October 8 is National Pierogi Day! Pierogi are dumplings made up of unleavened dough stuffed with a variety of savory fillings. The pierogi, are boiled, then baked or fried in butter. Some of the filling combinations include: mashed potato, potato and cheese, potato and onion, cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, ground meat, mushroom, spinach or fruit.
Pierogi are often topped with melted butter, sour cream, fried bacon crumbles, sautéed mushrooms and onions and/or green onion. The dessert variety, those filled with a fruit filling, can be enjoyed topped with applesauce, maple syrup, chocolate sauce and/or whipped cream.
The Eastern European immigrants popularized pierogi in the U.S. At first, immigrants served pierogi to only their families. However, ethnic restaurants also served them. After World War II, ethnic churches sold pierogi as a staple fundraiser. By the 1960s, grocery stores marketed pierogi for the frozen food aisles in many parts of the U.S. Grocery stores still sell them today.
While pierogi are eaten as a main dish in other countries, Americans typically consider them to be a side dish.
You can celebrate National Pierogi Day by making your own or enjoying the tasty Polish dumplings at restaurants nearby. Dom Polski of Flint, a nonprofit cultural organization, is known around the area for their Homemade and Handmade Pierogi at Christmas and Easter (and during the rest of the year while supplies last).
You may have to travel outside Genesee County to find a restaurant that serves authentic pierogi. Krzysiak’s House Restaurant, a Polish restaurant in Bay City is well known for its authentic Polish food and their Pierogi.
If you want to celebrate the day by making your own pierogi, here is a recipe from Taste of Home.
Authentic Polish Pierogi
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/2 t, salt
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. sugar
- Dash pepper
- 1 carton (15-6 ozs.) soft farmer cheese or whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1-4 T. butter, divided
- Sour cream, optional
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs, water and salt until blended; gradually stir in flour. Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead 10-12 times, forming a firm dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.
- For filling, in a small bowl, whisk egg, salt, sugar and pepper. Stir in cheese.
- Divide dough into 4 portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion to 1/8-in. thickness; cut with a floured 4-in. round cookie cutter. Place 1 tablespoon filling in center of each circle. Moisten edges with water; fold in half and press edges to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- In a 6-qt. stockpot, bring water to a boil. Add pierogi in batches; reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until pierogi float to the top and are tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add pierogi in batches; cook until golden brown, 1-3 minutes on each side, adding additional butter as necessary. If desired, serve with sour cream.
Did you know?
The Pittsburgh Pirates hold a pierogi race at every home game. Six pierogi costume-wearing runners (Potato Pete, Jalapeño Hannah, Cheese Chester, Sauerkraut Saul, Oliver Onion and Bacon Burt) race to the finish line between innings.
Whiting, Indiana celebrates an annual Pierogi Fest each July.
Glendon, Alberta, Canada, is home to a 6000-pound pierogi standing 25 feet tall and is made of sturdy fiberglass and steel. Piercing the giant pierogi, built-in 1991, is an equally giant fork.