noticed butter is the best for frying pierogi but oil also works well). Personally, I prefer to eat fried pierogi than ones that have been boiled only. So I do it whenever I can. You should not fry pierogi with fruit because these are very juicy and like to crumble on a frying pan. What is even more important, I have noticed it many times, some frozen pierogi bought in a grocery store or Polish deli cannot be fried at all. They break down, melt and become unappealing. Oh well, ready-made food always has some disadvantages. A stage of boiling and frying pierogi requires no special wisdom of course, neither is laborious. The whole thing about frying pierogi makes sense since boiled pierogi are great and boiled plus fried pierogi are simply delicious.
In general well-made pierogi can be characterized by tasty dough and filling, proper stir frying (If liked) and nice, appropriate appetizers. These all are obvious things. Pierogi dough deserves quite a lot of attention, since it is a bit tricky business. Good pierogi dough should always has a delicate taste. It should not be too thick so that the dough taste does not dominate the taste of the filling. And the amount of filling should be enough. If pierogi has about 6 cm of diameter, the width of sealed edge should be 1 cm or less. Also overcooking pierogi is very, very bad and must be avoided.
I hope that this article was helpful during your first steps in a 'culinary universe' of Polish pierogi :) Please, have a look at some of Polish pierogi recipes, that Tasting Poland has published with making every effort to do it precisely. I wish you good luck in learning how to make home-made pierogi… Enjoy the taste! Smacznego!