Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who doesn't love Pierogi? Peeling back my Polish roots with this delicious dumpling

Potato pierogis  (perogies) are definitely one of those ubiquitous bites. They appear on menus from fine dining establishments with uber chic presentation and posh ingredients like white truffles, all the way down to the humble menu at Swiss Chalet. For me perogies are just a part of my cultural makeup. My grandmother is from Poland - yes she's the same grandmother who refuses to throw anything out  from the post "Taste this ______ I think it's gone bad". Ever since I was a little girl I can remember perogies being present at Friday night dinners at my grandparents house. My grandmother would always serve them along side rice and peas. Not a traditional Polish paring but my grandfather is Jamaican so we always had an interesting combination of dishes at our dinner table. For years my grandmother has had us all fooled. We thought every Thursday night she would make her perogies from scratch but she really just popped by Regina's a Jewish food emporium specializing in Eastern European delights. In all fairness those perogies are pretty damn flawless - and I'm positive Regina or who ever  else works in that kitchen isn't cutting any corners. For my perogies I used dumpling wrappers to save some time, but it"s easy to make your own dough. You must, must, must serve these with sour cream with chives, and caramelized onions. 
Yukon gold potatoes - peeled and boiled 
garlic (optional) - boil with the potatoes (1 clove for every 2 potatoes)
s & p 
milk - splash 
water - for assembly
onions - to be caramelized
chive - for garnish
sour cream - for serving
lemon zest - (optional) for sour cream 
dumpling or wanton wrappers - I used the round ones

For mash potato: 
COOK: In a pot with cold water, add potatoes and garlic. Bring to the boil and let simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Using a ricer or a hand masher mash your potatoes with a few spoonfuls of butter, splash of milk and s & p to taste. Let cool before assembling your dumplings. You can make this a day in advance.   

FILL: Set up an assembly line with water, mashed potato and wrappers. Use a demitasse spoon (small spoon)  for measuring how much filling. Place the filling on the wrapper - then seal them closed with water. Refrigerate, or freeze on a flat tray if you will be making the perogies later

COOK: You can boil the perogies in salted water until they float, then pan fry in butter, or you can double whammy them. This means keep a lid and a water squirt bottle close by. Start off by frying the perogie in a little oil/ butter then squirt a little water in the pan, and place a tight fitting lid on so its fry/ steams them at the same time. Cook until crisped on the edges, about a minute or two. 


  1. I loooove pierogies but have never had them homemade...only the frozen grocery store kind. Gasp! I want to make these, they look easy and delicious! Thank you!

  2. Love the story of your grandmother's "homemade" pierogy trick. I guess it just goes to show that even our grannies didn't always want to spend a whole day sweating in the kitchen if they could buy a just-as-good version from someone else! :)
    I've had pierogies on my to-make list for a while... I think this just might be the nudge I need to finally get around to it.

  3. I love perogies, just about anyway that they are prepared. A while back I made some stuffed with pulled pork, cabbage, etc with Chef Michael Symon's dough good.


  4. I"m very impressed with your nod to Grandma.... you chose the perfect comfort carb! I bet your home made ones are even better than Regina's for the love that you put into every single one. I was just at Keriwa Cafe the amazing Aboriginal restaurant in Parkdale and we had bison pemmican perogies with Saskatoon berries, celariac and creme good! Seems everyone really does love perogies and there not just for the Poles.

  5. Isnt it funny when you learn your favorite recipe from your grandmother involves delivery or from the box mixes? I always loves my grandmas matzoh balls till I found out they were from the box!!! These pierogis look wonderful!! Im sure they would make your grandmother (and Regina) proud!

  6. Pierogi update... grandma says to make them extra authentic you have to fry them in lots of shmultz - otherwise known as chicken fat. I would say this is a pretty old school Jewish way to do it! I'll stick to butter - looooove buttery flavor. Plus rendering chicken fat isn't my favorite thing to do in the kitchen.


Thanks for your two cents. I love change!