Pierogies are traditionally considered peasant foods in Poland, although they eventually gained popularity throughout all the social classes, even the nobles. They are dumplings of unleavened dough – first boiled, at which point they can be served with melted butter or a variety of toppings, or then fried with onions. They are traditionally stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese or fruit.
Pierogies are usually semicircular, but are rectangular or triangular in some cuisines. The seams are pressed together to seal the pierogi so the filling will remain inside when it is cooked.
According to some 17th century cookbooks, the Pierogi were considered a staple of the Polish diet, with each holiday having its own special kind created. Different shapes and fillings for holidays such as Christmas and Easter were created, as well as for important events such as weddings where a special type of Pierogi “kirniki” was filled with chicken meat. It noted that Pierogi were also made for mourning/wakes and even some for the caroling season in January.
Pierogi are widespread in the United States due to its high popularization by Central and Eastern European immigrants. They are extremely common in areas with large Polish, Ukranian, or Ruthene populations, such as Buffalo, Chicago, Omaha, Massachusetts, Minneapolis Detroit, Cleveland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Unlike other countries with newer populations of European settlers, the modern pierogi is found in a wide selection of flavors throughout grocery stores in the U.S. Many of these grocery-brand pierogi contain non-traditional ingredients to appeal to general American tastes, including spinach, jalapeño and chicken.
Try this recipe by colleenlora provided to allrecipes.com for pan pierogi. She says it is a fun and easy alternative to the old-fashioned, labor-intensive pierogi. She adds that kids love it.
- 4 onions, chopped
- 4 tablespoons, butter
- 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
- 16 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
- 4 cups instant mashed potato flakes
- ¼ cup butter
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Saute onions in the butter until translucent and soft.
- Cook and drain lasagna as per package directions.
- Make potatoes as per package directions for 12 servings.
- Combine the onions with the potatoes.
- Place a layer of noodles over the bottom of the baking dish.
- Cover with a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with cheese and pats of butter.
- Repeat ending with noodles sprinkling top with cheese and butter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.