Polish pierogi, usually referred to in plural (pɛˈɾoːɡi) are a kind of a Slavic dumpling. They are served cooked and (then often) fried, and come with different kinds of filling and sauces. Another big plus for pierogi is that you can enjoy them both warm and cold.
Pierogi are a dish that is usually made from scratch and every Polish family has their own recipe for the perfect dough and the yummiest filling. They are a staple food for people of all economic situations, and are always served during important holidays and get-togethers. And although Polish culture is not very big on fast food, little pierogi shops for a bite on the go (called pierogarnia) are often to be seen in all neighborhoods.
As they are a bit time consuming to make, every family has a batch of frozen pierogi in their fridge, ready to be defrosted and fried when hunger strikes.
When it comes to Poles living abroad, they all carry their pierogi recipe with them - but because of the many generations of those living outside of Poland, you might come across different spelling of the word pierogi - like pierogies, perogies, perogy spelling.
History of Pierogi
Pierogi origin takes us back to the Medieval times, when pierogi were introduced to the Polish people by the East, most likely from the territory of today’s Ukraine. The first pierogi in Polish culture were made with meat or meat leftovers, to then gradually include different kinds of fresh or sour vegetables, but also potatoes, cheese and then even fruit like blueberries. The name itself derives from the word for ‘’pie’’ and different nations have their own, yet very similar name for this dish.
Although the true origins of the dish remain unknown, there are legends about the priest called Saint Hyacinth of Poland (Święty Jacek), now a Saint patron of pierogi, who supposedly brought pierogi to Poland - or whose miracles made people create pierogi as a sign of gratitude. Some people also believed that pierogi do have origins in Asian dumplings.
Nowadays, the love of people for pierogi goes so far that new variations are being created with every new pierogarnia that opens up. Combinations like pierogi pizza or pierogi lasagna are even made, with the help of things like a pierogi maker!
It’s important to note that there are numerous European cuisines that pride themselves with their own pierogi version. These include countries like Hungary, Germany, Austria, Romania, Moldova... A variety known as Russian pierogi (or pierogi ruskie) also comes from Ukraine and it is said that they were named so when Ukraine fell under foreign rule.
Top 10 Pierogi Fillings
Some people like pierogi sweet, some like them savory. Whatever the filling, the pierogi dough stays the same - so do go wild and creative when making your own and be your own pierogi queen or king!
Need a bit of inspiration?
Here is a list of the most loved pierogi fillings:
Sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi or pierogi z kapustą i grzybami - a classic, and one you will most likely try first.
Sauerkraut pierogi -the most simple variation of the classic filling, also known as the ones you make when you’re out of mushrooms.
Potato and cheese pierogi - pierogi ruskie -a traditional kind, found in Ukraine and near eastern borders of Poland, although potato pierogi are also made on their own.
Sweet cheese pierogi - although these pierogi might sound strange, you will easily find them replacing the savory course. Another cheese variation, savory and more breakfast like is the one with buckwheat oats and farmer’s cheese (pierogi z kaszą gryczaną i twarogiem)
Meat pierogi or pierogi z mięsem - preferred by some, but losing popularity with time.
Fruit pierogi - like the ones with blueberries, with a sweet cheese sauce, these are truly delicious and will serve as a great dessert.
Onion and cabbage pierogi - for those who like stronger tasting (and after-tasting) food.
Mushroom pierogi -Chanterelle mushroom filling, a modern, more fancy variation of the sauerkraut-mushroom type.
Spinach pierogi- delicious and modern.
Duck meat pierogi - this filling is all it can be: delicious, modern and fancy, especially when served with cranberry sauce!
What is your favorite pierogi filling? Did we miss one? Let us know and comment below!
Share it with us, and take a look at some of our pierogi merch for those passionate pierogi lovers.