Quick & easy pierogi? There is no such thing. But if ever a recipe was worth the time, it’s homemade pierogi. I only make potato & cheese pierogi because that’s what I grew up on. My dad taught me how to make them and I’m so glad I shared the recipe because I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to put in the effort. It turns out a lot of people do. There are hundreds of comments and over a million people have watched the video.
There are two things to make: the dough and the filling. The mashed potato filling is easy to make but the dough takes more time and it’s important that the filling stays inside the dough when they are boiled. Before boiling, the pierogi must be kept apart on a floured towel because if they touch each other they will likely stick and create an opening in the dough. That would result in them breaking apart when they’re boiled. I line a baking sheet with a dish towel and sprinkle it with flour and place them on the towel, not touching.
I boil mine in a medium saucepan so I only boil 4 or 5 at a time, making sure at first that they don’t touch each other in the water. Pierogi take about 3-4 minutes to cook and when they’re done I remove them to an oiled baking sheet and put the next few in the boiling water. (By the way, “pierogi” is plural – one is called a “pierog” but people often use “pierogies” as the plural).
Once they’re cooked I still keep them mostly separated. There are two ways to enjoy these Polish treasures. One is to eat them right after boiling when they are soft and tender, served with sour cream and bacon bits. I rarely eat bacon but that rule goes out the window when I make homemade pierogi.
The other way is to pan fry them in a little oil or butter until they’re lightly browned and serve them with (big surprise…) sour cream and bacon bits. They are also often served with fried onions. Well I have to go now. We have leftovers. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Somebody please stop me from eating five! These oven-baked Polish doughnuts are so light and so delicious and filled with homemade custard, well….. I can only make these a few times a year. It’s too easy to eat five. Pączki are most often filled with jam but custard is my favorite by far. These Polish doughnuts are light and airy and really simple to make.
Filling them is the hardest part and a pastry bag does make it easy. I used to use a long, slender pastry tip but I find it easier to use a wider tip, something like these:
Pączki are traditionally fried but I avoid eating deep fried food – nobody needs that. Besides, I could never eat five fried doughnuts without requiring medical care. Oven-baked is the way to go. Fill them with jam or custard. Either way you will love these delicious pączki (pronounced potnch‘-kee). Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
How can something so easy be so good? I love haluski so much I just can’t get enough. My mother used to make it and I never asked her for the recipe but I finally figured out how to make it like she did and it’s so good! It’s basically a Polish stir fry of cabbage and onions that is quick and easy so you need to prep everything in advance. It only takes 20 minutes to make. I slice the cabbage by hand and then rough chop it after that.
Most haluski recipes use lots of butter but you don’t need to. This whole pan has only 2 tablespoons of butter and some of that is stirred in at the end for a great flavor and finish.
Now about the sauerkraut: I LOVE the addition of sauerkraut but I know it’s not for everyone (except us Poles ??) but I do recommend trying the kraut version for a true Polish experience. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Even when it’s not cold outside, I still make my potato soup. Russet potatoes are best for this creamy comfort food and it only takes 1/2 hour to make. Cutting the potatoes into small 1/2-inch pieces helps it cook quickly and I always have my homemade chicken stock in the freezer for soups and stews. You don’t need cream to thicken this soup, only a little flour is all it takes.
Another thing I always have on hand is my (low fat) sour cream. Don’t all Polish people have sour cream at home? It seems like we eat everything with sour cream… cabbage rolls, pierogi, borscht, and potato soup. I always stir sour cream into this soup just before eating and if you want the full Polish experience (zupa ziemniaczana ~ but we called it zupa kartoflana) top it with a little freshly chopped dill. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
My dad used to make hunter’s stew but he called it kapusta, which means cabbage in Polish. Hunter’s stew, also called bigos, is based on sauerkraut and it usually has added meats including kielbasa. This recipe does not belong only to Poles. There are many varieties of hunter’s stew in eastern Europe but they almost all include sauerkraut and various meats.
Bigos has been around for centuries. People used to cook big pots of this stew for hours, even days, adding all kinds of meats from beef, pork, ham, sausages, venison, even rabbit – after all it was a “hunter’s” stew.
I’ve been working on finding a simpler way to make bigos and now I’m sharing my own recipe, which doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or a lot of work, and there is less focus on meat and more focus on the sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, mushrooms, and lots of flavor.
The recipe starts with store-bought sauerkraut and the best kind to buy is the one they sell in the refrigerated section and I use store-bought chicken cooking stock (unsalted) because there is plenty of salt already in the sauerkraut. I have also made my hunter’s stew with homemade beef stock but I am not a fan of store-bought beef stock, only chicken.
Hunter’s stew, like most stews (and like me) gets better with age 🙂 so try to make it a day or two ahead and let it marinate in the refrigerator before serving. Some people serve it with rye bread but we always had it with mashed potatoes. The strong flavors of the stew and the mild potatoes goes really well together.
It takes a lot of chopping and shredding but otherwise, this dish cooks with virtually no effort after that. Smacznego. – Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Tuesday, February 17th is Pączki Day! It’s a day celebrated by most Poles by eating as many pączki as you can in preparation for the following day, Ash Wednesday, the traditional start of Lent, when many Catholics start fasting until Good Friday. So if you’re going to binge on pączki today, why not keep it healthy and bake them? My recipe is easy and you can fill them with custard or jam… I even fill some with my chocolate pudding recipe. (a single pączki is called a pączek.)
So Happy Pączki Day, everyone. And Szczęśliwa Pączki Dziennie to my Polish friends! Oh, and Happy Fat Tuesday to everyone in New Orleans. That’s about the happiest place to be today. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Christmas in Poland isn’t official until someone makes chrusciki. These powdered sugar crullers are actually pretty easy to make but if you don’t have a rolling pin it’s not going to happen because the key is to roll the dough paper thin. Chrusciki are the only things I deep fry because there is no other way to make this light-as-a-cloud cookie – I guess that’s why they also call them angel wings. So I’m sharing my recipe for these Polish Christmas cookies but it turns out they are not just Polish. Here is what they’re called in other countries:
Belarus – хрушчы (chruščy) or фаворкі (favorki) Croatia – krostole Denmark – klejner France – bugnes Germany – raderkuchen Hungary – csöröge Italy – bugie, cenci, chiacchiere, crostoli, frappe, galani, sfrappole Lithuania – žagarėliai Malta – xkunvat Romania – minciunele, regionally: cirighele, scovergi Russia – хворост (khvorost) Sweden – klenäter Ukraine – вергуни (verhuny)
Merry Christmas to all you cooks out there and thank you for all your comments and notes. I do appreciate the feedback. I hope you’ll try this show-stopping, delicious holiday cookie. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
There are no words to describe the fabulous flavor of this traditional Polish holiday bread we call Makowiec. The filling is a distinctive combination of ground poppy seeds, orange and lemon peel, and ground toasted almonds. I love this bread! I grew up with it! It’s perfect for afternoon tea or as a light dessert.
My recipe is pretty easy to make but you will need to grind the poppy seeds and I found an easy way to do that. I bought a spice & nut grinder (Cuisinart) and it grinds the poppy seeds and the almonds. Until I discovered the grinder, the only way to grind the seeds was to use an old fashioned meat grinder that you clamp to the counter and crank with your hand. I tried a food processor and a blender but neither one did the job. But it’s really easy with the spice grinder.
The bread is sweet and the filling is to die for! After baking, you can drizzle the loaf with a glaze or another option is to brush it before baking with either melted butter or with an eggwash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. My recipe requires only one rise and if your filling seeps out a little when it’s done, that happens a lot so don’t fret over it. It will still taste great. My how-to video for this awesome bread will be up next week. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
I absolutely love my beet & cabbage borscht. It has a complex flavor but is really easy to make. You basically put all the ingredients in a pot and cook. It’s the best soup I know to restore electrolytes and boost your immune system.
Every time I make this soup, I devour it in no time. I think your body knows when it’s getting something super healthy and yesterday I had two big bowls of it for dinner – nothing else. We Polish people usually add a little dollop of sour cream to our borscht. My dad had his own way of eating it. Instead of adding diced potatoes to the soup, he would make a side of mashed potatoes and put some potatoes in his spoon, then dip it in the soup so every bite had mashed potatoes and delicious borscht. Yummm.
Beets alone are an anti-aging powerhouse. They are said to stabilize blood sugar & cholesterol, support the liver & urinary tract, and help fight heart disease and cancer. The rich variety of other vegetables can protect against prostate, lung and other cancers, heart disease, macular degeneration and memory loss.
Winter’s coming and that’s soup season. Try my beet and cabbage borscht on the next cold night but don’t wear white when you’re making it. Beets turn everything red. Even…. well…. you’ll see the next morning. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones