Why The Filling Might Be Ruining Your Homemade Pierogi

Polish food needs to have a moment in the spotlight. Of course, it's not as internationally coveted as Italian or Mexican, or even German cuisines, but it is worthy of the same love and respect. It may not have the vivid colors and spice of curry or the acidic brightness of marinara, but it is the kind of food you want to eat on a cold day – hearty, comforting, and stick to your ribs – with dishes like gołąbki, żurek, and bigos taking top spots. But the most famous Polish export besides Robert Lewandowski's right foot is pierogi

Every culture has a dumpling, and pierogi are Poland's contribution to the world of jiaozi, ravioli, and empanadas. At restaurants from Warsaw to Krakow and on babcia's (grandma's) tables, you can find the pillowy, doughy delights served with sour cream, crisp bacon bits, or fried onions. Fillings can be anything you might have on hand, from potatoes and farmer's cheese to wild mushrooms or leftover meat from your Sunday roast. If you like the sweeter side of things, you can find pierogi filled with blueberries or strawberries sprinkled with sugar and sweetened sour cream, especially in the summer when the berries are at their sweetest.

Skip the frozen pierogi from Mrs. T's and make your own pierogi. You'll need a bit of time to roll, fill, fold, and boil, but pierogi freeze really well, which makes them ideal for when you need a quick weeknight meal.

A loose potato filling will leak out of your pierogi

While you can go to the store and get a box of Mrs. T's, making your own pierogi will fill you with a sense of delicious accomplishment – it'll be difficult to resist popping one in your mouth as they come out of the water or frying pan. The dough is simple enough, made with pantry staples like flour and water and a little bit of oil or sour cream for a more supple dough. 

For the filling, especially if you're making pierogi ruskie, you can use your leftover mashed potatoes (via Natasha's Kitchen). A word of caution, though – if your pierogi recipe calls for butter in the potato filling and your mashed potatoes already have ingredients like butter, milk, or cream in them, don't add the extra butter, as this will loosen your filling. You should also not use mashed potatoes made with instant or potato flakes, as it won't be the proper consistency. The potato filling shouldn't be too creamy or loose because the filling will soak into the dough, and the pierogi will fall apart in the boiling water (via NPR). The potatoes should be scoopable and hold their shape.

If you do find that your filling is a bit too slack, thicken it up by adding more potato, or a teaspoon of flour or cornstarch. You can add more until it comes together more, but if it would take too much starch, you can pivot and fry up some placki ziemniaczane, or potato pancakes, instead.