Pierogies are dumplings made from unleavened dough and traditionally filled with potatoes, sauerkraut, meat or cheese. They are usually semicircular, often formed from cutting circles from a flour and water dough with a cup or glass. Pirogies originated in central or eastern Europe but they are similar to italian ravioli and chinese wontons. They can be boiled, baked, or fried and served with toppings and garnishes like sour cream, salsa, butter, onions, or bacon crumbles. And for those of us with a serious sweet tooth, there are even dessert pierogies stuffed with fruit and topped with sweet sauces or maple syrup.
I think I was in my twenties before I heard of pierogies. If I recall correctly, the first time I laid eyes on them was during a grocery shopping trip with my ex-husband. Chuck had feasted on the dumplings before and was eager to buy some frozen Mrs. T’s Pierogies for dinner. Always more than happy to have someone else do the cooking, I threw them in the cart. A few days later when he sautéed the dumplings I was surprised by how tasty they were in spite of their plain ingredients and low caloric content. I’ve been a big fan ever since. In fact, just last month I baked a new pierogy recipe for the first time: a casserole made of pierogies, tomato sauce, canned artichoke hearts, and cheddar cheese. And, not to toot my own horn, but I thought it was both easy and delicious.
In honor of National Pierogy Day I decided to cook pierogies for dinner tonight. We actually had a couple boxes of the frozen dumplings in our freezer and I settled on a potato and cheddar filled variety. This time, rather than baking them, I sautéed them in oil and served them with a sour cream topping. I burned them a little, which is unusual for me, but the filling was still soft and creamy and the meal was delicious. And I love that pierogies are so lite feeling and low-fat — we had a late dinner tonight and it was nice not to feel gorged afterward. When we were done eating I poked around on the Mrs. T.’s website and discovered a plethora of cooking methods and recipes. I think my next pierogy meal will either be a crockpot experiment or Mrs. T’s recipe for fajita pierogies. I can’t wait!
This evening we enjoyed our pierogies with a creamy cheddar filling but tomorrow we’ll be exploring an entirely different type of cheese — it’s Moldy Cheese Day!