Today, we’re going back to local delicacies that you must try during your cruise with us and the highlight today is Pierogies.

What are Pierogies?

Pierogies (also spelled pierogi) are a type of dumpling that originated in Eastern Europe, particularly in countries such as Poland, Ukraine, and Russia. They are a popular dish in these regions and have also gained popularity in various other parts of the world.

Pierogies are typically made by wrapping unleavened dough around a filling and then cooking them by boiling, baking, or frying. The dough is traditionally made with flour, water, and sometimes eggs, while the fillings can vary widely.

Common fillings for pierogies include mashed potatoes, cheese, sauerkraut, mushrooms, cabbage, ground meat, and fruits like berries. Some variations also include sweet fillings such as cottage cheese or fruit preserves.

Once the pierogies are cooked, they are often served with toppings such as sour cream, butter, fried onions, or bacon bits. They can be enjoyed as a main dish, a side dish, or even as a dessert depending on the filling and preparation.

Pierogies have a soft and doughy texture, and their fillings provide a flavourful contrast. They are known for being comforting, versatile, and satisfying, making them a beloved part of Eastern European cuisine and an increasingly popular food worldwide.

Pierogies in America

Pierogies have gained popularity in America over the years. The United States has a diverse culinary landscape, influenced by various immigrant communities, including those from Eastern Europe. As a result, many traditional dishes from these regions, including pierogis, have found a place in American cuisine.

Pierogies are commonly available in areas with a significant Eastern European population or in cities with a vibrant food scene. They can be found in restaurants specialising in Eastern European cuisine, Polish or Ukrainian delis, food festivals, and even in some mainstream grocery stores. Additionally, pierogis have also been featured on menus in more eclectic or fusion-style restaurants, showcasing their versatility and appeal to a wider audience.

The popularity of pierogies in America has led to variations and adaptations that incorporate local flavours and ingredients. You might come across unique fillings like cheddar cheese and jalapeño, buffalo chicken, or even dessert pierogis filled with sweet ingredients like Nutella or fruit.

They have a dedicated fan base and continue to gain recognition as a delicious and comforting food choice.

A Message from Chef Regina Charboneau, Culinary Ambassador

Commonly known as the steel city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is home to 446 bridges, 300 steel-related businesses, 30 skyscrapers, two inclined railways, and of course, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The city is also rich in history, playing a vital role in the 1758 Indian War, 1776 Revolutionary War, 1791 Whiskey Rebellion, and 1860’s Civil Wars.

Whether you are heading to the Northeast to immerse yourself in American history, cheer on the football team, or join American Queen Voyages™ on one of the Ohio and Mississippi river cruises, there is one thing you must do while in town, check out the local food scene! Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a colourful food scene, but; did you know that the Heinz Company has been based there since 1869? The city is also home to Primanti Brothers sandwiches, Pittsburgh salads, potato patch fries, and pierogies.

We know a spontaneous trip to Pittsburgh is not always in the cards, so what if we told you we could bring the city to you? With my mini pierogi recipe, you can take your taste buds on a trip through the steel city without leaving your kitchen.

All the best, Regina

Pittsburgh Mini Pierogies

  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) salted butter, cold and cut into ½ inch pieces

Filling

  • 1 cup of mashed potatoes
  • ¼ cup diced, sautéed onion, cook until soft and begin to brown
  • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional ½ cup cooked, diced bacon

Method

Whisk together the egg and sour cream until blended and smooth.

Put flour and salt in food processor, pulse to blend. Add butter and pulse until butter is size of peas.

Add sour cream-egg mixture and pulse until dough comes together. Do not mix. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.

On floured work surface (I use a tea towel) roll dough out to ¼ inch thick and cut into 3.5-inch rounds. Keep covered with plastic wrap so they won’t dry out while filling them.

Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon) on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Press the edges together with fingers. Gently shape the filling inside the dough to elongate it slightly, you don’t want the filling just in the middle of the pierogi but in the whole length of it.

Boil the pierogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (about 8 to 10 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry.

Heat your skillet and add butter or olive oil then add pierogies and pan fry until lightly crispy and browned. About 2 minutes per side. Do not over crowd the pan so you can easily turn them over.

Enjoy your Pierogis!

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