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Pierogy (Pyrogi, Vareniki)

First off, what are pierogi other than delicious?

The simple answer is they are dumplings stuffed with various fillings and then boiled.

The filling for these dumplings can be just about anything from savory to sweet. Most commonly they are filled with mashed potatoes, ground meat, fried cabbage, mushrooms, and onion or sweet fillings such as sweetened farmers' cheese, cherries, or strawberries.

The exact origin of these delicious little morsels is not known. Pierogi are typically associated with Central and Eastern European countries. Some sources say they were brought from the Far East to these European regions.

Wherever they originated, pierogi have been on the culinary scene in Europe for thousands of years.

In Poland, pierogi is considered the national dish and a staple of the Polish diet. What started as peasant food over time became popular with all classes. They are a common everyday food, but there are special pierogi designated for different holidays, each having a special filling and unique shape.

In Ukraine, pierogi are often called vareniki and are a staple of Ukrainian cuisine.

In both cultures, pierogi are typically tossed in fried bacon and onions. Ukrainians will usually serve them with a dollop of sour cream. As with most Eastern European recipes, pierogi recipes will vary from family to family. So you can experiment and find your favorite way to make them!

Pierogi are not too difficult to make, though they are time-consuming, they are definitely worth the effort! If making them from scratch is not for you, they can be found in the frozen section of most Eastern European grocery stores.

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