What the Heck is a Pierog?

Back in May, one of my dear friends and I were in desperate need of a girls night. She had just gotten married and learned she was putting her house on the market (sad face) to move to Atlanta and asked if I would mind come over to her place for dinner and drinks because a workman was coming out to check on a few things. No problem. If there’s food and wine, you know I’m there.

So I get there, we have a glass of wine and she said “Um, I was just planning on throwing together kielbasa and pierogi if that’s okay? I know it’s not fancy, but we really love it.”

I was a little ashamed to admit it – but I think I’d only had pierogi once in my life. It was shortly after attending a Pittsburgh Pirates game with one of my college friends (aka “Punk”) when I so eloquently asked her “What the huh?” and pointed to the odd crescent-shaped costumes racing around the bases as some sort of entertainment – the “Pierogi Race.” She was shocked I asked such a question! “It’s food. It’s amazing food. It’s a Polish dish.”

Well now I felt really silly – and yet, I was 18 years old and grew up in Memphis, TN. Not my fault I’d never seen “Pierogi” listed as a side dish to go with your slab of ribs!

I learned that pierogi are basically pasta pockets that are filled with a mashed potato type filling that can also include cheese and/or onion. Oh, and they are delicious.

So back to my friends dinner – kielbasa and pierogi. Of course it sounded delicious.  A – I knew all of those ingredients and liked all of them. B – I was intrigued to see how this would play out. mainly because I forgot pierogi existed in the aisles of my neighborhood grocery store.

The verdict? Oh my goodness it was so good. Easy and absolutely delicious. I am fairly certain I went to the store a day later and bought everything to make it and very excitedly told the husband we were having pierogi. He looked very confused…”Gesundheit?”

Now he requests it, which I’m totally fine with because it’s super simple! I even figured out how to “lighten it up” for the good ol’ diet! It’s really handy for the nights when we have a function or meeting to attend and get home a little later – because it’s so easy to throw together!

Well, I (of course) decided to make it difficult. I mean, more difficult than boiling water and adding the frozen pierogi.

Yes, I decided to make homemade Pierogi! This definitely not something that you can throw together with an hour or two before company arrives – but it was a lot of fun and totally worth it when I dove into that first bite. I plan on experimenting with the filling quite a bit in the future!

Asparagus, Cheese and Herb Pierogi (serves 2-4)

For the Dough

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. fat-free sour cream

1 egg

1/4 cup warm water

Add all ingredients to a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until dough forms into a ball, scraping up any stray bits of flour to incorporate into the mixture. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. (P.S. I finally got to break out my beautiful red Kitchen Aid mixer!! The little things in life I tell ya…)

For the Filling

4 oz. trimmed asparagus

Olive oil spray

1 medium potato

1/3 cup Philadelphia Italian Cheese & Herb Cooking Cream (Reduced Fat)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

First, you need to roast your asparagus. Heat oven to 400, spray trimmed asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast for 15-18 minutes and remove to cool. Chop roughly and set aside.

In the meantime, you’ll need to boil your potato. Peel and cube the potato and add to boiling water. Cook for about 10-12 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.

Add chopped asparagus, potato and cooking creme to a food processor. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Pulse food processor until ingredients are well blended and relatively smooth.

Remove dough and roll out to about 1/8 inch thick. I used a glass that was about 3” diameter to cut my pierogi…you can do the same!

Spoon about 1/2 or 1 Tbsp. of the filling in to the center of each circle. Bring edges together to form a crescent shape and pinch together, ensuring you have a good seal.

Repeat until all pierogi are formed.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Add pierogi to the boiling water about 5-6 at a time. Boil 4-5 minutes, or until they float to the top, and remove with a slotted spoon. Repeat until all are done.

Plate your pierogi and garnish with whatever you want! We usually do a little salt, pepper, butter spray and some shredded cheese (mozzarella here).

Oh, I am proud to inform you that while writing this post I learned something new – as I used to refer to the dish as “Pierogies”. “Pierogi” is actually the plural and “Pierog” is the singular form. Like you could just have one of these?

Hope everybody had a great weekend!

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8 thoughts on “What the Heck is a Pierog?

  1. Mary, your Polish relatives would be sad that you didn’t know what Pierogi were! 🙂 Very cute post- I love the pictures and great descriptions!

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