I first discovered Polish pierogi dumplings at the Polish Food Festival 2003 as part of Viva La Gong.
I returned again in 2004 and 2005. Here is the entry I made in my online journal. Looking back this was one of my favourite food events and my interest in documentary food photography began. The camera I had at the time wasn’t very good so it prompted me to want to upgrade and revisit the next year. The slideshow below was taken October 23rd, 2005.
Today I visited the Polish Food Festival with some fellow food lovers. It was a clear day when we started out, but it soon became overcast and then the rain fell. Sounds of polish folk music filled the Polish Hall in Gwynneville and the smells of Polish food greeted us as we made our way around the stalls. Bigos (like a sauerkraut but with meat), Polish Dumplings (three different fillings – potato, meat and mushroom), White Borscht (a white beetroot soup with garlic polish sausage) and an array of desserts and treats were all sampled and enjoyed. Polish dancers were a treat, girls spun around by their partners, piercing squeals as they become almost airborne. The costumes traditional polish style and you could have been forgiven for thinking you were in Poland for a day. I ate my fill, I sampled the Polish beer and enjoyed the entertainment throughout the day. I tried to take some photos but they do not do the food justice. I’ve added some recipes. Enjoy!
Pierogis are traditional Polish filled dumplings. Fillings include pork and onions, cottage cheese, potatoes, cabbage and mushrooms. The dumplings are cooked in boiling water, drained and sometimes sautéed in butter. They are most often served as a side dish. Pierogi dough may also be filled with fruit, then boiled or deep-fried and served as a dessert.
5 cups flour
1/4 lb. butter
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup water
6 egg yolks
Make a mound out of the flour, then make a well in the center.
Place egg yolks and eggs in the center, cutting in the flour with
a knife and adding water and salt. Knead until firm. Cut in three
parts. Roll dough out thinly, then cut circles with a cup. Place
small amount of filling off center on each circle of dough. Fold
over and seal by moistening edge with water and putting pressure
on edges for a firm seal.
Boil a pot of water. Add salt. Drop pierogi into boiling water.
Cook lightly for 5 minutes uskng a low flame. Remove gently with
strainer spoon and brown in butter in frying pan. Serve with sour
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese (drained)
1/4 tsp. vanilla
i egg yolk
1 tb. maragarine, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tb. sugar
Drain cottage cheese. Combine ingredients and mix until smooth.
Fill circles of dough with desired amount.
Can also use potatoes, meat, sauerkraut, prunes, mushrooms or
combinations of these to fill pierogi.
The tradition of this Polish hunter’s stew goes back centuries, and every ancient Polish manor had a Bigos recipe in its house cookbook. The ingredients were kept in good supply in larders, and the stew was taken on long road journeys and eaten on feast days. While the stew cooked in a huge pot, the hunters drank crystal clear, gold-flecked vodka from Gdansk. It’s one of our favorite recipes for venison, a lean meat which has a tendency to dry out when cooked by other methods. Used in Bigos, it becomes tender, juicy, and flavorful. (Serves ten)
8 tablespoons olive oil
2-1/2 pounds venison (or stewing beef or pork), cut in 2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, crushed
8 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons mild paprika
3 10-1/2 oz. cans of condensed beef broth, plus 3 cans of water
8 ounces smoked ham, cut in large dice
8 ounces smoked sausage, sliced
2 teaspoons marjoram
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Black, white, and red cayenne pepper in equal parts, to taste
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 head white cabbage, chopped
4 apples, cored and chopped
4 carrots, thinly sliced
16 pitted prunes, roughly chopped
6 tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2/3 cup red wine or Madeira
Heat the olive oil in a large oven. Roughly chop the onion, add with the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the venison in four small batches, cooking over high heat to brown. When all the meat is browned, return it to the skillet with the onion and garlic. Sprinkle the flour over the meat, stir in and cook until light brown. Add the paprika and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer everything to a large stock pot, pour on the beef stock gradually and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmering and add the smoked meats, herbs, salt, three peppers, and tomato paste. Stir well, cover and cook over low heat for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more liquid if necessary during cooking. When the meat is almost tender, add cabbage, apples, carrots, prunes, tomatoes, wine, and sugar. Cook a further 20 minutes, adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.