Dumplings (pierogi) are probably the best known Polish dish.
The Chinese have wonton dumplings, the Italians have ravioli, the Russians have pielmieni and the Poles have pierogi.
Note! Pierogi is already plural :), singular is pierożek or pieróg.
According to history, dumplings came to our country because of Jacek Odrowaz, a monk and prior of a monastery in Kiev, who was supposed to bring a recipe for dumplings from Russia.
Legend has it that when passing through Podkarpacie, Odrowąż, having only flour, cabbage and mushrooms at his disposal, combined everything into one, giving rise to dumplings.
Interestingly, in this part of Poland, until recently a prayer was said before a pierogi meal:
“St. Jack from dumplings, pray to God for us, that these dumplings will be on the table all year round and defend us from hunger";.
In the following centuries, pierogi in Poland made a stunning career through Russia or China, and even in the interwar period, weddings were often held at which the only dish was them.
Pierogi have become part of Polish cuisine and are present in it all the time. Although at the moment most of us focus on convenience and time saving by choosing finished products, they never match the quality and taste of home made dumplings.
The most traditional fillings are: cabbage and mushrooms, meat, with potatoes and cottage cheese (the so-called Russian), quark, and sweet: berries or strawberries.
For some time now in Poland there has been a fashion for restaurants with pierogi, so called Pierogarnie, where various flavors of pierogi are offered, among others: with lentils, with spinach, ruskie with smoked bacon, with meat and cabbage, with camembert cheese, sweet cheese and vanilla, strawberries etc.
The fantasy of chefs knows no bounds.
However, some people say that the secret of dumplings is not filling but a well made dough. It has to be thin and flexible in order to stick well. Some people even add a little bit of oil to the dough.
Our grandmother always sifted the flour (300g) on the board to make it plumper and added hot water (250ml) slowly to make the flour more sticky, and stirred first with a spoon so as not to get burnt, then a little salt (1/4 tea spoon) and kneaded the dough for quite a long time until it left the hand. Then all you had to do was roll it out thinly and cut it out with a glass of circles.
That's the secret!
Since the stuffing is already so prepared that it can be eaten immediately, the moulded dumplings can be boiled on boiling water only a few minutes after they have reached the surface.
Pierogi can also be frozen, but this is not the same as fresh pierogi served with greaves or cream or other wraps.
Here are some recipes for traditional stuffing:
· Sauerkraut filling: melt the butter (2 tablespoons) in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion (1/3 cup chopped onion), and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the sauerkraut (1 ½ cups drained and minced) and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove to a plate to cool.
· Sauerkraut and forest mushrooms, also called Wigilijne, for Christmas Eve: prepare sauerkraut as above, but also add mushrooms as follows - a day before soak dried mushrooms (about 150g) and leave for the night; the next day cook until soft for about 20 min and grind in a grinder with thick eyes.
· Mashed potato filling: melt the butter (3 tablespoons) in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion (1/2 cup chopped), and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir into the cold mashed potatoes (2 cups), and season with salt and white pepper.
· Ruskie: similar as mashed potato filling, but also add farmer cheese, in Polish twaróg (1/5 cup)
· With meat: boil pork meat (about 1/5kg ) until soft, cool and mince finely, add pepper, salt, egg, a pinch of marjoram.
Enjoy your meal!