Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Pierogi & Pittsburgh

Did you know it was plural? 

Ok, ok ­— Before I get a bunch of messages about how this not an authentic Pierogi recipe because I used a store-bought dough ... I agree. As a German and Lebanese girl, I scoff at plenty of recipes. But, I know when someone’s heart is in the right place.  I wanted to learn a little bit more about Pittsburgh, since it is going to be Robert’s home for a while. So, I had a little kitchen adventure.  And, I encourage everyone to step outside their culinary comfort zone … sometimes it just takes baby steps!

But let me tell you, whatever this recipe lacks in authenticity it makes up for in taste and efficiency.  This was so easy, it will certainly be a hostess staple from this point forward. 

Smitten Kitchen's Pierogi recipe. Photo by Robert Giglio. 

What is a Pierogi? An Eastern European/Polish dumpling. Fillings can include, potato, meat and or sauerkraut.  There are also sweet variations containing fruit. 

Thanks SK for sharing this tasty recipe!

I cut SK's in half and made about 14 Pierogies

1regular potato
1 onion finely chopped
salt and pepper
potsticker wrappers or quiche/dumpling dough
3 green onions 
sour cream for dipping  

Boil your potato for about 35 minutes/until mashable.  
Chop and saute onions and green onions in butter. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Drain potato in colander.  Remove skin and mash in bowl with onions. Make sure ingredients combine. Salt and Pepper the potato mixture to taste. 
Use a cookie cutter or upside down glass to cut your dough into circles. 
Spoon potato filling onto a half circle of the dough. Fold dough in half - should look like a dumpling/half circle.  Knead the sides closed - sealing the edges. 
Saute dumpling in butter. When one side is golden, flip and saute the other side. 
Fill the pan with water, about 1/4 inch deep.  Cover for about two minutes. 
Serve with sour cream. 

I don’t think the New Orleans in me was cut out for this …

Today it is 18 degrees, with wind. I literally walked a mile in the snow.  I know, I sound like a baby. But, I’m not complaining.  Merely remarking, because these were all firsts for me being from Louisiana. 

Being cold the other day.

So, why am I here in Pittsburgh? I am visiting Robert who started mechanical engineering grad school here at Carnegie Mellon in January.  Isn’t he a smart?  I have been missing him, so I am here in PGH for ten days.  And here is what I have learned about Pittsburgh and CMU:

They are both devastatingly hip.  And, I love it.
Especially, Lawrenceville.

Sauerkraut.  It is sold in the bag here with other salad mixes.  
This is my kind of town.

Robert and I took a walk by the Butler Street shops and we stepped in Wild Card.
I loved Wild Card
It reminded me a lot of Storyville and Noelie Harmon in Louisiana.  Wild Card specializes in local paper products/stationery and t-shirts that showed the town's quirky side.  
My favorite’s played on Pittsburgh being Mr. Rogers hometown, sauerkraut, Polish heritage and the local love for the Pierogi. 
I’m sure there was a lot that I missed though as I am not yet in on the inside jokes. 

Mr. Rogers tee at Wild Card. Super cute shop.  

But let’s talk a little more about the Pierogi thing ... 

Pierogies are everywhere. About one third of the frozen food section is dedicated to them.  I have seen t-shirts. They really just kind of pop-up a lot? So, I googled it and Pittsburgh’s Eastern European heritage, specifically Polish, is the reason for the Pierogi passion. 

Multiple frozen Pierogies to choose from at the grocery store — excuse the instagram pic. 

I read online that Pittsburghers love Church fairs because nuns make the best Pierogies and the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Great Pierogi Race between mascots.

I know my little homemade Pierogies don’t hold a candle to Polish grandmas'.  But, I would love to earn some Pittsburgh cred and learn more about them. 

If you are a Pittsburgher reading this, send me a good recipe, a good place to get one and a little bit about what you know about the Pierogi love. Because it is something I can hop on board with! 


  1. These actually look delicious - we love trying new food and flavours so will definitely be trying it out!

    1. That's the spirit - picky eaters miss out on all the fun! I can't wait to try them again with a different filling!


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