Imagine a soft and plump doughy dumpling, filled with creamy potato, cheese and bacon, boiled and then sautéed with onions in a pan and served with a cool dollop of sour cream. Pierogis are a delicious and filling food that will make you feel full and content. These boiled unleavened dough dumplings are a Central and Eastern European dish and they can be filled with sauerkraut, ground meat or potato filling.
The name pierogi is plural and one singular dumpling is known as a pierog. However, it is very uncommon to eat just one as each pierog can be consumed in only two or three bites. This food is somewhat similar to Italian Ravioli or Japanese gyoza.
The History of Pierogi
This dish was traditionally considered a peasant food, but they were so delicious that they gained popularity and became loved by all social classes – including the nobles. This food is eaten in many European countries including Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia but it is immensely popular in Poland and it is considered the national dish. Polish cookbooks from the 17th century have been discovered and they describe how Pierogi were considered a main staple of the Polish diet and that a special type of pierogi was prepared for every different holiday.
Also Loved in North America
A large influx of Central and Eastern European immigrants to North America means that this dish is a widespread favorite in Canada and the USA as well. It is common to find pierogi in areas with a large Ukrainian and Polish immigrant population including Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in Canada and Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Massachusetts, Omaha, Buffalo, Cleveland and New Jersey in the USA. These dumplings were first eaten as family recipes among immigrants, but became popular when they were served in ethnic restaurants or cooked for fundraisers at church. By the 1960s, it was common to find frozen pierogi in the supermarket isles in North America.
In fact the city of Whiting, Iin July of each year to celebrate this well-loved food. The largest edible pierogi ever made was cooked during this festival – it weighed 92 pounds!
So why not give this humble but delicious European food a try? Once you bite into one of these warm and tasty dumplings, you will want to make pierogis your go-to comfort dish.