Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Frugal Ima Super-Frugal Recipe: Pierogies

FIFrugal Recipe copyOkay, cats and kittens, this is going to be a short one because this writing-for-pleasure thing?  I am kind of obsessed with it.  And it is kind of taking over my life.  You know, in an exhilarating way.  Raise your hand if you couldn't use some exhilaration.

  When my life is stuffed with self-inflicted chaos, I can always use a quick, cheap, comfort-foody recipe to throw on the stove.  What I am about to share with you is all those things and more.

As a preface, a few words about my grandmother.  Gram is a first generation American whose parents moved from Poland right after the turn of the (last) century.  She grew up in the Great Depression with ten siblings (9 sisters and a brother; can you say D-R-A-M-A?)

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(Gram and her three closest-in-age siblings.  She is the only one scowling.  Probably because of that story she told me about how they all had to share one pair of rollerskates.  Awesome.)

(Here is a picture of me and Gram and Nesi, because we all look exactly alike. See?)

Gram taught me the meaning of  "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."  She made fabric scraps into doll clothes and place mats, and every bruising apple found its way into a pie.  She also taught me how to cook from scratch.

So, as you may have gathered, Gram is super-frugal, and also super-Polish.  Add "comfort food" to that equation, and you get (duh) "PIEROGIES."  For those of you who don't know, pierogies are a classic Polish dish made up of a big bunch of starch (pasta-like dough) giving a big, fat bear hug to even more starch (mashed potatoes)  mixed with fat (butter) and more fat (cheese.) Serve it up with carmelized onions and saurkraut with a dollop of sour cream and you get nom, nom, nom, and OhmyGod YES PLEASE!!!

So of course I asked my super-frugal, super-Polish grandmother for her pierogi recipe, then waited with baited breath.  I was envisioning us rolling dough and crimping half-shells together, and giggling as we schvitzed over the mashed potatoes.  It was a very sweet daydream.

 Then she screamed (lovingly?) at me.  "Honey!  Why would you make your own pierogies?!??! You can get them so cheap frozen!!!!" (Honest to God, I will never forget that conversation.)

So, here it is - My grandmother's recipe for pierogies.  Maybe not so authentic, but at just over two dollars for the whole batch (!!!!) you won't argue, right?

Grab this box of pierogies from the frozen section.  I paid $1.12, no joke.

Throw them in boiling water till they float.

Drown Sautee a couple of medium onions in butter over medium heat until they are translucent, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Mix in a can of sauerkraut ($.64) at the end.

Pile the onions and kraut on top of your drained pierogies.  Then serve it with a dollop of sour cream on top.  If you're feeling guilty, fat free is just as good.
No photo because I was so obsessed with eating these things I totally forgot.

You probably should figure out something containing protein to eat alongside these things. Some ice cream, maybe?


  1. That is so hilarious because I was reading your post, thinking about how it was going to end with this sweet story of inter-generational bonding over the preparation of an old family recipe. And all the while I was feeling jealous and sad thinking about how my own grandmother, whose parents emigrated from Italy, had a classic family recipe for pasta sauce that consisted of "add water to a jar of Ragu." So I was glad to see I'm not the only one who had one of those practical grandmas.

    Also I love pierogies (the store-bought ones, of course) except once I bought the plum ones and everybody thought those were kind of gross.

  2. I'm jealous. Canadian store-bought perogies taste like paste.


  3. Kate - Try boiling them and then sauteeing the actual pierogies with salt and spices. That should help.

    @Shannon - You make me laugh every.single.time. Are you sure we're not related?

    Thanks for your comments, ladies.

  4. Yeah, it's unfortunately a dough thing. Really funny texture. Costco had some decent ones for a while, but it was erratic and then they stopped carrying them entirely.

    Now I just make them them from scratch. Twice a year, I sit down and bust my thumbs.

  5. I'm a little embarrassed to tell you that I've never eaten pierogies OR sauerkraut. But this post made them sound yummy! Do your kids eat the sauerkraut? :)

  6. Wow, in Chicago you've never had pierogies or kraut? My kids don't eat either. This is one of those dinners where they threaten to throw themselves out the window if I try to force them to eat it. You know what I say? "More for me."

  7. @Kate - Would you be interested in doing a guest-post? I'm fascinated in how you do it!!!

  8. Sure. I'll have Raph take photos next time I go through a mini-perogie-making marathon!


Thanks for your comments! They make my day.

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