Mushroom Pierogi Video (scroll down for recipe)
One of the most interesting things I learned was the concept of “maigre” — coming from the French for “lean” and also the root of the English “meager” — maigre is a type of fasting wherein no meat, dairy, eggs, butter are eaten. Fish is still allowed, if I understand correctly.
Wigilia is the traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Poland. Popular recipes that are served at this feast are pierogi (and related to those, uszka, which are made the same way, but folded more like a tortellini) and barszcz (cold beet soup, or borscht) as well as carp, rollmops, mushroom soup, poppy seed cakes, kutia (a sweet wheat berry pudding) and fruit compote made from dried fruits.
To celebrate Christmas in Poland, I’ve made for you these delicious mushroom pierogi. While the dough is not maigre because it has egg in it, the filling is meat-free. If you wish, you can replace the egg with 4 tablespoons of oil, but the egg dough tastes better and is easier to work with. Other fillings that can be used are mashed potatoes mixed with cottage cheese or mushrooms mixed with sauerkraut.
(“Pierogi” is the plural of “pierog”, though you’ll notice in the video I mistakenly said “pierogies” a few times. Also, I think it is pronounced “per-O-gee” with a hard G as in “go”. But I’m no expert. And I’ve never been to Poland. There’s also about a billion spellings of pierogi: perogi, pirogi, pierogie, pyrogy … of course only two of those are recognized by the spell-check software, but nonetheless they are all spellings I have seen on my virtual journey to Poland.)
Mushroom Pierogi Recipe — Printable!Print
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4-5 1x
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons water
- Filling 1:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 4 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini, soaked overnight
- 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 small onion, cut into thin rings
- Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk egg and water together. Combine and knead with extra flour 2-3 minutes until smooth. Set aside 20 minutes, covered.
- Filling: Saute onion in butter over medium-high heat for a few minutes until soft. Finely chop soaked mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid. Add fresh mushrooms and dried to the onion with salt and pepper and cook about 10 minutes until soft. Strain soaking water and add to pan. Cook another 5-10 minutes until mostly dry. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Roll dough out to 1/8″ on a floured surface and cut 3″ circles. Re-roll scraps. You will get about 20 pierogi from this recipe.
- Fill each with 1 teaspoon filling. Fold over and pinch edges to seal. Set aside on a plate until all are filled. (At this point pierogi can be frozen individually before sealing into bags. When ready to cook, do not thaw; drop into boiling water, still frozen.)
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Drop the pierogi into the water and they will sink. After about a minute they will float. Allow to cool another minute and remove with a slotted spoon.
- Set aside on an oiled plate. If the plate is not oiled, they will stick!
- For the topping, heat the butter in a large skillet and add the onion. Fry over medium-high heat until onions are soft and lightly brown. How brown you like your onions is a matter of personal taste.
- Once onions are browned, push them to the outer edges of the skillet and add the pierogi in a single layer to the center. Fry in butter on both sides until browned and crisp.
- Serve topped with fried onions and with a side of sour cream or cottage cheese if you like.
Other fillings that may be used:
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup minced onion
4 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained and chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup cottage cheese, drained
Other Polish Christmas Recipes
Cold Beet Soup — Barczsz
Try this version of vegetarian borscht to complement your pierogi!
Fruit Compote (from my Learn to Cook book)Print
Fruit Compote — Christmas in Poland
Serve small bowls of this fruit compote with Christmas cookies
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 1x
- 1 pound mixed dried fruit (apricots, plums, apples, pears)
- 3 cups water
- 1 lemon
- 1 – 1” cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces.
- Combine in a medium pot with water, zest and juice of the lemon and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and simmer 20 minutes until the fruit is soft. You may need to add more water and cook a little longer if the fruits are very dried.
- Add the sugar and simmer another 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved and sauce is thick.
- Serve warm or cold with cookies and/or cream.
As a Polish girl from the south side of Chicago, Texas is a pierogi wasteland and I’m totally craving the potato and sweet plum varieties we used to buy from the little babushkas’s at St. Casmir’s. Yours are way fancier, but look equally as delicious.
No way! I think potato and plum sound fancier, Corrin! Hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think!
Great recipes, homemade pierogi are always better than the store bought, the mushroom soup is part of our families holiday tradition, so is pickled herring.
Thanks, Greg! I came this close to buying some pickled herring to try, but then I chickened out. I just don’t know how to eat it.
Now I want to make these and your mushroom soup for a mushroomaganza! Also, that vintage dress is wonderful . . . .
Mushroompalooza! I bet we could figure out a mushroom paella recipe, too…
Dear Hilah, you look so beautiful in this episode! I definitely like your new dress and your awesome make up. your lips look truly fabulous!
PS. I guess it would taste better if you add some beef or lamb in the dumpling.
Thank you, Milan! Someone said that Russian pierogi have meat in them sometimes, but I don’t know what kind.
Great! I’m from Poland, we have pierogi with different variations of filling, but for Christmas Eve dinner, which is very special for us (gifts, tree, etc) we have no meat option. Mushrooms and sauerkraut, Sometimes buckwheat, spinach, White cheese, and borsht, I love vegetarian hot borsht with little uszka :)) Many types of fish, and yummy desserts. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!
Thank you! Those are interesting pierogi fillings I had not heard of. I’m glad you liked this recipe!
“Maigre” is a French word, cognate with the English “meager” — I think I’ve even seen the British spell it “meagre”. It can refer to a dish or a meal made entirely without ingredients derived from warm-blooded animals. No eggs, no dairy, even.
I’ve made pasta dough with just flour and water. The texture is a little weird.
“Pel’meni” are one Russian equivalent for pierogi, although they look more like tortellini. The most common filling is ground beef and minced onion. The really unique thing about them is that, traditionally, they’re left outside to freeze after filling and shaping and before cooking. Usually they’re just boiled and served with sour cream.
I’ve also had “vareniki” (Ukrainian word for pierogi) that were filled with prunes and walnuts and served as a dessert, with a sweet sauce based on milk.
The “warm blooded” animals is an easy way to remember what is excluded. Thanks!
I wonder if the pel’meni are more like Polish uszka?
I’d like to try a fruit pierog filling sometime. It’s hard for me to imagine, but several people have mentioned it now so I’ll have to find a recipe.
I’m not really familar with “uszka”, but, from what I’ve seen on a quick look at the internet, they could be very similar to pel’meni.
There is a stand at the West Side Market in Cleveland that sells pierogi of all kinds, including sour cherry pierogi (!). To get those you have to get up very early in the morning or order well in advance — they sell out very quickly.
Hello! I’m from Poland and I would like to correct a few things you’ve written, if you don’t mind 🙂
1. First of all, there isn’t any Polish fasting tradition that would actually exclude eggs, dairy or butter from the diet! We do fast before Christmas and during a period preceding Easter, but it basically means that we just don’t eat meat (but, as you’ve written, we eat fish) 🙂 We use eggs and butter in large amounts when preparing Christmas dishes and cakes, so you must have been misinformed by someone.
2. The correct spelling is obviously ‘pierogi’ (the singular form is ‘pieróg’), and the correct pronunciation is actually /pjE-‘ro-gee/ (/E/ as in ‘let’), so the first syllable includes the sound /j/, as in ‘you’ (/ju/). (The pronunciation of the singular form is /’pjE-roog/ with /oo/ as in ‘book’).
3. You’ve folded these pierogi beautifully! I don’t know if these are available in the US, but we have special plastic tools for folding together pierogi so that we don’t spend time creating that ‘frilled’ pattern manually: http://www.bociek.drl.pl/fairplayv/foto/pierogi1.jpg . Makes Christmas preparations much easier 🙂
Hope these remarks will be helpful or interesting to someone. If you have any questions regarding the Polish cuisine or Christmas traditions, I’d be glad to help 🙂
Thanks for writing! My “source” told me that the tradition of excluding meat is very old and most people don’t adhere to it these days, for the last 15-20 years or so. I just wanted to mention it because I’m trying to stay as authentic as I can with these recipes. 🙂
I’m so glad you approve of my pierogi folding! The dough is so easy to work with, I can hardly take credit myself.
Like many Polish people I was raised Roman Catholic. (No, I’m not Polish.) When I ws a kid in the 1950s we “abstained” from meat and poultry on certain days in the month before Christmas, but eggs, dairy, and fish were always allowed.
I believe that the Orthodox Christian fasts before Christmas and Easter are truly “maigre”, although I would agree with Hilah’s “source” that very few people pay any attention to that rule any more.
Indeed, during the fast nothing besides meat is forbidden.
And I wouldn’t fully agree with the ‘source’. The custom of fasting is strictly related to Catholicism, and I see it is strong among many religious families in Poland. The reason fewer people follow this tradition nowadays is because fewer people declare themselves as Catholics. But although I belong to the latter group, I think this custom is going to remain in Poland for many years.
But that’s not so important, I just wrote it for the sake of clarifying some minor misconceptions.
Besides, I have to say I had no idea that our pierogi are so popular abroad! 🙂
I humbly beg to disagree on one point. I was married for twenty-two years to a woman who had been raised in the Russian Orthodox tradition. For her family the fasts before Christmas and Easter were definitely “maigre”. I admit, however, that the rules were mostly ignored.
I also understand that, from the days when Poland was administered by Russia, Russian Orthodox religious customs would have been resented (and largely ignored) by Polish Catholics.
For a while, after I got divorced, I dated a Russian Jewish woman. She showed me how to ruffle the edges of pierogi or vareniki. It’s easy and fast and fun.
mushroom soup !! That reminds me of an old cow pasture, had some incredible mushrooms for making soup !! Love your work, and Merry Christmas, Hilah !!
Ahaha! I’m not sure I ever would have thought to make soup out of those … peanut butter and mushrooms sandwiches, but never soup. 😉
I’m Jewish so I don’t celebrate Christmas, but these actually strongly remind me of traditional Jewish European dumplings called “Kreplach”. We usually eat them with chicken soup, but they can be eaten on their own as well. The fillings are very similar – mushrooms, mashed potatoes and meat during the winter, and sweet cheese filling for summer.
Your recipe is great, I’ve always had a hard time with the dough and getting the dumplings to stay closed during cooking, but yours was actually really easy to work with and they stayed perfect during cooking and frying.
Also – I reheated the leftovers in a pan, and they got extra crunchy and really yummy! I love food that keeps well and doesn’t spoil during reheating.
Thanks for another winner!
Hooray! Thank you, Vrhino! So happy to hear you had an easy time with the dough. Using egg makes such a difference, doesn’t it?
I’ve heard of kreplach but have never had them, though I’m sure I would like them. I like dumplings of all sorts!
Thanks for the tip on reheating them in a pan, too. Bet those were great.
Hi, I’m also from Poland, great recipe! I haven’t tried the mushroom version cuz the most popular (in the region that I live) are the ones with mashed potatoes and cottage cheese filling. So definitely I have to try it. Thx
Thank you! I hope you try these. I love potato and cheese pierogi, too.
What timing…I am getting ready to make about 100 pierogies for Christmas Eve dinner. These bring back such wonderful memories. My mother, who has passed, and my sister, who is now 100% disabled used to get together and make around 400-500 of these, some for the holiday and some to have frozen when the mood hits for them. We always made at my sisters as she had a lot of freezer space. We always had such a wonderful time making these and we all had our specific job making them. Tip….when making a lot, put them on wax paper on a sheet tray and freeze. Once frozen, you can put in a freezer bag and have ready!!! This year I am going to try and make them myself, mostly to see my sister smile. I make mine with mashed potatoes and…don’t freak out, I use Velveeta and then boil them till they reach the top and then fry with the onions. Try eating them with sour cream, YUM. OMG, I am ready for some right now. And I am smiling. Thank you again for bringing back such wonderful memories and making sure I do find the time to make these.
Thank you for sharing your sweet story! I can not imagine making that many pierogi, but with help, I’m sure it is a fun project to do together. And I’ve got no fear of Velveeta! That sounds great. I know your sister will appreciate it! Merry Christmas!
I know you are taking some time off, but I wanted to let you know you are missed. Take all the time you need and come back swinging! Chin up!
I’ve been making pirogi’s for about thirty years following my families traditions and my Grandma’s recipe. We always have sauerkraut, potato or cheese filled pirogi’s. Cheese was ricotta and an egg, potatoes were mashed and and onion and the sauerkraut was minced kraut with a touch of onion and sour cream. What makes these ‘melt in your mouth’ is with the dough; instead of water use sour cream. Makes them so delicate. And roll them out as thin as possible. But like so many ethnic foods there are so many different regionally different recipes.
You’re right, Paul! There are as many different ways to make traditional recipes as there are cooks, probably! Your grandma’s pierogi recipe sounds super good.
Hi Hilah!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe!!!
I used to buy frozen perogies a lot when I was living in Canada, and it was definitely one of my favorite comfort foods! Now I came back to my country (Brazil) and I can’t find frozen perogies anywhere… But now, with that recipe, I can do it myself. 😉
Hooray! Send me a pic of your pierogi, Wilton! 🙂
For the past 60+ years our family recipe has fillings of saurkraut or potato (mashed) or ricotta cheese. Also, the dough is made with flour, egg and SOUR CREAM! Makes them super light and tender!