One of my most favorite foods. Growing up in Pittsburgh, pierogies were everywhere. Everywhere! The best are the ones made by church ladies, and my Aunt Bonnie (goddamnit, why do I not write down the dough recipe when I see her?).
My Gramsy was one of the pierogie ladies at St. Mary’s Church in Lawrenceville. “She went to pierogies” as she’d like to say, for years. She even had a “St. Mary’s Pierogie Princess” t-shirt. Which I now have. It is, obviously, one of my favorite t-shirts. I wish I had a picture of it.
But anyhoo, I’ve always wanted to try my hand at them, but just never did. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long. But over the weekend I finally–FINALLY! made them.
Which is fitting because October 8th is National Pierogie Day!!!!
Since I cannot remember Aunt Bonnie’s dough recipe, I consulted Mike Kalina’s
Pittsburgh Cookbook (1991). My mum got this for me this Christmas last year. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t know who Mike Kalina is (apparently he was KDKA’s Phantom Diner!). Regardless, I think this cookbook is very cool because it includes menus and recipes from Pittsburgh restaurants (some still there, some not). And weird little facts and old Pittsburgh photos.
But holy shit, I googled Kalina and THIS turned up. Apparently he committed suicide in 1992 after it was suspected that he was accepting money from restaurants for favorable reviews in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He was apparently an extremely successful writer and tv personality and was on the cusp of going national in a big way but an investigation was to start, and he may have gotten throat cancer, so he ended it.
Ugh. I just found out all of this now. After I made the pierogies. Which were awesome. Seriously awesome.
So let’s forget all of that suicide shit and talk little dumplings, OK?
Those are my favorite fillings. Well, that and sauerkraut. So I decided to take a look at another recipe for the sauerkraut filling. This one comes from a Ukranian Cookbook called Baba’s Cook Book by Emily Linkiewich (1st published 1979).
My potato filling:
My sauerkraut filling:
This dough rolled out perfectly. Look at how thin it is! I don’t know if I’ve just been using much better recipes (see the pork pie) or I just got so much better at making dough.
Now I could have used Katharine Bougcki’s method of making the pierogies, or used Baba’s illustrated directions, but I totally was lazy and used this little thingie that my mum gave me a couple of years ago…
Well this little pocket machine was awesome. The yellow ring is for cutting the dough rounds, which you then put on the foldy-thing put a bit of stuffing, and press it together. This is the result:
Little perfect pockets!
So, after sauteing some onion in butter and boiling the pierogies, here they are!
SO. GOOD. The sour cream on the side is a must.
The filling mostly fell out of the sauerkraut ones, but the potato/cheese were excellent.
I admit that the process was time consuming, but I think totally worth it. I froze the rest of them and had some more for dinner last night. I just dropped the frozen pierogies into boiling water. They came out perfectly. Totally easy weeknight dinner.
I look forward to making more dishes from both of these cookbooks.
Happy National Pierogie Day, kittens! Now, go make yourself some of these or at least buy a box of Mrs. T’s.