I’ve never been the type to take part in activities offered at hostels. I always think they sound fun, but there was a lot to see in Warsaw and I only had three days. But then I considered the fact that I’m usually just hanging out at night after dinner, not doing much of anything, and I decided, OK, fine, maybe this is a good idea. I am in Poland, after all.
I was joined by a couple of other travelers – a mother and daughter from tiny town in England, a guy from Australia (or maybe it was Thailand?), and one other traveler, who I think was from Brazil. It was pretty cool to have an opportunity to hang out with people from other countries and learn a little bit about where they were from (it’s kind of why I travel).
Anyways, the dough was already made (but you can find a recipe here for it) so we learned how to put them together (use a glass as a cookie cutter to get the right size dough circle, put the filling on one side, and then fold over the rest of the dough, using your thumb to make the print on the closing) and boil them, and then, yes, eat them. We made a ton of them and had lots of leftovers! There were cheese and potato pierogis and meat pierogis. They were both delicious.
It was an entertaining, educational, and delicious way to have dinner while backpacking through Poland. If you stay at the DREAM Hostel in Warsaw (DO IT), make sure to check their calendar while you’re there to see if they’re offering this. Smacznego!
Here’s a recipe for some potato pierogis in case you’re feeling hungry:
For the Dough:
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water (lukewarm)
For the Potato-Cheese Filling:
2 pounds russet potatoes (scrubbed and boiled in their jackets)
2 tablespoons onion (finely minced, sautéed in 1 tablespoon butter)
8 ounces dry curd or farmer’s cheese (room temperature; or ricotta)
Optional: kosher salt (to taste)
Optional: freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Make the filling by peeling the potatoes and fork blending or ricing them (do not mash) into a large bowl.
Add the sautéed onion and farmer’s cheese and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Make the dough by placing 2 cups of flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center.
Break the egg into it, then add the salt and lukewarm water a little at a time.
Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary.
Divide the dough in half and cover it with a bowl or towel. Let it rest 20 minutes.
Assemble the pierogi on a floured work surface. Roll out the dough thinly and cut with a 2-inch round or glass.
Spoon a portion of the filling into the middle of each circle.
Fold dough in half and pinch edges together.
Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
Sprinkle a baking sheet with flour and place the filled pierogi on it in a single layer. Cover with a tea towel.
Cook the pierogi by bringing a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in about six pierogi at a time. Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more.
Remove one with a slotted spoon and taste for doneness. When satisfied, remove remaining pierogi with a slotted spoon to a serving platter that has been buttered so the dumplings don’t stick.
Serve warm with caramelized onions or skwarki (pork cracklings) or fried bacon pieces, and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
Recipe can be found here.