Every country has its own culture and is full of delicious flavours. Every culinary enthusiast like me loves to enjoy new flavours following different cultures. When someone talks about Poland, the first thing that comes to my mind is pierogies and with a good reason. It is an important component of Polish cuisine and culture. Here I will share with you a little something about pierogies and what to eat with pierogies.
1. What is a Pierogi?
Pierogi is a famous Polish dumpling made using unleavened dough. In simple words, it is a dumpling, filled with both sweet and savoury food options. This makes it a versatile and flavourful dish. Many ingredients like cheese, potatoes, mushrooms, and fruits are commonly added to these yummy dumplings.
2. Classic Polish Dumplings:
When they are assembled, they are usually pan-fried, boiled, and sauteed to give the outer layer a smoky texture. Just like any other dumpling the outer crust is soft with a beautiful white colour and on the inside, filled with some tasty fillings. Enjoy the taste of this delicious cuisine by topping it with some sour cream, or fried onions.
There are many varieties of this dish and still many people love to try both sweet pierogi and savory ones. The cultural history of this dish brings so many different perspectives into the picture that tell a different story about the origins of this dish.
3. Origin of Pierogies:
The origin of pierogi is always under debate and there are multiple stories about it. The exact origin is still not confirmed but many theories suggest that it originated in the areas of Eastern and Central Europe. The story of pierogies being made for the first time is quite enthralling. One saint called Saint Hyacinth, went to a city and while he was there, crops of that region were destroyed by storms.
He suggested the people of that area start praying and the crops will grow back. The next day, crops rose back up. People of the region celebrated this by making pierogi from those crops and serving them to Hyacinth as a sign of gratitude.
Some theories also suggest that pierogi came from China during the long expeditions of Marco Polo through the Silk Road. None of these can be said to be completely true but still, they make a good highlight in history.
4. Dumplings Getting Famous:
Traditionally, pierogi is considered to be a peasant food due to its rich popularity among the locals. Eventually, due to its impeccable taste and authenticity, it became popular among the Polish nobles. Many cookbooks of that time have described pierogi to be a traditional Polish food. People used to make it on many occasions and holidays.
5. How to Make Pierogies?
If you are planning to make something special on holidays, then pierogi is the answer. Whenever you are looking for some savoury options to make this mouth-watering dumpling, use potato with some amazing parmesan cheese.
Making this amazing dumpling at home while chit-chatting with your friends and family can lead to a very fun party. You can shape your dumplings while gambling with your favourite people and enjoy the time of your life. Making these delicious dumplings is quite straightforward and time-efficient.
Using just a bunch of simple ingredients can lead to this heavenly cuisine that will never cease to amaze me. There are two components of this dish, dough and filling. Both are equally important. A mistake in either of those can steal some delicious flavours so be mindful while making this.
(i) For Dough:
The dough needs to be soft so ensure the quantity of all-purpose flour is proportionate. You need all-purpose flour, eggs, salt and water to make the best dough for pierogies.
While ingredients to fillings are completely your choice, you can try some classic ideas if you are just making them for the first time. You need boiled potatoes, parmesan cheese, along with some salt and black pepper. You can try other filling options like meat and mushrooms as they taste delicious too.
5.2 Steps to Make Amazing Pierogies:
First, take your all-purpose flour to make the soft dough for the dumplings. Add some salt in it along with a little yoghurt and sour cream. Add two eggs and water to knead the dough. Cover it with plastic wrap before adding the filling. Now make your desired filling. The common filling includes chopped potatoes, cheese, and mushrooms, and if you like some sweet dumplings, go for fruits.
Flatten the dough using a rolling pin to make some circles. Add your fillings, and properly close the dough. Boil pierogies until they rise on the top. You can also pan-fry them to get a more crusty look on the outside and enjoy these half-moon dumplings.
6. What to Eat with Pierogies?
Whether you use some spicy fillings, make a classic Polish pierogi or fill with some sweet fillings, make sure your side dishes live up to your pierogies. That’s where these suggestions would help you. There are plenty of food options to try pierogies with, but it’s up to you to choose the best one. Look for some main course items if you are planning a heavy dinner or you can just go with some simple snacks to have a proper party meal.
There are many things to top your pierogies with. You can add some Greek yoghurt on the top, pour some sour cream as a dipping sauce, or keep it simple by adding some melted butter to get an earthy flavour. What we want is a creamy texture to complement the filling of this beautiful dumpling.
6.1. Traditional Serves:
Since pierogies hold a traditional history, Polish people have their way of eating pierogies. They serve pierogies with everything like fried onions and pork. To add more savory flavour they also use bacon pieces.
These are just some traditional and cultural options to enjoy with pierogi, but there are always some other options. Every culinary enthusiast would love experimenting to create something unique and beautiful and this is your chance to do that by trying something entirely different with pierogies.
6.2. Caramelized Onions:
This is the most traditional way to serve your pierogies. Take some onions and cut thin slices. Try to cut as thin slices are possible to get the most caramel flavour. The onions here need slow cooking on medium heat with a little bit of oil. Nothing else is needed. With time the onions will achieve a beautiful dark brown colour and they will become sweet and yummy. Add them on top of your dumplings and enjoy the most delicious meal of all time.
6.3. Sour Cream:
If you feel that the pierogies lack some creamy texture then your answer to add a creamy layer is here. Drizzle some sour cream and fill that vacant creamy flavour in your palate with this dipping sauce. The sour cream has a very unique taste and goes very amazingly with the dumplings. Polish cafes usually serve pierogies with sour cream so this combination can never disappoint you.
6.4. Roasted Vegetables:
To make a hearty side dish that is healthy and fulfils all your nutrition requirements, go for the best way to do this by roasting your favourite vegetables. This side dish also takes around 10 minutes to make but will elevate your cheese pierogies to the next level.
Take any vegetables that you love, like carrots, onions, roasted tomatoes, and cucumber, and roast them in the pan for a while. Once you get the smoky texture, serve them alongside pierogies and enjoy. You can also serve pierogies with some simple green salad.
6.5. Brussels Sprouts:
Some nutty Brussels sprouts and fresh herbs are what your pierogies need to give that texture. This is exactly what is going to burst your palate with some interesting flavours to elevate these savoury dumplings. Brussels sprouts are a main dish that is healthy and rich in plenty of nutrients that are going to provide you with many health benefits.
Add some other veggies like carrots and roasted tomatoes to give some desired colour and flavour to your plate. Pour some maple syrup to provide a little hint of sweetness to your amazing cheese pierogies. Make them extra delicious by adding some balsamic vinegar. You can also caramelise them in the microwave to add another note of smokiness. Serve with pierogies and enjoy.
6.6. Pork Chops:
Some juicy honey-drizzled pork chops paired with the ultimate pierogies will give you the most timeless main dish that you can imagine. These are full of flavours and are very simple and time efficient to make that you won’t even believe it is done.
(i) Making This Delicious Side Dish
Just sear your pork chops in your favourite sauces. I enjoy making some honey and garlic sauce to sear them. The best part about this whole dish is the crispy and flavourful edges that give a heavenly taste to the dish and complement your savoury pierogies making it a wonderful main dish.
6.7. Oven Roasted Broccoli:
Another perfect accompaniment and ideal side dish with any food item, oven-roasted broccoli will combine with the flavours of your savoury pierogies in the most unusual yet delicious way. These broccolis take only 10 minutes to make and they taste wonderful. You would get both healthy and tasty with this delicious broccoli salad and serve with pierogies.
6.8. Cabbage Roll Casserole:
Here is another perfect pairing to try with these Polish dumplings. These are just like stuffed cabbage rolls but easier to make. These are saucy, appealing and satisfying that will leave you spellbound once you take a bite. Combined with some beef, chopped cabbage, and some white rice gives a wonderful main dish that you can serve with pierogies.
The unnecessary fuss of rolling and preparing cabbage rolls is now gone and these casseroles taste much more delicious. The saucy filling with the chopped cabbage will steal the hearts of many and will be a show-stopper.
6.9. Green Beans:
Some skillet green beans are also a good side serving option with pierogies. All you need is a pile of string beans, some garlic and olive oil along with some spices and you are ready with a beautiful side dish to enjoy.
Buy some fresh skillet green beans from the market and chop them. Cook them according to your requirements and serve them along with classic potato pierogies. You will fall in love with this flavoursome combination and will never stop eating them.
6.10. Greek Cucumber Salad:
Salads are undeniably one of the best side dishes to pair up with anything. This Greek cucumber salad with fresh herbs is light, full of flavours and has a combination of fresh ingredients. Add some cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, cheese, and olives in a bowl. Add a little olive oil, a hint of lemon juice, a small amount of maple syrup and fresh garlic to elevate the salad.
Olive oil will bind all the ingredients with equal flavours. This is the best salad to ever enjoy with some cocktails on a picnic along with yummy potato pierogies and make a delicious meal.
6.11. Cabbage and Bacon:
Go give a touch of green to your plate of pierogies, and cook some cabbage. Add meatiness to your side dish by adding some bacon there too. I understand that cabbage is not one of the most loved vegetables and does not taste very delicious, but adding bacon there will fulfil that requirement. You will get a smoky and salty flavour by cooking bacon and cabbage together.
Pierogies are dumplings, therefore they are soft, so crunchy, smokey, and textured food options will bring newness to your dish that’s why roasted cabbage with bacon will do the deal adding a touch of amazingness to this main dish.
Enjoying different cuisines from different parts of the world can leave you amazed as you will witness the cultural experiences of the people through their food. Pierogies are just another example of this. There is so much history associated with this amazing dish and even today there are hundreds of ways to make it. Still, the traditional way can never be beaten and it is quite important to preserve it.
There are multiple side dishes to enjoy with pierogies. Here I have shared some of my favourites that are also easy to make at home and trust me, homemade is the best. Try making pierogies at home too and you will never want to eat them outside.
Check out: What to Eat with Brussels Sprouts?