Making Memories…Pierogi

I was raised with a mixed Polish-Austrian ethnic background. My mom was a war bride; she met my dad when he was stationed in Austria during the war. She then immigrated to Toronto where my parents were married and shortly thereafter obtained her visa to come to Michigan…where she’s lived ever since.

My dad’s mom (known as Busha) was Polish…and she herself, immigrated to the U.S. from Poland. She was the matriarch of the family and taught my mom all there was to know about Polish cooking…and PIEROGI! For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, pierogi may be described as a little stuffed dumpling of sorts?

Since my dad ‘passed’ a few months ago, (and my mom is eighty-something) she wasn’t quite feeling up to making pierogi for Christmas this year ~ very understandable! So,  my daughter (who will turn 16 later this month) and I spent the better part of Tuesday making 130 more or less…pierogi! We love and prefer the cabbage/kapusta-filled pierogi, but potatoe and cheese-filled pierogis are also popular with many folks. 

I begin with making the ‘cabbage’ a day or two in advance.

Cabbage/Kapusta Filling:

1 head fresh cabbage (~3 pounds)

pork salt

3-4 onions

1 can silverfloss sauerkraut

pepper

HOW TO: Finely shred cabbage; boil in water for 3-4 minutes to soften; squeeze water out. In a skillet, mince ~ 1/2 cup pork salt and brown; mince onions and saute in skillet with pork salt. Add to drained pre-cooked cabbage. Rinse half of sauerkraut, squeeze out water and add to cabbage. Add pepper to taste. Adjust taste with remaining sauerkraut. Not too sour! Cook at very low heat for additional 30-minutes. Set aside.

Katie rolled-out all the dough, we both filled, and I boiled/finished off  the pierogi. My niece was supposed to help, but she forgot she still had school!!!!

As for the ‘dough’:

5 cups sifted flour

4  egg yolks beaten

4 T melted margarine

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup warm water + 1/2 tsp yeast

~2 T sour cream

Mix dry ingredients; make hole in center and add wet ingredients. Work together until smooth as baby’s behind! Let dough rest 30 minutes. Roll out a little dough at a time on lightly floured board. Cut approx 3-inch circle and fill with about a teaspoon of cabbage. Fold over and pinch edges. When you have a dozen or so made, bring a large pot of water to a slow simmer and gently boil pierogi about 8 minutes. Remove from water and place in a buttered skillet for several minutes…some folks like to brown them a bit and serve with sour cream ~~~ or store in refrigerator for later. Also freezes well.

If you’re not inclined to take the time/effort to make ALL those individual pierogis…we can cheat a little and make POOR MAN’S PIEROGI: (hee hee)

Make the same cabbage filling, but instead of the dough, boil/use a good quality ‘bow-ties’ pasta (about 1 pound). Cook pasta as directed on package. Add to prepared ‘cabbage’. For a one-pot meal, I also like to add sliced/cooked polish kielbasa. YUM!

I hope you take the time to make memories!

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2 thoughts on “Making Memories…Pierogi

  1. You just brought back memories of my own grandma making pierogi in my mom and dad’s kitchen. I’ve helped, but I’ve never made them myself. Yum (though I’ll pass on the sauerkraut filling… potato/cheese all the way for me!) Mike and I got some cherry pierogi at the Polish market last summer. They were so good boiled then browned in butter, and served with sweetened sour cream. I had never had “sweet” pierogi before but I think we’ll be trying some other fruit flavors soon. Yum.

    Merry Christmas Jenny (and NO, Katie is NOT almost 16!!! That simply can’t be right!)

    • Hi Trish! Yum! My mom always used jam as filling for any left-over dough! …and yes, Katie’s 16th bday is on the 30th! WOW! Wishing you and your loved ones many blessings and sweet memories this Christmas!

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