This is the first of a multi-part post on Pierogi. It contains general information. For recipes and instructions, click here.
Pierogi, fresh kielbasa, and Gołąbki: the three quintessential Polish foods. Kruschiki is right up there, of course, with smoked kielbasa, and Polish rye. And potato pancakes. And sauerkraut – especially with noodles with caraway seeds – and beer, whiskey, whiskey and Seven-Up, whiskey and ginger ale, blessed food for Easter, Easter bread, and borscht. I’ll mention Czarnina, but let’s not discuss it. I should briefly bring up Pączki … this tradition has been bastardized by the unscrupulous hucksters who supply grocery stores and gas stations with items that, while legally allowed to go by the name “pastry,” are absolute garbage.. Do kurwy nędzy! If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stick with the holy trinity unless specifically advised by a Pole or Polish American: fresh kielbasa, gołąbki, and pierogi … and the greatest of these is pierogi.
If i eat pierogi everyday, will I become big and strong? Or just big? Let’s talk serving size. “Pierogi” is plural. Eating only one of them is so unheard of, that you could probably live and die, eating pierogi every day, and never encounter the singular form, “pieróg.” Anyone saying that one pieróg constitutes a serving is flat-out lying to you. And if they’re lying about this, what else are they lying to you about, huh? They’re probably the same people who tell you that a candy bar contains more than one serving. That notion laughed the dearly beloved king-size Snickers right out of existence, but only to bring about a two-serving-size Snickers in a “resealable” wrapper. Does that fancy wrapper make it more convincing as a two-serving item? Um … no. Anyway, I have a lifetime of real-world experience telling me to peg a Pierogi serving size at about five, MIN-I-MUM. Eight to ten is more like it. Individuals in my family can consume well upwards of 2 dozen in a single feeding (which I don’t recommend, but would be foolish to ignore).
Pierogi, like all great Polish food, are heartwarming and comforting and leave you feeling deeply satisfied way deep down in your gut. But it requires overwhelming amounts of backbreaking work to get Pierogi to happen. In that sense, I guess it’s a lot like dating: grueling in general, but the payoff can be nice. In fact, in the Polish communities with which I’m familiar, it’s considered a two-man job, if not a group effort of four or five. Anyway, if you’re going to attempt to do make Pierogi all by yourself, please, take my advice and break the work up so you can spread it out over a couple days. Make one filling one day. Make another filling the next day. The fillings keep well keep well in the fridge and, in fact, are easier to work with once they’ve been refrigerated. Once you make the dough, you should assemble and boil the Pierogi that day, or as soon as possible. Raw Pierogi dough will discolor if not cooked. Although this grey discoloration (the same thing that happens to biscuit dough) doesn’t mean the dough has gone bad, it will produce Pierogi that are simply off-color, and color psychologically affects taste. If this happens, know that once they’re boiled, they’ll lighten up to something much very close to their usual color, and they’ll taste fine. They’ll still be good, just not perfect. Boiled Pierogi, on the other hand, keep well and freeze beautifully.