Pittsburgh’s Precious Pierogies
When I first moved to the Pittsburgh area, I was surprised by many things, including this city’s love of all sports. Pittsburgh’s intense pride in all their sports teams makes it a microcosm of America in general. “We’re the best, and nobody is going to screw with us” is the town motto.
One big thing about moving to a new location is getting used to different foods, and Pittsburgh was no exception. It comes as no surprise that they have a lot of locally owned restaurants dotting the landscape, which fits in well with their city pride and is definitely a plus. On the other end of the spectrum, they also have Sheetz, which, as anybody with any class would tell you, is glorified gas station food unfit for human consumption.
Perhaps the most noticeable food element in this city, however, is pierogies. Having hailed from the Midwest, pierogies were not exactly a common dish, but this city, with a high population of Polish descent, celebrates them. And what’s not to celebrate?
Have you ever felt like eating everything? Like, literally everything? A pierogi is the solution to all your food problems. You can make a pierogi with anything in it. ANYTHING. They are the future. You can fry them, you can bake them, boil them, slather them with pounds of heart-healthy butter…
You could probably found a religion based on these things.
That being said, there are an infinite number of pierogi recipes. So to start your pierogi filled future, I found a recipe that requires few ingredients aside from strawberries and blueberries, so it should appeal to everyone. After all, the only people that hate strawberries are allergic or nihilists.
For those with an aversion to the metric system, 1 kilogram is about 2.2 pounds.
Ingredients for the Filling
1 kilogram strawberries
4-6 tablespoons sugar, to taste
2 tablespoons flour
Ingredients for the Pastry
2 large mugs of flour (any mug will do, preferably a mug talking about how awesome you are)
a pinch of salt
3 heaped tablespoons margarine
a splash of milk
To make the pastry, put your flour on a clean work surface. Add the salt and the margarine. Use your fingers to mix the margarine into the flour. Once it is well combined, make a well in the center and crack in the egg.
Pour in a splash of milk and knead everything together until a dough forms. If it is too dry, add more milk or margarine. If it is too wet, add a little flour. The dough should be soft but not sticky and easy to work with.
Divide the dough into two balls and place one half in a plastic bag and set aside.
On a floured surface, roll out the other ball of dough until it is 2-3 millimeters thick.
Use a glass or round cookie cutter to cut circles about 8-10 centimeters in diameter out of the dough.
Repeat this process with the other ball of dough. Gather all the scraps together to form another ball and repeat again.To make the filling, chop up the strawberries into small pieces and put them into a large bowl. Add the sugar and flour and mix well to combine. Set aside.
Take a circle of dough and place a small tablespoon of filling on one half.
Take it in your hand and fold it in half to form a half moon shape. Then using your fingers, press the edges of the half moon together to seal them. Repeat until you have used all the dough and all the filling.
Once you have made all of your pierogi, fill a medium pot with water and set it on the stove to boil.
When the water is boiling, drop the pierogi inside, about 8-10 at a time.
Once all the pierogi rise to the surface, boil them for 2 minutes.
Remove them from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and set them aside to drain. Repeat with the other pierogi.
Serve with some thickened cream sweetened with vanilla sugar and eat up! Makes about 50 pierogi.
Post by Nathaniel Harrison. Photo from http://www.polishfoodandgifts.com/pierogi-potato-cheddar-cheese. Recipe from http://www.butterbaking.com/2011/12/06/strawberry-dumplings-pierogi.