National Pierogi Day (Oct 8th) & National Pasta Month (Oct)

You say potato, I say potahto … but today, who cares? Pull out the pot, mix up some dough, and make some pierogies to celebrate National Pierogi Day and National Pasta Month.

Typically filled with a potato stuffing, these tasty potato/pasta creations can be filled with any combination of savory delights. Meat, cheese, potato, diced onions, cabbage … pretty much whatever your little heart desires. (I think there are as many spellings of pierogy/pierogy/pieriogi as there are fillings!)

Eastern Europeans introduced pierogies to the US in the early 1900’s. This cultural staple gained popularity. Ted Twardzik grew up watching his mother and other women in the community make pierogies. They were always a family favorite and quickly became a favorite at church suppers and fundraisers also.

After college, Ted returned home to Shenandoah,PA and began making pierogies in his mother’s kitchen. It’s reported that after several weeks, Mom asked him to move the mess elsewhere. Switching locations, to his father’s former tavern, he “began churning out those potato-filled pasta shells by the dozens.”

On October 8, 1952, Ted, founder of Mrs. T’s Pierogies, made his first commercial sale to Capital Market, hence the celebration date on October 8th.

Mrs. T’s Pierogies has grown since 1952. They now produce and sell over half a billion pierogies a year. That’s enough to cover more than 888 football fields, or to circle the globe at the equator 1.2 times. Mrs. T’s Pierogies offers 14 different varieties, to please any taste buds in your family.

Pierogies are fun and easy to make from scratch.

Here’s a recipe from “Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression of the 1930’s, Volume III”, by Rita Van Amber.

Periogi

Stir together 3 cups flour and 1 ½ tsp. salt in a large bowl. Beat 1 egg lightly, add 4 tsp oil and ¾ cup water. Add to flour mixture. Dough should be soft and not sticky. Add a tsp of water if necessary. Use a little more flour for kneading and knead until smooth. Cover for 30 minutes.

Filling:
Peel and cut 2 or 3 potatoes in cubes. Cover with water, add ½ tsp salt and cook until tender. Drain.

Melt 1 TB butter and add 1 chopped onion, 1 TB chopped parsley, pepper and 1 ¼ cup shredded American or Cheddar cheese. Add 5 TB sour cream or yogurt to make a soft dough.

Divide pasta dough into 4 parts. Keep remaining dough covered while you roll out one fourth at a time as thin as possible. Cut in rounds with a glass, place heaping teaspoon of filling in center, fold over and pinch shut securely.

Cook in gently boiling water with ½ tsp salt added. Cook a dozen at a time in a wide pan. When they come up, cook a bit longer, about 5 or 6 minutes until done. Drain well. Keep warm in a warmed dish in the oven as you cook the batches. Serve with hot butter sauce.

Butter sauce: Sauté onions in melted butter and pour over the dish.

Makes 4 dozen pieriogies. Left over can be fried for another meal.

Now that you’ve got the whole recipe, I’ll add a little secret my Polish friend, Mary Sims, shared with me many years ago. She passed away many years ago, but I still think of her when I make pierogies or some of the other recipes she shared with me. She gave me her filling recipe (similar to the filling recipe above) and shared her time-saving tip. Since she worked full time and stayed busy as a wife, mother and grandmother, she shared how a busy, yet clever, cook can make her life easier by buying a package of wonton wrappers and using those as the pasta wrappers. I love to cook, yet I’m also an avid fan of making my life easier. They work wonderfully!

Thanks to Louise at www.monthsofediblecelebrations.blogspot.com for encouraging posts with recipes to celebrate foods this month. Go check out her blog and you’ll discover a world filled with food celebrations, cookbooks and recipes!

Celebrate life and have a pierogi party tonight!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cat von Hassel-Davies
    Oct 08, 2011 @ 14:43:16

    Mmm these sounds delicious. When I was in college for a term paper I covered an orthodox church. At the same time they had their annual fundraiser which was dinner with all their traditional foods. Periogies, stuffed cabbage and many other mouth watering dishes. It was heaven.

    Hugs!!

    Reply

  2. lavesta
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 12:23:10

    Happy Pierogi Day Trisha!!! We sure did have fun last year celebrating October!!!

    Reply

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