I am the type of person that loves tradition. I cling to the traditions of my childhood and I’m always making sure to create new traditions for my family. I view traditions as the ties that bind a family together throughout the years.
So when food and tradition merge into one, you know I’m all over it!
Traditional, homemade Polish pieorogi are probably my earliest food memory and one of the food traditions that I hold most dear. Both of my grandmothers made pierogi, my mom made pieorogi, and now I’m proud to carry that on.
Now let me warn you right from the start, the process of making pieorogi is fairly simple, but it takes a long, long time! To me, it’s worth the 4 hours though.
For the Potato with Caramelized Onions & Bacon Filling
- 2 lbs. baby red-skinned potatoes
- 1/2 lb. bacon, diced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 c. butter or margarine
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 1 t. black pepper
- 1/2 t. garlic powder
1. Wash potatoes, place in a large pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are tender.
2. While potatoes boil, cook bacon and onion in a skillet until bacon is crisp. Darin all but 2 t. of grease from the skillet. Set aside.
3. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add butter or margarine to pot and mash with the potatoes. Stir in milk, sour cream, salt, pepper and garlic powder until desired consistency. Stir in bacon and onions, along with reserved grease. (You can skip the reserved grease if you want, but it adds a great bacon flavor all throughout the potatoes.)
For the Sauerkraut filling:
- 1 1/2 lbs. sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
- 2 T. butter or margarine
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/4 lb. mushrooms, diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 T. sour cream
1. Heat butter or margarine in a large skillet. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until onions are tender and mushrooms are browned. Stir in rinsed and drained sauerkraut. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool, then stir in sour cream.
For the dough
- 4 c. flour
- 1 t. salt
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 – 1 c. water
1. Mound flour on a cutting board or counter top. Sprinkle with salt. Make a well in the center and crack eggs into the center.
2. Using two butter knives, cut the eggs into the flour until thoroughly combined.
3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in water just until dough comes together but is not sticky. Knead for about 2 minutes, until smooth. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
To make the pierogi:
1. Fill a large stock pot with water. Generously salt the water and bring to a rolling boil.
2. Working in small batches, roll out some of the dough. You want the dough to be very thin, but not so thin that it will fall apart when boiled. (Because then all the filling falls out and you have to start over with a completely new pot of boiling water!) Using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass, cut out circles of dough.
3. Place desired filling in the center of each dough circle. Press edges and seal well with the tines of a fork.
4. Place about 6 pierogi at a time in the boiling water and boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and dip in some melted to butter to prevent the pierogi from sticking to each other. Pile on a plate.
5. Continue until done, adding more hot water to the cooking pot as needed.
You can then eat the pierogi as they are, fry in a little butter or cool completely and freeze for later use.
Using that dough recipe, we made about 6 1/2 dozen, although it’s hard to say for sure since I lost track of how many became snacks.
I packed up all of our pierogi into freezer bags and they’ll make the trek to my parents’ house in just over a week with us. We’ll eat them with dinner on Christmas Eve, and we’ll probably have the leftovers at some point the next day.
What are some of your favorite traditional foods to make for the holidays?
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