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Polish to Polish: Lesson 10 (Kuchnia polska)

Today we talk about Polish cuisine.

To download click here.

And below you will find Anna’s recipe for „Pierogi ruskie”.

Pierogi ruskie
Pierogi ruskie are dumplings everyone in Poland knows. It takes some time to prepare them. Actually, I have an impression that in Poland you make them to keep children busy. Ask your friends – wasn’t “lepienie pierogów” the first thing they were allowed to do in the kitchen? It was for me.
There are probably as many recipes as many Polish families, but I prepare them the way my grandma taught me, which is:
for the pastry:
• Flour (one glass)
• Egg (1)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt or even less
• Warm water (1/3 of a glass or even less)

for the filling:
• One onion
• Mashed potato (cold)
• Butter
• Salt and pepper
• Twaróg (now, if you have any Polish shop nearby, just go there and ask for “twaróg” or “biały ser” – two names for the same thing; but I have recently discovered that it’s actually called “curd cheese” in English and you can buy it in any supermarket)

Cut onion and fry it in butter until soft. Add to potatoes and cheese, season and mix well.
Mix flour and salt.
Add egg and water to make dough that won’t be too soft, too hard, too sticky…
Knead. Keep dough soft. Do it quickly before it dries. When you think it’s ready cut it with a knife – if it has tiny bubbles of air inside it’s fantastic. If not, sigh and continue (my grandma’s dough would always have them, so I keep checking if mine has, but it tends not to have them. Well – pierogi are still fine without them. But the dough just SHOULD have those silly bubbles in it).
Roll dough thin (very thin in my granma’s version, and not so thin at all in mine, but I keep trying)
Cut out round pieces with open end of glass.
Put some filling in the middle and fold in half to make a semi-circle.
Press edges together firmly ensuring no holes or filling are at the edges. If you dough is too dry, you can cheat a bit and touch edges with water, so that they are more sticky.
This part is called “lepienie pierogów” and it takes ages and it’s fun!
Put them into rapidly boiling salted water (don’t put too many as they tend to stick and it’s a disaster then).
Cook them for 3 minutes counting from the moment they all float (!!!).
You can serve them with butter or a little bit of fried bacon or fried onions or any sauce you want or… with sugar and cream (I do know people who eat them this way!). You can also fry them, so that they are more crispy.
And – although I would prefer not to tell you – there are people who add mint to the filling (the same people who eat pierogi with sugar). I personally think it’s just STRANGE, but well… just to keep you informed. But if you feel like checking the version with mint don’t tell me I didn’t warn you: It is really strange.


Anna is a language teacher. You can email her at anna@bloggypolish.co.uk

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