Pierogi (also spelled pierógi, pyrogy or perogi) are boiled, baked or fried dumplings of unleavened dough traditionally stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, or fruit. Of central and eastern European provenance, they are usually semicircular, but are rectangular or triangular in some cuisines.
The Polish word pierogi is plural; the singular form pieróg is rarely used, as a typical serving consists of several pierogi.
Origin and name variants
The origins of pierogi are difficult to trace. While dumplings as such are found throughout Eurasia, the specific name pierogi, with its Proto-Slavic root "pir" (festivity) and its various cognates in the West and East Slavic languages, shows the name's common Slavic origins, predating the modern nation states and their standardized languages, although in most of these languages the word means pie. In English, the word pierogi and its variants: perogi, pyrogy, perogie, perogy, pirohi, piroghi, pirogi, pirogen, pierogy, pirohy, and pyrohy, are pronounced with a stress on the letter "o".
The East Slavic Belarusians, Russians, Ukrainians and Ruthenians, as well as the West Slavic Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks, and the Baltic Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians all consume this dish, although sometimes under a different name (e.g., kalduny in Belarus, pirukad in Estonia, pīrāgi in Latvia, and koldūnai in Lithuania).
There is a similarity to Italian ravioli and tortellini or Ashkenazi kreplach. In Turkey, Transcaucasus, and Central Asia round pockets of dough with a meat filling are called manti, khinkali, or chuchvara. In East Asia, similar foods are served, such as Chinese wonton or Jiaozi, Korean mandu or Songpyeon at the Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving day, jiaozi, Japanese gyoza, Mongolian buuz, Nepalese/Tibetan momo, and Afghani mantu. In the Indian state of Gujarat, a similar item is called 'Ghooghra' (or Ghugra), which is of very similar shape, stuffed with grainy sweet flour and small pieces of dry fruit. It is usually eaten during India's biggest (Hindu) festival of Diwali.
Pierogi or vareniki are half circular dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed (singularly or in various combinations) with mashed potatoes, cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, mushrooms, spinach, or other ingredients depending on the cook's personal preferences. Dessert versions of the dumpling can be stuffed with a fresh fruit filling, such as cherry, strawberry, saskatoon berry, raspberry, blueberry, peach, plum, or apple; stoned prunes are sometimes used. For better flavor, sour cream can be added to the dough mixture, and this also tends to lighten the dough.
Mashed potatoes mixed with farmer's cheese and fried onions is a popular filling in Poland. A popular filling for pierogi in Canada is mashed potatoes mixed with grated Cheddar cheese. Jewish Kreplach are filled with ground meat, mashed potatoes or another filling, usually boiled and served in chicken soup. They are similar to Italian tortellini and Chinese wontons.
The dough, which is made simply by mixing flour and warm water, is rolled flat and then cut into circles using a cup or drinking glass. The filling is placed in the middle and the dough folded over to form a half circle. The pierogi or vareniki are boiled until they float, drained, and sometimes fried or baked in butter before serving. They can be served with melted butter, sour cream, or garnished with small pieces of fried bacon, onions, and also mushrooms. Dessert varieties may be topped with apple sauce. Some families in North America serve them with maple syrup.
Pierogi in various nations, regions, and ethnicities
Pierogi are served in a variety of forms and tastes (ranging from sweet to salty to spicy) in Polish cuisine. Pierogi were traditionally peasant food, but eventually spread in popularity throughout all social classes, including nobles. They are served at many festivals, playing an important role as a cultural dish. At the 2007 Pierogi Festival in Kraków, 30,000 pierogi were consumed daily. Polish pierogi are often filled with fresh white cheese (curd, pot cheese), potatoes, and fried onions, which is the most popular variety in North America. In Poland more popular are pierogi filled with ground meat, mushrooms and cabbage, or for dessert an assortment of fruits (various berries, with either strawberries or blueberries being most common). Sweet pierogi are usually served with sour cream, while savory with bacon fat and bacon bits. Poles traditionally serve two types of pierogi for Christmas Eve supper. One kind is filled with sauerkraut and dried mushrooms, another – small uszka filled only with dried wild mushrooms – are served in clear borscht.
Leniwe pierogi ("lazy pierogi") are a different type of food, similar to lazy vareniki, kopytka, or halušky.
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The Pierogi Recipe handed down through generations, home.comcast.net