If you’re a savoury and or a sweet person, you’re gonna enjoy the best worlds with the food that’s on the menu all the way from Warsaw.
For the 2nd installment of Johnny’s World Food Diary were having good old Pierogi, a Polish dumpling that’s very sweet in taste. My 1st is here if you fancy a catchup by the way
With all the food I tried and tested in the city, the fact that I didn’t think of doing a food diary till I got back was criminal. Fellow travellers, before and after I went away to Warsaw, kept raving about Pierogi. By far I wasn’t disappointed with my experience eating Pierogi. It was incredibly filling and its small, delicate look had me deceived for its taste. You can read more about my thoughts on it on my blog post on the first 24 hours I spent in the city.
Where and when was it originated?
Pierogi came into existence in Poland, as eluded to in the paragraph earlier, during the 13th century. Fast forward 400 years it started appearing in recipe books as it gained traction and popularity around the country and neighbouring nations. Neighbouring nations like Slovakia, Ukraine and Lithuania that were once part of Poland but became their independent countries.
However there’s been dispute that the very first form of Pierogi is from China. This may have some truth since a typical Pierogi dish takes a dumpling form.
There’s many variants and takes on the dish. They come in different shapes and sizes buta dumpling-like form is the most common one used. The core ingredients used to form a Pierogi’s outer layer and texture are dough, flour, eggs, cheese and milk . A “standard” Pierogi per say would consists of vegetables, cheese and meat fillings. However various chefs and countries have gone on to produce their own spin on it.
Pierogi is also easy and straightforward to make in a way becaue there are multiple ways to make it. It can either be made by boiling, baking or frying so no excuses for locals not wanting to cook 😛 Preparation-wise as a Nigerian I see similarities between Pierogis and Nigerian Meat Pie.
The most popular variant of Pierogi in Poland is cabbage, mushroom and sauerkraut Pierogi. One for vegans and vegetarians to hopefully get excited about!
Polish natives who migrated to a part of Poland that’s now Ukraine created own take on Pierogi called “Pierogi Ruskie”. It predominantly contains sweet potato and cheese fillings. Meat fillings are also included in Pierogis, fillings including pork, beef, lamb, chicken etc. Bodybuilders – this one is for you and I know there’s a lot of bodybuilders around in Poland.
Best Sides To Compliment?
Pierogi is a very versatile dish to have. You can have it as a starter, main course or dessert. There are many types of food that compliment Pierogi well. To cut to the chase, here’s a list of a few great sides you can have:
- Sour cream (dip Pierogi)
- Smoked Skillets
- Grated Cheddar Cheese
- Baked Beans
- Broiled Tomatoes
- Brussels Sprouts
- Brown Butter Apples
- Chicken Sausages
This is just to name a few. Many different food groups can back up Pierogi. From carbohydrates, steamed vegetables, sauces to fish and omega-3 based protein. Most of the options being healthy, well-prepared ones too. You can say that’s a W for the “health is wealth” squad. People have gotten so creative with Pierogi to the extent of there being 100+ ways to eat it.
Best Time In The Year To Eat It?
Generally Pierogi is a meal that can be had all year round. Some Pierogi variants are more suited having in one season than another. For example a Pierogi with meat fillings or hot sides such as baked beans would serve in good stead for the winter.
Having said that, it may be more preferred in the colder seasons as Pierogi is traditionally best served hot. Therefore it would be great for keeping soemone warm and cosy. Although that may be a debate for another conversation.
Having Pierogis only on special occasions used to be the norm in bygone eras but less so now. Namely weddings and in the festive periods such as Christmas and Easter.
Where’s The Best Places To Have It In?
The fanciest, more luxury and delicate kind of Pierogis was held in special Pierogi restaurants known as “Pierogarnias”
You’d often find Pierogis at local milk bars (Bar Mleczny in Polish), off-licenses and restaurants in Polish cities and towns.
From word of mouth homemade Pierogi is considered to be highly-rated among the Poles. It is quite easy and straightforward to make and can either be boiled, fried or baked.
Which Other Cities and Countries can it be found in?
Pierogi is a nationwide dish so it can be found in many cities and towns all around Poland. Krakow, Lublin and Gdansk included. Its presence has also expanded to North America and in countries around Western Europe.
As mentioned before, many countries have gone on to adopt Pierogi as Polish people have migrated. Various states in the US and Canada began taking up Pierogi in the beginning of the 1900s. Other countries around Europe such as the UK, Netherlands and Germany, adding to the growing multiculturalism of those named countries.
Pierogi has a day dedicated to itself. Every year National Pierogi day is celebrated by Polish food enthusiasts on October 8th. Polish communiities in the US created many events in tribute to the food, including Pierogi Fest in Indiana and Great Pierogi Race in Pennsylvania. The biggest Pierogi to have ever been made was all the way in the US in Indiana during an annual Pierogi Festival called Pierogi Fest. weighing approximately 92 Ibs (42 kg).
Pierogi has become much loved all over the world since its inception some 600+ years ago. This is hugely thanks to Polish migrants carrying their traditions and values to wherever they were in the world. Many chefs, cooks and restaurants have been inspired by its rich history and pure goodness. Because of this anyone from a lover of meat and dessert to a hardcore will likely find a Pierogi they’ll be able to enjoy and be fulfilled by.
I’m definitely going to be sniffing for some Pierogi here in London. Surely a mulltcultural city like London have plenty of Polish restaurants or cafes that does a certan kind of Pierogi.
Have you been Poland and tried Pierogi before? Are you a sweet kind of person or savoury. Make sure you leave your views in the comments below. Also get following because you don’t know what you may be missing out on from me!
I’ll be back with a piece or two very very soon. Dziękuję za przeczytanie 😉
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures