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A plateful of pierogi topped with fried onions
Origin information
Alternate name(s): Perogi
Perogy (North America)
Pirogen (Ashkenazi Jewish)
Pirohi (Slovak, Rusyn)
Pirohy (Slovak)
Pyrohy (Canadian Ukrainian)
Region or state: Eastern Europe
Dish information
Course served: Appetizer, main, dessert
Serving temperature: Hot
Main ingredient(s): Unleavened dough with savory or sweet filling
Variations: Multiple

Pierogi (also perogi, perogy, pirohi, piroghi, pirogi, pirogen, pierogy, pirohy, pyrohy), from the Proto-Slavic "pir" (festivity), is the name most commonly used in English speaking areas to refer to a variety of Slavic semicircular (or, in some cuisines, square) boiled dumplings of unleavened dough stuffed with varying ingredients. In English, the word pierogi and its variants are pronounced with a stress on the letter "o".


[edit] Singular and plural

Pierogi are small enough to be served several or many at a time, so the singular form of the word is not used when referring to this dish: people usually talk about several of them, in plural. This has affected forms of the word in different languages. In Polish, pierogi is plural, pieróg being singular. Other Slavic languages follow the same scheme. In Russian and Ukrainian, the singular form of words derived from "pir"—the Russian pirog (пирог, pl. пироги, stress on the last syllable) or the Ukrainian pyrih (пиріг, pl. пироги, stress on the last syllable)—refers to a different type of food, such as pies or pirozhki. In Polish the singular form pieróg also refers to a pie. North Americans often incorrectly pluralize pierogi as "perogeys" with the addition of an 's' as in English.

[edit] Origin and name variants

The origins of pierogi are difficult to trace. While dumplings as such are found throughout Eurasia, the specific name pierogi, with its various cognates in the West and East Slavic languages, shows the dish's common Slavic origins, predating the modern nation states and their standardized languages. The East Slavic Belarusians, Russians and Ukranians, the West Slavic Poles and Slovaks, and the Baltic Latvians and Lithuanians all consume this dish, although sometimes under a different name (e.g., pelmeni in Russia and Ukraine, kalduny in Belarus and Lithuania). In some East European languages, variants of this dish are known by names derived from the root of the word "to boil" (Russian: варить, varit', Ukrainian: варити, varyty). These include the Belarusian vareniki (варэнiкi), Latvian vareņiki, Russian vareniki (варе́ники), Ukrainian varenyky (варе́ники) (literally "boiled things", from the adjective form varenyy).

There is a definite similarity to Italian ravioli and tortellini or Jewish kreplach. In Turkey, Transcaucasus, and Central Asia round pockets of dough with a meat filling are called manti, khinkali, or chuchvara. In East Asia, similar foods are served, such as Chinese wonton and jiaozi, Japanese gyoza, Mongolian buuz, Nepalese/Tibetan momo, Afghani mantu, and Korean mandu.

[edit] Recipe variation

Pierogi frying

[edit] Ingredients

Pierogi or vareniki are half circular dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed (singularly or in various combinations) with mashed potatoes, cheese, farmer's cheese, bryndza, cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, mushrooms, or other ingredients depending on the cook's personal preferences.[1] Dessert versions of the dumpling can be stuffed with a fresh fruit filling, such as cherry, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, peach, or apple; stoned prunes are sometimes used.

Mashed potatoes mixed with farmer's cheese and fried onions is a popular filling in Poland and Ukraine. In Poland this variety is called Ruskie pierogi.[2] A popular filling for pierogi in Canada is mashed potatoes mixed with grated cheddar cheese.

[edit] Preparation

The dough is rolled flat and then cut into circles using a cup or drinking glass.[1] The filling is placed in the middle and the dough folded over to form a half circle. The pierogi or vareniki are boiled until they float, drained, and sometimes fried in butter before serving. They can be served with melted butter, plenty of sour cream, or garnished with small pieces of fried bacon, onions, and also mushrooms.[3][4] Dessert varieties may be topped with apple sauce. Some Polish families in North America serve them with maple syrup.

[edit] Pierogi in various nations, regions, and ethnicities

Slovak bryndzové pirohy

[edit] Hungary

In Hungarian cuisine, the equivalent of pierogi is derelye, pasta pockets filled with jam or sometimes meat.[5] Derelye is consumed primarily as a festive food for special occasions such as weddings.[citation needed]

[edit] Slovakia

A traditional dish in Slovak cuisine is bryndzové pirohy, crescent-shaped dumplings filled with salty bryndza cheese.

[edit] Jewish

The Jewish Ashkenazi version is called pirogen, which are usually boiled and fried before serving.[6] A related Jewish dish are the kreplach, which are ring shaped dumplings (which look like tortellini) boiled and served as a side dish or in clear soup.

[edit] North America

Pierogi are widespread in Canada and the United States, having been popularized primarily by Slavic immigrants. They are particularly common in areas with large Slavic-derived populations, such as Chicago, northern Ohio, western and northeastern Pennsylvania, the provinces of Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Toronto, Ontario. Pierogi at first were a family food among immigrants as well as being served in ethnic restaurants. In the post-World War II era, freshly cooked pierogi became a staple of fundraisers by ethnic churches.

By the 1960s, pierogi were a common supermarket item in the frozen food aisles in many parts of the United States and Canada. Pierogi maintain their place in the grocery aisles to this day.

Numerous towns with Polish or Ukrainian heritage celebrate the pierogi. The city of Whiting, Indiana celebrates the food at its annual Pierogi Fest every July.[7] Pierogi are also commonly associated with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There is even a "pierogi race" at every home Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game, where four runners wearing pierogi costumes race toward a finish line. The word pierogi is also a feature of the local vocabulary of the Pittsburghese dialect. The village of Glendon in Alberta, Canada erected in 1993 a roadside tribute to this culinary treat: a 25-foot (7.6 m) fiberglass perogy (preferred local spelling), complete with fork.[8]

[edit] Canada

Pierogi special at a fast-food stall in St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

The Canadian Prairies, in particular, have a large Ukrainian population, and their pyrohy or perogy (plural: "perogies") (Canadian English [pəˈroːgi]) are very common. Since Canada also has immigrants from many other perogy-making cultures (not least Poles, Jews, and Mennonites), a wide diversity of recipes are used.

Packed frozen perogies can be found everywhere Eastern European immigrant communities exist and are generally ubiquitous across Canada, even in big chain stores. Such perogi are made by industrial machines. Each perogy typically weighs around 20 grams, but resemble an oversized half-moon ravioli, as the Italian machines are also used in the production of Italian pasta. Typically frozen flavours include potato with either cheddar, bacon, or cottage cheese.

Home-made versions are typically filled with one of the following: mashed potatoes seasoned with salt and pepper (and frequently cheddar cheese), sauerkraut, or fruit. These are then boiled, and either served immediately, put in ovens and kept warm, or fried in oil or butter. Popular fruit varieties include strawberry, blueberry, and the distinctly Canadian saskatoon berry. Potato and cheese or sauerkraut versions are usually served with some or all the following: butter or oil, sour cream (typical), fried onions, fried bacon bits or kubasa (sausage), and a creamy mushroom sauce (less common).

National chain restaurants also feature the dish or variations. Boston Pizza has a sandwich and a pizza flavoured to taste like perogi, while Smitty's serves theirs as an appetizer deep-fried with salsa. Some Chinese cafés in the Canadian Prairies have taken to billing their potstickers (jiaozi) as “Chinese perogies”.

Speakers of the local Canadian Ukrainian dialect call them pyrohy, which can be misheard pedaheh by Anglophones unaccustomed to the fast rolled-r sound, or alveolar trill. They are known as varenyky in standard Ukrainian, and pyrohy there refers to a different dish, which is often a source of confusion.

[edit] United States

In the United States, the term pierogi or pierogies is commonly taken to mean Polish pierogi.

Many of these grocery brand pierogi contain non-traditional ingredients to appeal to general American tastes, including spinach, jalapeño peppers and chicken.

Pierogi enjoyed a brief popularity as a sports food when Paula Newby-Fraser adopted them as her food of choice[citation needed] for the biking portion of the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. For more than a decade thereafter, Mrs. T's (the largest American pierogi manufacturer) sponsored triathlons,[9] some professional triathletes and "fun runs" around the country. For many triathletes, pierogi represented a tasty alternative to simple pasta as a way to boost their carbohydrate intakes.[citation needed]

Pierogi consumption in the United States is largely concentrated in a geographical region dubbed the "Pierogi Pocket", an area including New York state, Pennsylvania, parts of the northern Midwest and southern New England. This region accounts for 68 percent of annual US pierogi consumption. Mrs. T's, based in Shenandoah, PA, names an annual pierogi capital of this region;[10] the 2007 capital was Binghamton, NY.[11]

[edit] Poland

Pierogi (singular pieróg, denoting a full-sized pie) are served in a variety of forms and tastes (ranging from sweet to salty to spicy) in Polish cuisine. Pierogi were traditionally peasant food, but eventually spread in popularity throughout all social classes, including nobles. They are served at many festivals, playing an important role as a cultural Polish dish. At the 2007 Pierogi Festival in Kraków, 30,000 pierogi were consumed daily. Polish pierogi are often filled with fresh white cheese (farmer's cheese or quark), potatoes, and fried onions; in this form, they are called Ruskie pierogi (Rusyn or Ruthenian pierogi), which is the most popular variety in North America. In Poland more popular are pierogi filled with ground meat, mushrooms, or for dessert an assortment of fruits. Pierogi are usually served with melted butter and sugar, or melted butter and bacon bits. Poles traditionally serve two types of pierogi for Christmas Eve supper. One kind is filled with sauerkraut and dried mushrooms, another – small uszka filled only with dried wild mushrooms – are served in clear borscht. Leniwe pierogi ("lazy pierogi") are a different type of food, similar to lazy vareniki, kopytka, or halušky.

[edit] Russia

In Russian cuisine, the closest analogue to pierogi are vareniki. Pelmeni, which are meat filled, are also similar.

[edit] Ukraine

While many North Americans of Ukrainian descent use the term pierogi, in traditional Ukrainian cuisine the closest analogue to pierogi are the boiled varenyky (вареники, from варити, "to boil"), which are served with sour cream or topped with melted butter, fried onions, and fried bacon bits. Ukrainians also prepare the somewhat similar, but usually smaller, meat-filled pelmeni.

[edit] Notes and references

[edit] See also

Look up perogy, pierogi, pirogi in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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