Maryna! Maryna, gotuj pierogi! Maryna! Maryna, cook me pierogi!

Polish Pierogi, fried after cooking

Polish Pierogi, fried after cooking

Please note at the beginning: in Polish – pieróg – singular, PIEROGI – plural (no -s at the end of the word!)

There are not too many people in Poland that don’t know this folk song “Maryna! Maryna, gotuj pierogi!” about determination and laziness. A husband asks his wife to cook pierogi (dumplings) and a wife is too lazy to do that or in some versions doesn’t know how to do that and finally gets some sticks and does pierogi.

Folk version:

As kids, with my cousin we used to have some fun “singing” this song while our grandma was doing pierogi (of course the best ones in the world with the freshly gathered in the forest mushroom varieties). This folk song has plenty versions, as the only one written lyrics as such doesn’t exist so everyone is free to invent even more lacking things to make pierogi.

Nowadays, lack of time would take the lead for sure😉 however, believe me, every excuse is good but none is good enough not to do homemade pierogi at least once a year.

Polish version of lyrics, English translation below:

Maryna! Maryna, gotuj pierogi!
O mój Maćku drogi, kiedy nie mam mąki
A Maciek do miasta po mąkę do ciasta
(A Maciek do młyna po mąke zarzyna)

Maryna! Maryna, gotuj pierogi!
O mój Maćku drogi, kiedy nie mam wody
A Maciek do studni, pompuje, aż dudni

Maryna! Maryna, gotuj pierogi!
O mój Maćku drogi, kiedy nie mam drewna
A Maciek do pieńka i rąbie, a stęka

Maryna! Maryna, gotuj pierogi!
O mój Maćku drogi, kiedy nie mam jajek
A Maciek do kurnika, zbiera jaja do koszyka

Maryna! Maryna, gotuj pierogi!
O mój Maćku drogi, kiedy mi się nie chce
A Maciek wziął kija i kijem pobija

Maryna! Maryna, gotuj pierogi!
O mój Maćku drogi, robię Ci pierogi

Bigbeat version:

My, more than free😀 translation. It must be a bit funny, “folky” and old fashioned. I want you to have an idea. Please feel free and encourage to write the better English version that eventually rhymes. I would be very happy.

Maryna! Maryna cook me pierogi!
Oh, Maciek, my dear, but I haven’t got any flour
And Maciek to the city/mill after the flour to the dough

Maryna! Maryna cook me pierogi!
Oh, Maciek, my dear, but I haven’t got any water
And Maciek to a well, pumping up rumbling

Maryna! Maryna cook me pierogi!
Oh, Maciek, my dear, but I haven’t got any wood
And Maciek to a trunk and he chops, and groans

Maryna! Maryna cook me pierogi!
Oh, Maciek, my dear, bbut I haven’t got any eggs
And Maciek into a cote, he collects eggs into a basket

Maryna! Maryna cook me pierogi!
Oh Maciek, my dear, I am cooking you pierogi!

Rock version:

Not without a reason pierogi are loved in Poland. The reason? They are simply d e l i c i o u s when properly done. The same as Russian pelmieni, Ukrainian varenyky, Italian tortellini or ravioli, Japanese gyoza, or Chinese wonton, guo tie or jiaozi. Oh and many more.

The dough can take care of any filling you crave for but in Poland the most traditional and popular are pierogi with sour cabbage/mushrooms, meat, potato/cottage cheese called “ruskie” (meaning Ruthenian not Russian!), dried mushrooms or fresh mushrooms variety, with blueberries or strawberries or sweat cottage cheese. The main idea is, however, to have the dough as thin as possible.

Pierogi probably came from Far East to Europe but their origins are actually not known, no one remembers that😉 and moreover looking at the history of different pierogi-like dumplings across Eurasia nothing seems sure.

It is interesting, however, to see some groups of different but cognates names for this kind of dumplings – on one hand Slavic “pierogi” and on the other hand – Turkic, Caucasian, Central Asia “mandu” or “manti”- existing around the Silk Road. Not mentioning jiaozi or gyoza.

According to Wikipedia “some researchers do not discount the possibility that “manti “may have originated in the Middle East and spread eastward to Korea and China through the Silk Road. In Turkey, it is also called Tatar böregi (Tatar bureks), which indicates its relation to nomadic people. Korean mandu is also said to have arrived in Korea through the Mongols in the 14th century.”

On the other hand you have a hugh Slavic group of different ‘pierogi’ names originating probably in the Proto-Slavic root “pir” meaning festivity, celebration, ceremony: perogi, pyrogy, perogie, perogy, pirohi, piroghi, pirogi, pirogen, pierogy, pirohy, pyrogie, and pyrohy. It is believed that pierogi were festive food in Proto-Slavic era and their shape origins in the solar deity (sun cross).

Maybe there is a seed of truth in that because looking at our times, not much has changed since homemade pierogi are usually done for some special events like Christmas, bigger family meeting or first Communion. There are of course people making them frequently but for everyday use Poles usually buy them in the shops, sometimes in small selling points with pierogi only or just go to Pierogarnia, a restaurant like place with pierogi to have them there.
Well, actually pierogi belong to the fast food nowadays, you can have them in almost each bar and shop – fresh, ready to heat or frozen, as well ready to heat. They are staple at Polish homes but they were already staple in XVII century and for sure are known since XIII century in Poland if not earlier.There is a story that Polish bishop Jacek Odrowąż was so delighted with their taste during his stay in Kiev (nowadays Ukraine) that thanks to him they appeared in Poland.
In first written Polish cookery book from XVII century – Compendium Ferculorum – you can find as well pierogi made with the yeast dough with sweet filling and deep fried in the oil, what nowadays in neither uncommon. My grandma used to deep fried pierogi with dried mushrooms filling and it happen to me to bake them in the oven – as well nothing new in Poland.

But let’s stop talking about pierogi, let’s just do them🙂

Delicious Polish Pierogi

Delicious Polish Pierogi – Polskie pierogi


Polish Pierogi

Ingredients:

1 kg all-purpose flour
2 cups or more hot or very warm water (the amount depends on the flour, it can happen that you need double as much water, the dough should be elastic and soft, not hard)
2 Tablespoons of oil (canola, sunflower or other without strong flavour)
1 egg (you can omit it too, especially if you decide to do it from half of the portion)

Preparation:

  1. Prepare the filling before making a dough or do it at step 10 of the preparation
  2. Prepare the place for making the dough. You need big, flat surface. You can use wooden board, your stone like granite kitchen tabletop or silicone matte
  3. Sieve and pile the flour on the board, make a well in the flour pile
  4. Pour part of hot water into the well and mix at the beginning with a wooden or silicone spoon or stick, not to burn yourself. Start mixing water with the flour being inside the well, to not allow water running away from your working place J
  5. Use your hands to prepare dough when the water is not very hot anymore
  6. Mix in water litle by litle
  7. Work in oil and egg (if using, do not add an egg into hot water!) to have a soft and elastic dough
  8. Cover the dough with the dry but hot-warm big bowl or pot thus it does not dry out
  9. Let the dough rest for at least ½ -1 h. This step is important to have thin pastry later on
  10. This time you can use for the filling preparation, some arrangements for the further process, a place for putting aside raw pierogi – clean linen or cotton tablecloth or another wooden board or silicone matt. Just while starting to make pierogi from pastry, pour plenty of water into a big pot and start boiling it. Make pierogi – step 11-13 and before cooking pierogi add salt to the water – ca. 1-2 Tablespoons for few 4-5 liters of water. Remember the dough doesn’t contain salt, only the filling.
  11. Make pierogi. Thus divide your dough into the portions (4 should be OK but it depends on your working surface), take one, cover the rest
  12. Roll out one lump of dough to have (I prefer) 2-2.5 mm thickness. If you are a novice and have some problems you can start with a bit thicker layer but remember that the idea is to have the pastry thin
  13. Cut out the squares or circles if you prefer (or use some special arrangements for it). I am cutting squares of ca. 8cm – it is just quicker without any pastry loss or necessity to work in the rests of the dough again and  moreover my mum and grandma always made this shape so I simply do too
  14. Put the tablespoon of filling on each square. Be generous but keep in mind you need to seal it too
  15. Fold squares diagonally or in half (sometimes it is more comfortable to do it like this, it depends how your filling is arrange on the pastry or sometimes you have a rectangle of the pastry and it can be simply more convenient, unless you want to have all your pierogi beautiful, not only delicious J), close and seal it, and crimp it using your three fingers as in the photo
  16. Put pierogi into the boiling water (do not forget to salt your water). Do not overcrowd your pot, you should have only one layer of pierogi. Mix them delicately, not to stick to the bottom. When pierogi start floating on the top, cook them 2-4 minutes. 2 minutes if you want to freeze them. Do not overcook. The best thing is to taste them.
  17. Take carefully your pierogi out of the pot with the slotted spoon to drain them.
  18. Serve immediately with some fried bacon with onion or melted butter or sour cream depending on filling and your preferences. Or when cold, fried them on the butter.

Freezing:

To freeze pierogi drain them and arrange on plates as one layer, again not overcrowd them. Let them cool down and dry (not to over-dry). While cooling and drying change the plates for dry ones and dry the other side of pierogi. Arrange dry pierogi , separating them, on some flat surface, can be foam tray and freeze shortly like two hours. Then, you can pack them in portions  in the freezing bags and freeze for a longer time. When cooking again, just boil freezed pierogi in the water.

Pierogi pastry preparation - Przygotowanie ciasta na pierogi

Pierogi pastry preparation – Przygotowanie ciasta na pierogi

Sticking pierogi - Lepienie pierogów

Sticking pierogi – Lepienie pierogów

Cooking of the Polish Pierogi - Gotowanie pierogów

Cooking of the Polish Pierogi – Gotowanie pierogów

Recipe for the filling will come in the next post.