Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pierogi Party

Pierogies have been a part of my family's Christmas Eve tradition for generations. I have fond memories of my mom making them on Christmas Eve for as far back as I can remember. She would spend hours rolling the dough and forming perfect little triangles.
mom, 1967

I also remember my dad telling the story over and over again of when his mom would make them every Friday night when he was playing High School Football. One week Grandma didn't make pierogies and they lost the game. So for us, pierogies are not just a food, but a great reminder of stories from long ago.

For the last ten years or so I have gotten lazy and most years I either ordered the pierogies from an online source or bought them at our local Polish deli. But they were never as good as I remembered so this year I promised my daughter-in-law to teach her how to make them and invited a few others.

This past weekend I gathered friends and family and together we made 24 dozen pierogies. I made the dough {with this new to me recipe which is fantastic}, cooked the prunes, and made the cabbage and mushroom filling a day ahead.

The potato/cheese filling was made the morning of the party and allowed to cool.

The counter before it gets covered in flour.

 The Players

my sister, Geri

Jessa, my nephew's wife

BFF's daughters Lindsay and Shelby
my daughter-in-law, Jenny
me and my mom

I made 13 recipes of the dough and it was enough for 24 dozen pierogi. 
The potato/cheese were folded into triangles. the prune were formed into circles and the mushroom/cabbage formed into rectangles. This way we will know what the filling is inside by the shape. {I know, brilliant idea, right?}
We had a good time and a lot of laughs and turned a tedious process into a fun afternoon. 

Potato Cheese Filling

2.5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until very tender. Drain well. Add cheese and mash the potatoes. Do not add any milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper and cool to room temperature before filling pierogi. Best if used the same day. 
Makes enough to fill approx. 5 dozen pierogies.
{I used 7 pounds of potatoes and 1.25 pounds of cheese which made enough to fill 14 dozen}

Cabbage and Mushroom Filling

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, shaved in very thin slices
1 head cabbage, sliced in very thin shreds
1.5 pounds sliced and finely chopped mushrooms (I used Baby Bella and white button)
1 ounce dried mushrooms (I used Chanterelle, but Polish wild mushrooms would be even better) soaked for 30 minutes in 1 cup boiling water. Drain, reserve mushroom liquid for another use. Chop into very small pieces.

Heat a large saute pan to medium high and add oil. Add onions and saute until soft. Add cabbage in two batches, saute until wilted before adding second batch. When cabbage is soft add  mushrooms and continue to cook until everything is soft and flavors have melded and all liquid has cooked out of the mixture. Do not allow mixture to brown.  Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool completely before using. Can be made one day ahead. Keep refrigerated.
Makes enough to fill approx. 5 dozen pierogies

Prune Filling

4 dozen pitted prunes

Put prunes in a pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover. Allow prunes to cool in water. Drain well before using. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Pierogies are cooked in a large pot of boiling water, not too crowded, until they float to the top, then cooked an additional minute.
Drain well and then :
I serve the prune filled with sauteed bread crumbs and brown butter, with a sprinkle of sugar.
The others are topped with onions slowly sauteed in brown butter.

not the most photogenic food, but your tummy will thank me.


Tiara said...


Sara said...

I remember pierogi's at the church festivals growing up. I don't know that my Grandma made them,but my Grandpa was Polish so maybe she did. I just love hearing about food that is a part of me!! Your family looks like they had a great time!

**nicke... said...

what a fun afternoon! xo

Jo C. said...

Brings back so many memories. My Godmother was Polish..i remember pierogies and midnight mass at Christmas. The mass was in Polish. Thanks for sharing!

Susan Snooks said...

These are new to me! Thanks for all the recipes, although they sound more like winter food to me!

Mrs Flying Blind... said...

I will save this for when my kids are doing some school project!!

Canadian Abroad said...

Yes, different shapes is inspired. Looks like such a good day!

Geri said...

Diane did the lions share of the work and we got to do the fun part. It was really a great day and I'm looking forward to an annual tradition. Will be fun to see our daughters-in-law pass this along to future generations!

Rachel said...

Looks like fun!!

Annabella said...

Ah Geri! I wanna come - it looks like fun! The photo of you deep in concentration made me smile - is there such a thing as pierogi math?

Leanne said...

Thank you for all of this. I should make some, my grandma made the best ones ever.

Katy Cameron said...

What, no bacon in your cheese and potato ones? Controversial... ;o) They all look yummy anyway :o)

Rebeckah Austin said...

I LOVE Pierogi! Thanks for sharing