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Pierogi Wigilijne – Polish Christmas Pierogi

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polish pierogi

Poland’s Christmas Eve/Wigilia tradition wouldn’t be complete without the world-famous pierogi! The half-circular Polish dumplings make an appearance on Wigilia tables in every Polish household and for many, they are the favorite of the 12 courses served during the traditional dinner. For Wigilia Poles prepare their pierogi vegetarian, filling them with a mix of fried cabbage and onion or sauerkraut and dried mushrooms. As with all Wigilia dishes the elements of the pierogi stuffing have to carry a specific meaning. The cabbage and mushrooms in the Christmas pierogi symbolize strength & vitality and thus add to the important symbolism of the dinner. Old-Polish recipes originally called for filling pierogi with cooked grains like barley, buckwheat groats or kasha and in certain households this variety is also consumed during the holiday. Other regional traditions such as those of the eastern area of Poland involve making a sweet version of the Christmas dumpling  - stuffed with smoked and dried plums or poppyseed. No matter the varieties, a dishful of pierogi must make its way to the table at any true Polish Wigilia celebration.  

Didn’t have time to order yours ready-made this year? I’ve got you covered! Take a look below for a great recipe for my favorite type of Wigilia pierogi - stuffed with a flavorful fried cabbage filling! As with all pierogi, they can be a bit time consuming but there’s still time to make them before the holiday, and this is a pretty easy recipe! The dough recipe is also one of the best I’ve tried in recent years! It’s mess-free (if you can believe it!), and it has the perfect texture - soft, elastic and easy to roll out! 

If you grew up Polish like I did, you’ll know that pierogi are one of the best parts of Christmas, and this particular recipe carries all the sentiments of Polish family traditions for me. Hope you give these a try! Hope you enjoy!

Wesołych Świąt! 

~ Aleksandra August

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INGREDIENTS

Makes about 30 pierogi.

--For the dough--  

  • 1 cup of All Purpose FLOUR
  • 40 grams of BUTTER
  • 1/2 teaspoon of SALT 
  • 150 ml of HOT WATER (just under boiling water)

-- For the Fried Cabbage Filling -- 

  • 1/2 small cabbage finely chopped (best via a food processor)
  • 1 medium onion 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 
  • Optional: onion or garlic salt, or nutmeg

RECIPE DIRECTIONS

1. Sauté the onion over oil in a medium sized frying pan. When the onion starts to gain some golden color, add in the cabbage. Stirring well, continue to fry until the cabbage is golden brown. Salt and pepper for taste. I like to add a bit more pepper for this filling for a slightly bolder taste. Adding a bit of onion or garlic salt will also enhance the flavor of this traditional pierogi filling. If you enjoy the taste, a dash of ground nutmeg also adds a unique (and holiday) taste! Allow the fried cabbage filling to cool before filling the pierogi. 

sauerkraut filling

2. Prepare the dough in a mixer: toss in the flour and mix to aerate it (about 30 seconds to a minute should do). Next, add in the salt and butter and mix on high speed for about 1-2 minutes. Finally, pour in the hot water (make sure it's just under boiling temperature) and mix on high speed for another 1-2 minutes. 

A couple notes:

  • The hot water is the magic ingredient! It makes the dough elastic, non-sticky and easy to work with. You will not need any additional flour when rolling out the dough on your board later on! It's a mess-free process for making pierogi!  
  • While mixing the dough, add in a bit of additional flour, water and/or butter as needed until the dough fully comes off the sides of the bowl and your hands when you pick it up.
  • 3. Roll the dough into a ball with your hands (again, it should be non-sticky and should easily come off your hands) and then place on a cutting board and cover with a kitchen cloth to cool down. Dough must be fully cool before making the pierogi.
    4. Set a large pot of water to boil (lightly salt it) 
    5. Once dough has cooled, cut off a smaller section (about 2 inches wide) and roll it out. 
    6. Use a kitchen cutter or the open end of a glass cup (about 3.5 in. in diameter) to cut round circles in the dough.

    pierogi dough

    7. Take each dough round and stretch out delicately in your hands. Then, place a teaspoonful of the fried cabbage in the middle. Finally fold the round in half and pinch around the edges to form a dumpling! Continue this process until you've used up all your dough. 

    pierogi pieces

    8. Boil the pierogi by placing them in the pot of boiling water about 10 at a time. Let them boil for about 5 minutes. The dumplings will rise to the top of the water once they're fully ready. You can remove them from the pot at that point. 
    9. Strain the pierogi from the pot and place them in a serving dish if you’re ready to eat them. Drizzle over them with some oil and sautéed onion. If you’re not ready to enjoy the pierogi right away, simply put them in your freezer. When you’re ready to serve them, just toss them in some boiling water to reheat them. Reheating will be very quick - just 3-4 minutes. Again, when the pierogi rise to the top, they’re ready! 

    ready to serve pierogi

    Smacznego!

    For more from Aleksandra August & the PBS Flavor of Poland series visit www.flavorofpoland.com. 

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