Monday, September 5, 2011

The Pierogi Experience

We had an interesting dinner tonight.  I was grilling hotdogs for Labor Day and earlier in the week Paul had slipped a frozen box into the cart, containing a food I'd never tried.  He insisted that we eat them tonight.  Since he hardly ever asks for a specific meal I quickly agreed.  The name of the new-to-me-food: Pierogi.

I glanced at the box, glanced at the cooking instructions, and decided, with the half dozen cooking methods, that baking was the way to go.  After all, they looked like some sort of pastry to me, and so I followed the instructions for baking and put them in oven.

Paul was skeptical when he came into the kitchen and saw the pierogis in the oven.  He told me that that wasn't the way to cook them.  When I asked him how they were made he said in the microwave.  I stifled an eye roll (if I can avoid the microwave I do... everything always seems soggy when it comes out) and waited to try the new food.

When it appeared on the table Paul explained that Pierogi are like pasta (something my hard crusted pastry like pierogi did not resemble in the least with their crunchy shells).  And hilarity (from Paul's point of view, I was mostly just baffled) quickly followed.  It went something like this:

Paul (from across the table, trying not to laugh hysterically): "You know how it's kind of funny to watch someone who isn't from California try to figure out how to eat an artichoke or an avocado?  This is kind of like that!"
Me:  (eye roll)  "It said on the box that you could bake them..."
Paul: (still laughing)  "Yeah, I bet some people roast them on sticks when they go camping too..."

So next time I will be trying one of the other cooking methods.  Like boiling.

Actually next time Paul says he'll be cooking them.  And I'd really like to see that.


  1. Aw man, piergoi are the best. Around here we pan-fry them with bacon and onion. Serve with sour cream.

    Bet you Paul can do an okay peirogi. They're the kind of food us college students get totally tanked and then crave on. Not that I'm advocating heavy drinking or suggesting paul's a drinker.

  2. Baked pierogi are very funny - I got a good laugh reading your post. I wonder how was the taste - did you like it? What kind of filling did they have? Boiling is definitely a way to go next time...

  3. In the frying pan with butter until hot, then drained and dried off a little. Yummy! I'd never heard of pierogies until I moved to Pittsburgh, but now I love them. ;-) There are lots of different flavors to try. Hope you find a type and cooking method you both like. I must say, I've never tried them in the microwave though.

  4. ROTFL! I grew up on the East Coast, and as we had a Polish/Russian family across the street (Dad was Russian, mom was Polish, both first-generation) I ate a lot of pierogi as a kid. (Well, and with a Norwegian/English mom, pickled herring was a favorite snack, and the Greek delicatessen down the street made the best spanakopita EVER...I had a rather eclectic palate.)

    Next time, you might try boiling them. They're GREAT that way, all soft and chewy and onion-potatoey. Mmmm-mmm!

  5. I cook mine the same way as Brooke H. If the filling is only potato (rather than potato and onion), I throw some chopped onion into the butter, so that they can saute while the pierogi are cooking. I've been meaning to try making them from scratch. . .but, I've been meaning to for about 15 years. :) It can't be hard - I can make decent blintzes and knishes, so I should be able to manage pierogi.
    I made them for dinner the day JP2 died, in his honor.

  6. They are a Polish dish and my grandmother made the best ones ever! We have always pan fried them in t little butter. YUM!

  7. Aren't they just the Polish version of Chinese Pot Stickers

  8. My grandmother used to make these! She was Slovakian' and she would make the potato kind, but also the fruit kind (plum, if memory serves) And pan-fried is definitely the way to go!

  9. Pierogis were a staple of life in my husband's Slovak family. They taste infinitely better pan-fried; I use olive oil, but butter would be yummy. No comparison between that way and boiled, which we find kind of boring.


  10. I don't care for Pierogi but around here they are usually boilled and then fried. A church near where I grew up, makes and sells them during Lent.

  11. Wikipedia says they can be baked. I'm just sayin'

  12. Pierogies are awesome. Especially if you can get them on Friday mornings from an ethnic Church where some little old lady in a babushka has made them with love and large, flappy arms. I boil mine for just a bit until they are floating...then into the pan with butter. This is not the time to count calories. If you like, saute some onions with the butter and then add the boiled pierogies just until they are starting to brown the least bit on the edges. Serve with sour cream. If I want to try to make it healthy, I'll throw some broccoli on the side or some other nonsense. Yum.

  13. LOL! Thank you guys for all the tips! They sound really good!

    Ours were filled with just potatoes and after we baked we had them with butter, but they were kind of bland! So I think the suggestions here will definitely improve on today's experiment!

  14. Oh my word ... how ironic is it for me to say again, only minutes aftermy last post, "I relate." (Lutheran woman from PA again.)

    I was raised PA Dutch (Mennonite-Lutheran family), and I had never tasted pierogis or kielbasi before meeting my Polish/Lithuanian husband. My mom is very sweet, and meant no offense when she said this, but -- she considered those foods to be much too "foreign" to her pallate. ;)
    And even more coincidentally (I say coincidental, because I had not read your pierogi post until just this morning), I just made pierogis and kielbasi for dinner last night!

    And I must add, for someone who had never tasted either before meeting my husband, I really lucked out .... Mrs. T's pierogis is based in my husband's hometown, *as is* Kowalonek's -- considered one of the best old-fashioned kielbasi makers in the country.

  15. Oh, I should have added ... if you get Mrs. T's pierogis down there, in the freezer section, try the American cheese flavor. It's amazing, compared to "just" potatoes and cheddar.

    My mother-in-law (who lives nearby us, in hubby's hometown) often gets pierogis handmade by her local Polish Catholic church. She brings dozens of them every time she comes for a Christmas/Easter visit ... that's when the church ladies make them for fundraising. But when I buy pierogis from the store (which I often do as well), I only get the American cheese flavor now.

  16. I find this post to be incredibly funny, but very familiar. I am always explaining pierogis to people who have no idea about Polish cooking. My family is Polish, and my grandfather is a member of the first generation born in America. We have pierogis on all the major holidays, particularly Christmas and Thanksgiving. My uncle's are the best; first he boils them slightly and then cooks them in a pan with butter, onions, and bacon. Delicious!

    -Mary B

  17. That's pretty funny, but love that you're both good sports about it. :) I saute them in a little butter or oil with sliced onions, drain, and then dip in sour cream or ranch dip.... yum! I've also boiled them, but haven't tried them baked. :)

  18. Love pierogis!

    I'm 100% Polish-American and they are a staple during Lent, but also served at every holiday meal or family gathering. My grandmother (91) still makes them from scratch. I have yet to try my hand at making them, but plan to do so for next week's Ethnic Festival at our Parish.

    And we both boil and pan fry. My grandmother boils them first to seal up the dough and cook the inside ingredients (potato, saurkraut, or cheese (cottage) then drain and pain fry to crisp up the outsides. We fry in butter and onion and then serve with sour cream.

    I've baked the frozen ones (Mrs. Ts), but they just weren't as good.



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