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Brief History (Click here to original reference)
What about Europe? Have little stuffed things, which apparently came from China centuries ago and spread throughout the world also influence European gastronomy? In fact yes! Today we will talk about a little stuffed thing from Poland! Poland has the 6th largest population in Europe. It is one of poorest countries in Europe however, about 90% of Pols have a high school diploma, the highest number in Europe along with Czechs, Slovaks, and Slovenes and they also have the most affordable rent. Something interesting about poland is that between the 18th and 19th century, Polish artists and intellectuals were inspired to move to the beautiful city of Paris: a good example would be the classical composer Frédéric Chopin.
So How did it get to Poland? (So interesting article!)
Poland, located in central Europe, has an interesting gastronomy which has similarities to the German, Austrian and Hungarian cuisines, and also the Jewish, Belarussian, Ukrainian, Russian, French and Italian culinary traditions. Their famous little stuffed thing is called pierogi. It has been made in poland since the 13th century and coincidentally, the mongol invasions in Poland occurred between 1240-1288! This might be just an assumption I’m making but what people say is that pierogi’s origin’s is undetermined. They were traditionally known as peasant food but nowadays, they are popular in all social classes. They are consumed at all festivities with different stuffings and are considered a national dish. There are many variants in the stuffing with different meats, fruits and cheese. The most popular one in Poland is stuffed with ground meat, mushrooms and cabbage however, one of the most popular ones introduced to North America are with fresh white cheese and mashed potatoes called pierogi ruskie. I’m pierogi ruskie with a small change to cream cheese, which is a popular one nowadays.
Preparation and Cook Time
- Prep time: 1 hour & 30 mins
- Serves: 4-6
- Cook time: 30 min
- Ready in: 2 hours
Ingredients for Filling
- 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (2 large russets)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
- 3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese (1/3 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
For the bread dough:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cup water
- Place peeled, quartered potatoes in a pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.
- Meantime, brown onions & garlic in oil on med-low for 10 min.
- Drain and mash the potatoes, adding onion & garlic, cream cheese, salt & pepper. Set aside to cool. Shape into 1-tablespoon size mounds if desired.
- Combine flour & salt in a bowl. Make a well and add sour cream, egg & water, combining with a spoon.
- Place on a well-floured board and knead for 50 turns (using a scraper if needed) until smooth. Cover with a towel or inverted bowl & let rest at least 10 minutes.
- Divide dough into thirds. Keeping extra dough covered, roll each section 1/8” thick, adding flour as needed. Cut 3-inch circles, saving leftover scraps of dough.
- Fill each circle with about one tablespoon of potatoes, fold into a half circle, and pinch edges tightly. Place apart on a towel sprinkled with flour.
- Place pierogis in boiling salted water, stirring at first to keep them separated, and cook about 3 minutes until they rise to the top, then another 30 seconds to a minute. Remove to an oiled baking sheet.
Note: To freeze, boil pierogi first and place in a lightly oiled freezer bag, spreading them out so they don’t touch. To serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, lightly brown pierogi in a pan on the stove in a little oil or butter.