Pierogi

 

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Last week there was a Pulaski Day Parade in New York City, which  is a celebration of Polish culture in America. Polish culture is not very well known in the United States of America. Even though there is a big Polish community in the US. The biggest Polish community is probably in NYC and NJ area as well as Chicago. (Chicago is a famous Polish city because that鈥檚 where the first Polish immigrants settled).

Many people don鈥檛 realize that there is a Polish parade in New York City every year. The parade is not as popular as other parades but it is a great way to celebrate and show Polish culture in America.  Unfortunately, I could not attend the parade this year due to the inclement weather but it has inspired me to make some Polish dishes.

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Before we go into the recipe I want to share with you some information about Poland.

Poland is a country located in Eastern Europe, bordering with Germany from the west side ; Lithuania , Belarus , Ukraine from the east side and Czech Republic and Slovakia (which used to be one country called Czechoslovakia)  from the south. Northern part of Poland is bordering with Baltic Sea. The capital of Poland is Warsaw.

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In America people don’t know too much about Polish culture and history. Many people make a mistake and when I tell them that I’m from Poland they think I said Holland. Others think that Poland and Russia are the same thing. Once, one of my friends told me, that someone asked him where he was from and when he said Poland, the person replied : “Yeah, I know Poland. It’s next to Texas”. 馃檪

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There are many Polish people that influenced American culture and were a part of the history making, however, many of us don’t even know that they are Polish. One of the most famous Polish people known all over the world was pope John Paul II. His real name was Karol Wojtyla and he was born in Krakow, Poland.

Everybody also heard at some point of their life’s, most likely in school,  about Marie Curie.  But  did you know that her maiden name was Sklodowska and  she was born in Poland? She married French man and acquired dual citizenship, Polish and French, but she is originally from Poland.

Finally, famous Pulaski skyway in Jersey City, NJ was named after polish general Kazimierz Pulaski.  General Pulaski was a part of the U.S. military and was a big contributor to the American Revolution.* The Polish day parade celebrated every year in NYC is named after the famous Polish – American general.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_Pulaski

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Whenever I tell people that I鈥檓 Polish, they ask me if I like Pierogi or Kielbasa 馃檪  (By the way, people make a common mistake by saying Pierogis instead of Pierogi. Pierogi is a plural version of Pierog so there is no need to add 鈥榮’ at the end).  I think Pierogi and Kielbasa are two most popular dishes in USA. Many people, even Polish, feel intimidated when it comes to making pierogi. They think it is very difficult and takes a really long time. While it does require some time to make, it is not difficult at all. With a little good will and some practice anyone can make it.

To make approximately 20-25 pierogi you will need:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water or as needed to make a firm dough (you might need a little less)

Filling

  • 1 package of farmer鈥檚 cheese (213 gram)
  • 5-6 small potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Salt and pepper

 How to prepare:

First, I peel and boil the potatoes in the salted water. In the meantime I prepare the dough for pierogi. The dough is a simple flour and water. Some people add an egg to make it richer but I think flour and water is enough to make it taste great. I add the water a little bit of the time to make a firm, not too watery, dough.  Once the dough comes together I knead it for 3-4 minutes and then wrap it in the plastic wrap and set aside.

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In the meantime I prepare the filling. Pierogi can be made with all kinds of different fillings. In my house we usually had  piergi with sour kraut and mushrooms, or with sweet farmer鈥檚 cheese, or with fruits like strawberries, blueberries. You could also make pierogi with meat or any other filling you like. I like pierogi with cheese and potatoes and that鈥檚 what I will be preparing today. Those pierogi are not very traditional in Poland, they are known as Russian pierogi. However, I think they are the most popular in USA. I ate them here for the first time as well.

To make the filling we will need :

  • 1 package of farmer鈥檚 cheese (213 gram)
  • 5-6 small potatoes
  • 陆 onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Once the potatoes are boiled I mash them with the potato masher and set aside to cool. I fry finely chopped onion, in 1 tbsp. of canola oil, until golden brown. Don鈥檛 forget to add a little bit of salt and pepper.  Once the onions and potatoes are cooled I mix them with farmer鈥檚 cheese.

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The filling is ready so now we can work on the dough. I take a small piece of the dough (approx. 1/4 ) and start rolling it out. The dough has to be pretty thin. If it鈥檚 too thick the pierogi will be chewy.

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I have a special cutter that I use to cut out circles and fold the pierogi. You probably won鈥檛 be able to find it in any store in the USA. If you need it send me a message I can try to get it for you. But you can also make pierogi without it. Just use the glass to cut the circles and fold it with your hands.

 

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If you don’t have a cutter use the glass to cut the circles and fork to fold pierogi:

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Once the pierogi are all done, the last thing you need to do is to boil them. Bring a salted water to a boil in the large pot and add the pierogi. They will boil for 4-5 minutes. Once they start floating to the top, let them boil for a minute and take them out. Make sure to brush them with a little butter or cooking oil once you take them out otherwise they will stick to each other.

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Pierogi freeze very well so if you’re not going to eat all of them you can just freeze it.

You can eat the pierogi just like that or you can take a step further and fry them. I like to fry them in a tablespoon of canola oil until golden brown. Sometime I also make some fried onion to go with it. I like to dip my potato and cheese pierogi in a little sour cream.

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I hope you like the recipe and you find the instructions helpful. Making piergi does not need to be boring or difficult. If you get your children or family members involved it can be a lot of fun. As a small girl I loved helping my mom make pierogi.

 

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Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave a comment or share the recipe with your family or friends.

ENJOY!!!!

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