The first thing that Sam and I did when we arrived in Warsaw was eat pierogi at a local pub. This is the one Polish dish we had been fantasizing about ever since we decided to travel to Poland, and it was a nice little introduction to Polish cuisine.
Coming from Canada, we’re used to buying pierogi at the supermarket (that was my go to dish during the winter months when I was back in university!), however, I have to say they pale in comparison to what you’ll find here in Poland.
For starters, there is so much variety! I’m used to the cheese-filled pierogi, but the menus in Warsaw offered a myriad of possibilities including beef and onions, potato and cheese, mushrooms, sauerkraut, and even sweet pierogi stuffed with blueberries and strawberries for dessert.
The savoury ones were served with chunks of fried bacon and sour cream, and the sweet ones, well, they too were served with sour cream. Some were boiled, while others were boiled and then pan-fried. And now let me tell you about the sizes; the first time that I sat down at a restaurant and only received 5 pierogi on my plate I thought, “Hmm, well this isn’t going to be enough food,” but I honestly struggled to finish everything on my plate. That’s how plump and filling they are!
With such a big love for pierogi, you can imagine how excited I was to take a cooking class where I would learn the art of making these tasty dumplings. On the morning of our class, we met Michal from Polish Your Cooking, a young chef who has studied the culinary arts around the world and who also is an avid traveller! Not only was he a great teacher while Sam and I clumsily maneuvered our way around the kitchen, but it was also really fun being able to swap travel stories and compare our travel experiences in places like Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang.
Our first order of business was to eat, because no chef should enter the kitchen hungry. Michal and his team had laid out a spread of breads, meats, cheeses, vegetables, and pickled herring, so we happily ate a second breakfast. (I’m a bit of a Hobbit that way.)
Once we’d had our fill, it was time to start cooking, so we made our way over to the kitchen. We first worked on the dough for the dumplings, and once that was ready we set that aside and got to work on the fillings.
We had 3 different fillings during our lesson: two savoury ones, and a sweet one. For the savoury fillings, we prepared one batch with ground beef and onions, and a second batch with cheese and potatoes. We also learned how to carefully close the pierogi so that the filling wouldn’t leak once they are boiled.
In many ways making pierogi reminded me of all the long Saturdays I’ve spent in the kitchen folding empanadas whenever I’m home, and apparently that’s how it’s also done in Poland. Michal was telling us that it’s a bit of a family tradition to spend your weekend making the dough and then folding 200 pierogi to last you a while. It’s funny how some family traditions are the same around the globe.
After folding the savoury pierogi, it was time to get started on dessert. For this we chopped up strawberries, though in theory you could use just about any fruit that’s in season. Once we had placed the fruit in the middle of the dumplings, we sprinkled them with a pinch of brown sugar and vanilla infused white sugar. We also added a bit of cinnamon once they were cooked, and they were delicious!
And then it was time for the best part – EATING! The funny thing is that even though it took us almost 3 hours to prepare all the food, we devoured it in a matter of minutes. I guess all that hard work helped build our appetite!
Cooking Class Details
We took this cooking class with Michal who runs Polish Your Cooking. The class lasts around 3.5 – 4 hours and it costs 48 Euros per person or 199 Polish Zloty. This includes: a welcome buffet with starters, the cooking lesson, a delicious lunch where we sampled our own creations, a spread of traditional desserts, our own aprons and cooking spoons to take back home, and a certificate that stated we completed the “Pierogi Grandma Style Course” which means we can cook at “pretty much the world-championship level”. I’m glad he was so confident in our abilities!
Have you ever tried making pierogi from scratch?
Oh my, those pierogi look *so* delish! Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂
They were so good! If only they weren’t so time-consuming to make…maybe it comes with practice. 😉
OMG, my saliva is dripping when I see your pictures. It looks like a fun activity to do in Poland. I hope I can join some of their cooking class when I have the chance to visit Poland.
Haha, yeah, I find that cooking classes are a really fun activity to try around the world. Plus I also enjoy learning some of the history behind the recipes.
Yum! I love pierogi and, being Polish, I definitely think I should learn how to make them so I can cook them for people – will keep this place in mind for a future visit to Warsaw. I love their name too!
I also thought the name was very witty! It caught my attention right away.
These look so delicious! I’ve had the chinese version and japanese version of dumplings, but have yet to try the polish version. The hungarian woman I work with makes something similar with apricots in them that are super delicious!
Definitely bookmarking this for my trip to Poland next year!
Ah, the gyoza! I like those pan-fried dumplings as well. That reminds me, when I lived in South Korea I used to buy kimchi mandu (spicy fermented cabbage dumplings) all the time. Sounds a little odd, but it was so good!
Who doesn’t love pierogi right?! It’s always the first thing I eat whenever I’m in Poland, once I landed on a pierogi festival in Krakow, heaven or what!?
This cooking class looks awesome! I tried making pierogi once at home but was a bit of a mess, will definitely check this class out next time I’m in Warsaw!
Ooo, a pierogi festival sounds right up my alley! I imagine there would be lots of unusual fillings to sample there.
That looks like a fun activity! My mouth is watering, those pierogis look delicious. Like you, pierogis were one of my go to meals in university but I bet they taste nothing like the real thing. I’ve made them myself only once. A few months after I moved to Spain I attempted to make them from a recipe online. The end results weren’t bad, but now I just wait until I visit Toronto again to satisfy my craving.
Haha, yup, the quintessential student meal! They are just so easy to cook!!
Yum! Love the idea of dessert pierogi too. I have been travelling around Canada and Alaska this summer and have been eating A LOT of pierogi but am yet to try in Eastern Europe – one day 🙂
Wow, I didn’t realize they were that popular all over Canada. Sounds like a foodie trip. 😉
The pierogi look amazing and I love both the Polish and Russian ones. In fact, it doesn’t matter where they come from, I’m ready to devour them on the spot LOL!
I’ve been to Poland but surprisingly, I’ve never ever been to Warsaw but I’ll be taking this class when I eventually do so.
I haven’t tried the Russian ones, but if they’re anything like the Polish ones I’m sure I’ll love them. 😉
Yea, polish pierogi are the best! You should also try other polish dishes and hope you’ll like it 🙂
Yes! We did get to try a few different Polish dishes including bigos (the meat and cabbage stew) and also the highlander potato pancakes. So good! 🙂
I remember trying pierogis in Pittsburg but it’d be so awesome to have some and make them in Poland. Very cool, when I get to Poland I’ll have to do this!
It was such a fun cooking class – highly recommended if you get the chance!
What an experience! I’m the life long fan of pierogi. Any filing will do 😉
I did share your link with Polish/American group on fb.
They look delicious! We have the same dish in Slovakia and we call it “pirohy”. I have recently learnt to prepare this dish when I visited my boyfriend’s grandmother. It’s great that you experienced such an authentic part of food culture 🙂
Looks good. Can you send me the recipe? Thanks
Polish pierogi are very similar to Ukrainian vareniki, so you should taste it and compare. No doubt you’ll like it.
I love pierogi so much! I used to eat them like all the time when I was studying in Poland. For me ruskie are the best. Actually, all the people from my language course liked them. By the way, if anyone is considering a good Polish course, here it is – Prolog: http://polishcourses.com/. Poland is a good place to live. And has a great cuisine, obviously 😉 I think I’ll visit my friends in Poland and eat pierogi with them.
Thanks for the info! Going to try this experience out on Saturday, you convinced me that it’s well worth the money.
Lucy (fellow pierogi-evangelist)
I am from India and did my masters in Poland. During that time I was so addicted to pierogi it was my daily pie just with a different shape. I was in Warsaw and used to get these on the streets every day. I travelled all around Poland enjoyed different tastes, loved the country! During my stay in Poland, I built a website msinpoland.com to help students understand Poland better.
I just have to say I love your videos and posts. You give just the right amount of information and opinion. I’ve found some wonderful places for my upcoming European trip. Thank you ever so much for making designing our itinerary so much easier. Plus you two are adorable.
Pierogi Ruskie are my faves!