Pierogi are semi-circular shaped dumplings made of unleavened dough that are stuffed with a variety of fillings. Pierogi filling is typically mashed potatoes, cheese, or sauerkraut, but could be any combination of fruits or vegetables, and occasionally meat. Pierogi are similar to ravioli and can be prepared in a variety of ways to serve as an appetizer, main dish, or desert, depending on the filling.
The origin of pierogi is widely accepted as being Polish, but because they are similar to other dishes prepared in the Far East, such as the Chinese potstickers, some people believe that pierogi originated in central Asia. Pierogi can be prepared boiled, sautéed, baked, or deep-fried. The most popular version of pierogi is pan-fried in butter with a mashed potato, cheese and onion mixture filling.
In its most popular form, pierogi are served best as an appetizer or side dish with sour cream or salsa for dipping. When pierogi are boiled, they can be served with an Alfredo, marinara, or mushroom sauce. Recipes abound for making a variety of from-scratch versions of the dumpling, but many grocers who carry a wide variety of ethnic foods also sell pre-made, frozen pierogi for convenient preparation.
Pierogi make excellent appetizers or party food. When supplied with a choice of dip, such as sour cream with chives, salsa, and spinach dip, the pierogi will quickly disappear from their platter. They are also a very kid-friendly appetizer or snack and combine nicely with crisp vegetables or can be topped with cheese and crumbled bacon. If preparing from scratch, fill them with a combination of cream cheese and fruit for a sweet but healthy desert.
If you’ve not yet experienced the taste of pierogi, consider finding an easy recipe or purchasing the prepared convenience variety as a dish for your next potluck or as an appetizer at your next party. When pan or deep-fried, they are terrific finger foods – making them an ideal but unique party food. You could even serve pierogi as a healthier, more filling alternative to chips at your next tailgate party. No matter how you serve them, pierogi generally prove to be a pleasing treat for even the most discriminating tastebuds.