Anyone who has ever visited Poland, had a Polish friend or acquaintance or even known someone whose grandmother was Polish has heard of pierogi. Pierogi are one of the most famous Polish dishes to ever exist, and virtually everyone worldwide treats the word as a synonym of Polish cuisine as a whole. And rightfully so—traditional pierogi are both delicious and filling, and there are many different kinds to choose from, so everyone can find the pierogi that suit their tastes. From simple, potato and cheese-stuffed pierogi to pierogi stuffed with rare wild mushrooms or salmon, to sweet and tangy plum pierogi, this dish offers something to all. This is why pierogi are more than deserving of their own little holiday, the perfect day for you to enjoy the many varied flavors this dish has to offer.
The History of Pierogi Day
Pierogi have been around since the days of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a dualistic European state that existed from the 16th to the 18th centuries. It is important to remember that in those times, an enormous amount of work needed to be done physically in fields, forests, etc., and there were no machines to do it like there are today. Because of this, high-calorie foods such as carbohydrate-rich pierogi were very popular. Relatively cheap and easy to make, pierogi quickly became one of the most popular dishes of the Polish-Lithuanian Commomnwealth.
How to Celebrate Pierogi Day
The best possible way to celebrate this day is to try some real Polish pierogi, of course. Not the kind you get at your local supermarket, though—those chewy, often tasteless balls of dough filled with an unidentifiable paste made of processed cheese, potato starch, and other such ingredients have little to nothing in common with real pierogi aside from their shape. If you want to try real pierogi the way they were meant to be, your best bet would be to ask someone you know if they could bring you some the next time they make some for themselves. If you do not know any Polish people, you could also find an authentic Polish deli in your city run by Polish immigrants and buy some there. You are sure to be shocked at just how much different real pierogi taste from the sticky, bland calorie bombs you’ve tried before.
And if you’re feeling really adventurous, you could try to make your own pierogi. The easiest and most basic pierogi are stuffed with a simple mixture of onions, farmer’s cheese and potatoes, and are a good kind of pierogi to start your Polish cuisine experience with.
Basic Polish Pierogi
3 cups flour
1 cup warm water
750 grams of potatoes
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
250 grams farmer’s cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes and boil them in salted water till soft, then drain and mash, set aside to cool. Cook the onion in the butter over medium-low heat until fragrant. Add the farmer’s cheese to the potatoes, and the onions as well. Combine well, and add as much salt and pepper as you like. In another large bowl, combine the flour, the egg, and the warm water, kneading until you have a smooth dough. Roll it out until it’s about 1/8″ thick and use a large glass to cut out circles of it. Place one large teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each dough circle and seal the circle well, using a bit if water if needed to make sure the edges stick. Cook in batches of 10-12 in salted water for 7-10 minutes or until they float to the surface. Now sit back and enjoy the taste of Poland!