Le Boulangerie (3) Pierogi

To accompany my novel in progress: Breaking Bread, welcome to Le Boulangerie!

Week three and I’m already sort of going off script. Pierogi are not baked but they are made of dough so…. And I have a good reason for featuring them this week: Pittsburgh. (And don’t be confused, I am from Philadelphia, not Pittsburgh.) For those of you outside the United States and those who pay zero attention to sports, here’s the connection: I am a Pittsburgh Steelers football fan. (Steelers fan in Eagles territory…) The Steelers are in the playoffs. This Sunday they played and won their game against the Kansas City Chiefs in what can only be described as an ugly win. Nevertheless, the playoffs demand a party and a party demands food and drink.

Any city like Pittsburgh with a vibrant Polish and Eastern European community, will certainly be known for the foods of that ethnic origin–pierogi, for example. Pierogi are pockets of dough filled with a variety of ingredients. A traditional pierogi is most often filled with a combination of potatoes and cheese, potatoes and onions or cabbage. In honor of the Steelers, my friend Alexandra, armed with her Ukrainian grandma’s recipe, agreed to show us how to make pierogi from scratch on Sunday afternoon. I feel an annual tradition starting…

Now, right at the beginning I have to warn you, this was neither quick nor easy but it was so totally worth it. The key to this entire process as you might imagine is the dough:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of whole milk, scalded
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 6 – 7 cups of flour

Method:

Scald milk in saucepan. Put butter in hot milk to melt. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Mix water and yeast in a separate bowl. Let rest 5 minutes. Add salt and egg to milk mixture. Combine thoroughly. Gradually add flour in with mixer. As dough thickens, knead by hand instead (or switch to dough hook if using a stand mixer). Cover bowl with cloth and allow dough to rise about an hour.

Then the dough gets rolled out to about an eighth inch thickness and cut into rounds:

img_1509
When the rounds are ready, it’s time to fill them. Ours were stuffed with mashed Yukon gold potatoes, cheddar cheese, green onion and bacon. Fold the round over the stuffing mixture, seal with egg wash and use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges.

The filled pierogi go into a pot of boiling, salted water for a few minutes and then into a pan for frying in butter to a light golden brown.

And no Ukrainian or Polish meal would be complete without kielbasa, img_5004purchased at a butcher shop in northeastern Pennsylvania (coal mining country) another area with a large Eastern European community. We’re calling Pierogi fest 2017 a huge success!

And did I mention the Steelers won? Yeah, that too!

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56 thoughts on “Le Boulangerie (3) Pierogi

      1. I think he’s just taken for granted. I saw him in-person when he was in college, against my Cards in a bowl game, and he picked us apart. You could tell he was gonna be terrific on the next level. He’s like a statue back there, but so big he can withstand those hits he takes. Great QB. As a Bears fan, I’d take him in heartbeat. This just in: Cutler SUCKS!!! 😠

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep, I agree. About Cutler, too! I forgot you had a Chicago connection! Ben will retire a Steeler I bet. I was really glad The Bus, Ward and Polamalu all got to retire with the team. Harrison will now, too. That’s unheard of these days.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It is unheard of! I think you’re right, that both will retire as Steelers. That Harrison is a freak of nature! To be playing at that level at his age is unreal. I’ve read that he spends like $300,000 a year on wellness and training. Guess it’s paid off. 😃

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Those look yummy. We have an outlet on the north side of Chicago called Alexandra, I believe, that sells really good pierogi for a few dollars a pack. My favorite are mushroom tho all are good! We usually do a girl’s field trip once a year so everyone can stock up!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nothing like trashing a kitchen in a good cause. I have always needed a clean-up crew. I remember my grandmother visiting when I was about 11 years old. Both my parents worked. I was alone at home during the school holidays and had just finished cooking supper for my parents. What a mess. Then gran walked in. “Hi gran” I said, “You’re just in time to clean up the kitchen.” And she did. Wonderful woman … and she double checked my recipes and oven times too.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pierogi Fest 2017 was obviously a success all the way around, even if the Steelers victory was delayed a bit. Was alcohol and food consumption adjusted to the adjusted game time? I have no doubt the suits at NBC were lobbying the NFL hard about moving the game to nighttime for more eyeballs, which it most definitely got. Not a pretty win but it is all about survive and advance at this point and the Steelers are a step closer!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a guy originally from Allentown, and having grandparents from Hungary, pierogies are one of my favorites, along with Yocco hot dogs, cheesesteaks and kiffles. Gotta try your recipe, has to be better than the frozen pierogies I buy now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I grew up with these… the very traditional Ukrainian kind… never fried, only boiled. Melted butter with caramelized onions on top. Oh, these are my favorite thing Grandma ever made (and she made so so many wonderful things). These were our Christmas Eve dinner for as long as I can remember… until she was gone. We would gather around Mom’s kitchen island and help fill and crimp for hours with Gram. Literally hours… because she’d make around 200 of them… maybe even more (my memory sucks). But yes, tons… because we had to have leftovers for everyone, you know?!

    I have pictures of my son and daughter as babies (different times, of course) grabbing these in their little fists and eating them up. And when I was little, Gram used to watch my sisters and me every Saturday… and she would make a small batch for us every single week… always perfect — and without a recipe. It was all in her head. Everything she ever made was all in her head (bread and all…)… I miss that woman. She was amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No kidding? My MIL was actually a horrible cook but fortunately, the local church ladies would make up batches of home made pierogi for fundraisers… otherwise MIL would serve Mrs. T’s!!!! 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Fun, perogies, however you spell them, are my favourite food. A staple for every holiday dinner. They sound difficult to make though. I had a friend I played basketball with in high school, her Mom was ukrainen and made the most amazing homemade perogies ive ever had, she’d make tons of them for team fundraisers. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and you are welcome! It wasn’t so much difficult as time consuming. The recipe was straightforward and made a huge batch. So you could make them and freeze them. It was a kitchen trasher, though. 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I lived in NEPA and now I want pierogi & kielbasa! I can make the pierogi, but the kielbasa will be difficult – the butcher we bought from passed away several years ago, and nothing is *quite* the same.

    Liked by 1 person

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