An Irish proverb states, “It’s no use boiling your cabbage twice.” Obviously the author never heard of pierogies.
Pierogies are the Eastern European stuffed dumplings similar to Italian ravioli, Jewish kreplach, Ukrainian varenyky, Russian pelmeni and Chinese pot stickers. Usually crescent in shape, pierogies offer a variety of flavors to savor, including potato and onion, various cheeses, sauerkraut, sauteed cabbage, ground meat or fruit.
Most people are familiar with the crispy, deep-fried version found at local fairs and carnivals, but traditionally these pockets are cooked in boiling water. Pierogies were considered “poor man’s food” derived from basic farm staples of flour, eggs, potatoes and onions.
Like many comfort foods, pierogies became an integral part of holiday celebrations. Although officially claimed by Poland in the 13th century, meatless pierogies are served by many cultures at Lenten meals and on Christmas Eve.
Pierogies are as fun to make as they are to eat. Kids love stuffing and pinching the dough pockets shut. The challenge is keeping the filling off the edge to get a tight seal. Of course any exploding mistakes are easily gobbled up. There are so many ways to enjoy pierogies that you could literally eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Serve them as a side dish sauteed in butter and smothered with caramelized onions, incorporate them into a casserole or enjoy them as a fruity dessert topped with a dollop of sour cream. No matter how you stuff them, pierogies are full of fun.
—By Cindy Kerschner