Welcome to the Coal Region of Pennsylvania. As I might have mentioned a time or two – we LOVE pierogi! We’ll stand in long lines at church picnics, block parties, and concession stands for them. We even have festivals in honor of them. Although nothing beats a good homemade pierogi loving crafted by our favorite “church ladies” or grandmothers, they really are a bit of work to whip up a batch of homemade ones.
Okay, they are a LOT of work and as such are often left for special holiday dinners or turned into family events where everyone gets down and dirty (down and flour-y?) helping create these heavenly filled dumplings.
Hence, the reason we take shortcuts in duplicating the traditional flavors of pierogi without quite as much fuss, like this Easy Pierogi Casserole or Polish Noodles (aka Lazy Man’s Pierogi) which is the version of “Lazy Pierogi” most Americans think of.
But in Poland, leniwe pierogi (“lazy pierogi) is a mix of flour, egg, and cheese made into a dough which turns into a delicious dumpling when boiled. Poland’s leniwe pierogi is the flavors of cheese filled pierogi rolled into one avoiding the fuss associated with traditional pierogi: making, rolling out and cutting dough, cooking fillings, stuffing and pinching the dough pockets together and boiling.
Leniwe pierogi is simply mixing a few ingredients together into a soft dough, lightly roll out and boil for delicious dumplings your family will love.
A typical “peasant food”, Polish leniwe pierogi are made from everyday, inexpensive ingredients; flour, egg, cheese (usually farmer’s cheese) and salt. They are traditionally topped with buttered bread crumbs, but I have also been known to smother them with onions sauteed in butter, just like traditional cheese pierogi is often served. You can take the girl out of the Coal Region (for a little while), but you can’t take the Coal region out of the girl, I suppose.
So skip the Americanized version of “lazy pierogi” and give this authentic Polish dish a try!
About Farmer’s Cheese
In the US, farmer’s cheese, similar to a pressed cottage cheese, is available in many supermarkets. You can find it in the dairy section, or often, with the “specialty cheese”. Sometimes, a cheese in the slice-to-order deli is labeled as “farmer’s cheese”, but it is not the cheese used in this recipe. You can make your own farmer’s cheese at home using simple ingredients. You can also substitute a dry cottage cheese (drain in cheesecloth if necessary) for the farmer’s cheese, but use the farmer’s cheese if you can get (or make) it.
Polish Leniwe Pierogi (“Lazy Pierogi”)Course: Entree, SidesCuisine: Eastern European, Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy
All the flavors of traditional cheese-filled pierogi without the muss and fuss!
1 pound farmer’s cheese
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
- Bread Crumb Topping
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons dry bread crumbs
- Sauteed Onion Topping
1 large sweet onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Fill a large pot with 2 quarts water, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a 1/2 teaspoon oil splash of oil and begin to bring it to boil.
- Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, melt butter until is foamy, add bread crumbs, toss to coat and cook a few minutes until the butter is fragrant, but not burned. Set aside for topping pierogi.
- Crumble farmer’s cheese into a mixing bowl, add eggs and salt. Use an electric hand mixer to break up the cheese and mix with eggs until broken up (some lumps of cheese will remain).
- Add 1 cup of flour and mix fold in using your hands. As it comes together, dump the mixture out onto a work board or counter top and continue to fold in the loose flour/bits until a soft dough forms. Final dough should be soft but hold its shape. Slowly work in more flour as needed.
- Divide dough into 2 parts and roll each piece into a rope the shape of a sausage (kielbasa) as if making a rope of dough for a pretzel. Keep board lightly floured as dough should be soft and may stick. Flatten roll about halfway. Using a sharp knife, cut slices of the dough about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide.
- When water starts boiling, turn the heat down to a slow boil and add about half of your batch of dumplings, one at a time, stirring gently to prevent from sticking to the bottom. When dumplings start to float, boil on low for about 2 minutes more. Repeat with remaining dumplings.
- As removed from water with a slotted spoon, place in a colander to drain then place on a well-buttered plate. Dumplings will stick together if they overlap.
- Served immediately, garnished with buttery bread crumbs or sauteed onions.
- Bread Crumb Topping
- Melt butter in small fry pan. Add breadcrumbs and toast, stirring frequently.
- Sauteed Onion Topping
- Melt butter in medium fry pan. Add onions, season to taste with salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions are golden brown and tender.
- OPTIONAL GARNISHES: Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and drizzled with a little bacon fat, top with butter and sauteed onions and/or sour cream.