December 20, 2009

Authentic Pierogi Recipe - Polish Christmas Cooking

I dedicate this pierogi recipe to my twitter friends, who inspired me to make this post, after they have learned yesterday what I am going to cook today. Pierogies are very tasty especially homemade. Basically the dough is the same, you can make different stuffing: sour cabbage with mushrooms, potato-white cheese-onion (called here in Poland God knows why - Russian pierogi) or different fruit-sweet versions (strawberry and blueberry are my favourites).
There is one special kind that traditionally is made in Poland for Christmas - this is sour cabbage pierogi. They are served at Christmas Eve dinner since few centuries. Dough is the same, stuffing is special.
Recommended further reading Polish Classic Recipes (Classics Series)

Recipe for 3-4 hungry persons - approx. 30-40 pierogies (depends on size)
1/2 kg of sour cabbage
10 dag of dried wild mushrooms
1 cup of water
salt, pepper or hot capsicum

Stuffing preparation:
Chop sour cabbage to small 1 cm long pieces, add salt, pepper or capsicum and cook it for 20 minutes.
In separate pot cook water and mushrooms  for 20 mintutes. After it cools down chop finely the mushrooms and add them to cabbage together with the water they were cooked in. Mix and cook 20 minutes more.

If you don't have wild mushrooms, you may use regular mushrooms, however the taste will differ.

Dough ingredients:
4 cups flour plus some extra for kneading and rolling dough
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of milk
1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of salt for cooking
butter and onions for sauteing

This dough pierogi recipe is very special and comes from my mother. Possibly you will not find it in the books, but it works really great when you need to make sure your pierogi dough is strong enough and soft enough at the same time. It doesn't require any additional cream, butter or anything else.
Mixing boiling milk with flour, makes the dough soft enough, easy to seal and strong to prevent falling apart while boiling. 

Mix salt with flour, add boiling milk and work the dough until is smooth (7-8 minutes). Be careful at the beginning - it may be very hot in some places.
You need to work fast. The colder the dough gets, the more difficult it will be to roll it.

Roll the dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8" thick.

Cut the circles with cookie cutter. Or any cup will do. 

I have chosen the biggest cup - for lazy big pierogies.

Add the teaspoon of stuffing, which you prepared earlier.

Put the sides together...

And seal the edges.

You may add some pattern to decorate and strenghten the seal.

Voila! they are almost ready!

Add salt to water and boil it. Add some oil to make pierogies oily after cooking, so they don't stick together.
Add pierogi only to boiling water, not earlier. This prevents falling apart.

It looks like this after you place them in the pot. Move them very gently, so they don't stick to the bottom.
Cover the pot and wait until the water starts to boil again.

When pierogies are floating on the top, turn off the flame, cover the pot and keep them like this for 5 minutes.
After that they are ready.
Before serving you may add on top:
fried, finely chopped onion.
We serve it with fried onion for Christmas.

Bon Appetite!
Recommended further reading Polish Classic Recipes (Classics Series)


Unknown said...

I love pierogis, but have never eaten a sweet one. That intrigued me, but these look totally delicious and I might make them between Christmas and New Years. Thanks for sharing, Ewa!

Kathryn/ said...

Oh, this is wonderful, Ewa! Thank you so very much for sharing this recipe--replete with all the wonderful photos--to teach us how to do this! Fabulous! I will have to look for wild mushrooms. Surely I can find in a store! And what is SOUR cabbage, please?

Eva said...

Thank you so much for posting this! You make it look so easy. Sauerkraut/Sour Cabbage is my favorite pierogi filling! I can't wait to try it!

chaiselongue said...

Oh, these look good! I'll have to try making them. Thanks for the recipe and the clear instructions.

joey said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely gift, Ewa. Merry Christmas!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Mmmmmmmm Ewa, that looks and sounds delish. Polish people really know how to celebrate Christmas in style!

Ewa said...

Kathryn, sour cabbage is called also sauerkraut - fermented cabbage - old way of preserving cabbage. Very popular still in Poland. More info here:

Katarina said...

Sounds delicous Ewa, I love sour cabbage!
-Merry Christmas!

Carole said...

Ohhhh, miam !!! I will have to try this !!! We are lucky to have sauerkraut here in Alsace as well, and I still have a jar of mushrooms that my father picked in the forest... I will use them for this !
I'm looking forward to it !
I visited Krakow 16 years ago, and I remember the tasty food, especially the cakes... I wanted to spend 4 - 5 days in Warszawa next week but my husband was doubtful because of our children, and well good thing we didn't plan anything because now it's chaos in the airports and train stations in France because of the snow !
Well, thanks for the recipe, I'll post about it on my blog when I make it.

stadtgarten said...

That looks and sounds absolutely delicious! My old job was related to Wroclaw, so sometimes I had the opportunitiy to try polish food, and that was always very yummy. Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe.
I wish you a wonderful christmas, Monika

vicki archer said...

Delicious Ewa....I have eaten them before and loved them, but only the savoury ones. The sweet flavours sound wonderful. xv

Nicole said...

Looks delicious-just reading this post made me hungry!

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Our annual gift of homemade pierogis from one Polish-heritaged friend was last dropped off last week. I'm anxious to dig into them but know I have to wait till my wife is around to share them.

I've never had the sweet-filled pierogis either. I'm game!

Jan said...

These pierogis look delicious. I hope you have a very merry Christmas, Ewa.

Always Growing

Victoria Cummings said...

Ewa - Merry Christmas! What a lovely present - the pierogi recipe is just what I've been looking for - thanks so much!

Naturegirl said...

Mmmm...LoVe perogies! I have not had cabbage filled..worth making and tasting. My mother passed away in Jan. and this is the first year ever that our family does NOT have perogies on the Christmas menu.
I will try these for sure and perhaps begin the tradition myself.
As most things in life one does not know what you're missing until it's gone.
By the way I have had blueberry filled perogies..what do you garnish with? I put sour crm. on top but it was missing something?
Wishing you a Merry Christmas! Thank you for sharing!

Barbara said...

Happy new Year and all the very best for 2010 to you, dear Ewa! And thank you for your good wishes too. Your post here reminds me of the time, when one of my sons was together with his Polish girlfriend. She always brought us pierogis after Christmas (and a lot of other, very sweet, surprises, mmmh!) to eat. She told us that Polish Christmas is also a feast with a lot, lot to eat!
Have a good time,

lisa said...

Ewa, this post made me smile a lot and drool a bit too. As a university student (Quite a few years ago), and then again after graduation, I spent the summer in Poland and Russia / Ukraine, and yes, Poland was the first place I ever experienced Pierogi. I think it's time I ditch the quick frozen ones I find in my area and make a batch from scratch :)

Christmas Pudding Recipe said...

Thanks for a great article. Your images are clear and easy to follow. I'm going to try making this. Thanks again!

Patrick said...

Steph and I made these for Christmas in 2009, a last minute decision after seeing your post here. We really enjoyed them! We're going to make them again this year.

We never make them any other time, and it's nice to have a special recipe for something we can make for a nice vegetarian Christmas dinner.

Thanks for posting it!

Ewa said...

Patrick, I hope you like it! Bon Appetit!

Unknown said...

What kind of milk and what kind of flour do you use?

SO happy I found this recipe, I have been looking for an authentic pierogi recipe for a long time now!

Ewa said...

Cow milk - any kind, can be fat or skimmed and plain wheat flour without any additives.
Good luck!

Arianamarie said...

My Polish mom and now my sisters and I traditionally make pierogi for Christmas Eve but with water in the dough. I have seen recipes with eggs but never milk. You have intrigued me into trying the dough with milk instead of water this year. Mom also taught us to fold over the edges like yours. Thanks for the recipe. Merry Christmas!

Ewa said...

Arianamarie, welcome to my blog :)
At the beginning I was also doing it with water, but then my Mom introduced modification. Almost boiling hot milk - it makes the dough more delicate and easier to work with. Happy Christmas!