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Pittsburgh Pierogies

There are 2 foods I remember, from when I was a little girl, living in downtown Pittsburgh.  A good search on “facts about Pittsburgh” brought up a list and those 2 foods made it at #8.  I copied and pasted it below.

8. Primantis & Pierogies

Primanti Brother's Famous Sandwich
You haven’t truly experienced Pittsburgh if you haven’t been toPrimantis. The local Pittsburgh chain is renowned for its unique sandwiches, stacked high with meat, a pile of coleslaw, and an unhealthy helping of French fries – all between the bread. Many locals claim that Primanti’s developed these sandwiches for mill workers who didn’t have the time for plates or silverware…If a Primanti’s sandwich doesn’t already have your arteries shrieking in pain, the pierogies will. Here in Pittsburgh we eat more than 11 times the pierogies of any other city in the nation, according to a recent survey. The stuffed pasta creations are served up at church picnics and fairs all over the city. 

Okay…moving onto more important things.  How does one, in fact, make their own pierogies?  I think, Mom and Dad correct me, we bought homemade pierogies from a local Catholic church almost every weekend.  A bunch of ladies gathered there, whipped them up and then sold them.  Since moving from Pittsburgh our family was forced to buy the frozen ones from the grocery store.  That didn’t slow us down in quantity.  We ate them all the time!  Literally for years I have wanted to try and make my own.  The thing is, my team is just too big to try them out for my weekly team cooking day.  Making pierogies for over 30 people in a span of 4 hours.  Nope.  Well, if I just made pierogies, maybe.  But you just can’t serve pierogies and I have to clean the team house as well when I cook.  Sorry, rambling.  What I’m trying to say is this.  Our team is only 14 this week, and that includes kids.  For me, this meant that I had a golden opportunity to make pierogies.  Which, I did.  And, they were awesome.  And, they took way too long to make.  And, they were kind of tricky.  And, they didn’t always behave the way I wanted them to.  And, the filling was a strange consistency.  And, they tasted EXACTLY like I remember them tasting way back when.  And the Swedish people even ate them and have fairly reasonable responses.  Good.  All goals accomplished.

I started off with this recipe….

I 5X the recipe.  Made up the dough the night before and wrapped it in plastic wrap until I arrived back at the team house this morning to begin cooking.

See the “Kels TUES” written on it.  Yeah, you got to label everything.  E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  If it’s in one of the team fridges, and has no name on it, it’s free for anyone to take.  We enjoy playing games on this issue with new people sometimes 🙂  It gets brutal, sometimes.  I’m telling you!

The dough rolled out quite easily.  It was beautiful  Perfect, actually.  I rolled it very thin and then began experimenting with various sized round cut outs.  I miss my Mom’s biscuit cutter.  It would have worked out perfectly in this situation!  Note to self, next time flour the counter a whole heck of a lot more.  Otherwise you can’t get the pierogies up and into the boiling water.








I settled on the duck mug as the best of what I had to work with.  I had initially used a small, glass bowl (left hand photo) but it was too large.  Also, the glass bowl had a rounded edge.  Because this dough is so delicate I definitely needed a defined, sharp edge to cut through it without pulling and tearing it.

Time to fill them!  I made up some mashed potatoes, added cheese and seasonings.  Left out onions because we have someone on our team who can’t eat them.  Plus, I planned on frying them in onions at the end so figured we could do without them in the stuffing this time round.

Found that filling them required a lot LESS filling than what I had anticipated.  My first ones overflowed and I couldn’t get them to seal because the mashed potatoes were screaming for freedom.  Not fun.

I got the hang of it, though, and after sealing them with the prongs of a fork, thought they looked pretty dang cute!








Time to boil.  The instructions said they would boil for 8-10  minutes, but when ready would float to the top.  After like 20 seconds mine floated to the top.  Didn’t know what to do.  What?  That was not 8-10 minutes by any means!  I decided to experiment.   First batch decided to let them boil for 3 minutes, despite being at the top.  BIG mistake.  They were awful and most of the filling leaked out during it’s lengthy boil.  I learned my lesson.  With the remaining batches, as soon as they boiled to the top I immediately removed them and put them on a towel to dry.  I’m definitely confused on why the recipe thinks these things will stay for EIGHT minutes in the boiling water?  Perhaps my dough was thinner, although it seemed exactly right to me, and cooked that quickly?

Heated up some butter, oil and onion, threw the boiled – slightly dried – pierogies in and….walaa, fried until crispy and browned on each side.  Delicious.  Absolutely delicious.  Like I said before, they tasted exactly as I remembered.


3 responses »

  1. Well your memory is almost accurate, we bought them several times a year when the local church was having their fundraiser. Dear friends in Pittsburgh got us to try them and we were hooked from that moment on….:)

  2. I miss Pittsburgh Pirogies so much. Can’t buy them here in Western Australia.


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