Appetizers Dinner How Do I ?

Czapski’s Pierogies

Pierogies are small dough dumplings filled with good stuff.  Just as there are many ways to spell Pierogi there are many ways to fill a Pierogi. Potatoes & Cheese and Sauerkraut are pretty traditional, but that is just the start.  Get creative with fruit, meats and other favorite ingredients. 

There is a legend from the 13th century that Pierogi was introduced by a Saint to feed dumplings to the poor.  I never knew this….but now it makes sense.  An informal definition of Saint is “a very virtuous, kind or patient person”.  That would be my Dad, and these are his Pierogies full of love and patience. 

Anyone can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a Dad is one of my favorite quotes.  I wish I had a better word to describe my Dad.  He taught me so much including; treat everyone the way you want to be treated; the power of prayer and you can do whatever you set your mind out to do.  He also taught me his two secret cooking ingredients-patience & love and how to make the best Pierogies ever!  

It started one day when he got off a plane headed to my house with a suitcase full of home-made frozen Pierogies for a Football party we were having.  Making Piergoies is a day long adventure, something else I never knew, can you imagine how long it took to make a suit case full?  Everyone loved them!  

I was so eager to learn, he often told me you need patience, they take a lot of time we will do it someday.  Patience is not my strong point but we finally set a date for a Pierogi lesson with my Dad, my husband-Mike and I.  Holy flour!  We had flour every where, we laughed, I heard stories how his mom taught him to make them and I only was impatient once okay maybe twice but my Dad and husband stayed patient and kept us going…it was a day I will cherish forever.  

This was several year’s ago so last week we set a date with friends Mark & Pam to make them again, could we do it without my Dad being in the kitchen with us?  Okay so I set the date and tricked my husband into doing it again 🙂  Another day long process maybe because instead of making 36 or so I thought it would be a good idea to make a 140 or so.  We only had to call my Dad a few times for some more great advice and proudly face-timed him the amazing results.  We laughed and most of the time I kept my patience 😉  Special thanks to our friends because again it was flour everywhere!

I highly recommend trying these.  Schedule a day for laughter and make sure who ever you invite to do it with you brings a little patience….You will end up with a great meal and maybe even some for the freezer and a lifetime memory.

Today is my Dad’s birthday, in his honor I ask you to reach out to your Dad or a family member or friend you haven’t talked with in a while….share your favorite food memory and a smile….

Happy Cooking!


Czapski’s Pierogies Recipe

Pick one filling-the dough makes enough for one batch of filling…

Sauerkraut Filling; makes enough for 36 with extra (use extra for Reuben Sandwhiches)…

2 lbs Silver Floss Sauerkraut

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 potato, peeled and grated

4 Tbsp butter 

1 packet onion soup mix

1 tsp brown sugar

2 cups water

  1. Sauté onion in butter till translucent about 8 min.  
  2. Mix in sauerkraut and sauté for 3 minutes.  
  3. Mix in brown sugar and sauté 3 more minutes.  
  4. Add water 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until most of the water is absorbed into the sauerkraut.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes.  
  5. Add potato and onion soup.  Slow simmer, stirring often for 2 hours.
  6. Cool completely. 

Potato Cheese Filling; makes enough for 36 with little extra (use extra fried for breakfast)…

4 potatoes, peeled and large diced

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese blends works good too)

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp garlic salt

  1. Place potatoes in stock pot, cover with cold water about 1-2 inches over potatoes.  
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat for about 35 minutes until fork tender.  Drain well.  
  3. Add cheese, garlic salt, butter and cayenne pepper.
  4. Mash with potato masher.  
  5. Cool completely.

Dough; makes enough for 36

5 eggs

2 tsp garlic salt

1 1/3 cup water

2 Tbsp olive oil

6 cups flour plus extra for dusting

(if you plan on freezing you will need a stick of butter)

Egg wash

1 egg

1/4 cup water

1.  Whisk together.

Boiling Pierogies


4 Tbsp vegetable oil 

2 tsp salt

Serving options

Saute in butter until lightly browned

Sour cream

Bacon, crispy & diced

Onions, sauteed

Garish with fresh herbs like parsley

Making Pierogies

  1. Prepare dough while filling is cooling.  
  2. Whisk eggs, garlic salt, water and olive oil.  
  3. Add flour in batches mixing well.  Add more flour if tacky.  Towards end of mixing may have to mix with hands.
  4. Generously dust large cutting board and place dough on it.  Knead (folding dough over and pressing) for about 3 minutes or so.
  5. Cut the dough in quarters.  A pastry cutter or a butter knife works well.  
  6. Take a dough portion and roll out with floured rolling pin.  After few rolls, flip dough over and roll to about a 1/4 inch.  
  7. Dip 4” cutter in flour.  If you don’t have a 4” round cookie cutter a large 4”can with lid removed works well or you can buy a pierogi press.  
  8. Push down on rolled dough and twist, continue doing this close to each cut to get about 8-10 circles out of the dough.  Remove circles, place excess dough in other batches of unused dough.  Fill dough circles with filling before moving onto rolling out the next dough quarter.  
  9. Place dough circle in hand and add about 1 Tbsp of filling. 
  10. Baste or use your finger to place egg wash all the way around the outside edge of the dough circle, this helps seal in the filling.  
  11. Fold over and pinch with your fingers to seal-pinch towards top of pierogi.  You can “crimp” with a fork also for a little creative look. 
  12. Fill stock pot with water and bring to boil, add 2 Tbsp oil and 1 tsp salt (this is good for 3 batches, after that change water and start fresh)…
  13. Make sure pierogi is sealed and drop in batches of 6-7 in water.  After 2 min if any sticking to bottom lift up with spatula.  They should float when done, about 4-6 more minutes.   
  14. Remove with slotted spoon and put on a sheet pan. Either cook right away for your meal or freeze.  
  15. To freeze, baste with melted butter (this helps avoid freezer burn) and flash freeze (a quick chill takes about an hour) on baking sheet in the freezer.  Remove and add to freezer bags and back in the freezer.  
  16. When ready to enjoy you can boil them frozen in water until they float and then sauté or defrost in the fridge for a few hours and then sauté.  

My Dad is not much for any special tools in the kitchen; a good cutting board and a good knife are his two favorites.  This cutting board linked below you can find on my kitchen counter all day long when he visits.  It has helped produce some amazing meals!  Just remember to put a damp kitchen towel or a couple of damp paper towels under it so it doesn’t slide on you when chopping