We’re heading back north now in our road trip and swinging by Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland has a really wonderful and diverse food scene, and draws influence from many different cultures.
For today’s stop, I’m going to focus on the Polish influence on Cleveland’s culinary identity. I’m drawing my inspiration from one of Cleveland’s classic establishments, Sokolowski’s University Inn, and whipping up some classic pierogi.
Pierogi are one of my all-time favourite foods. There’s something so inherently comforting about a smooth, potato-cheesy filling wrapped up in a soft, doughy sleeping bag. Topped with caramelized onions, bacon, and a dollop of sour cream – you’ve got yourself a hug on a plate!
I used the pierogi recipe found – here – but there are plenty out there to choose from! I did substitute grated cheddar for the farmer’s cheese, as it’s what I had on hand and they still tasted great!
A note about pierogi – they are very labour-intensive. From start to finish, I was working on these bad boys for about 3 hours. This covers cooking the potatoes, mashing and mixing them with the sautéed onions & cheese and letting the mixture cool; making the dough; rolling out each individual circle; filling each pierogi; boiling them in batches of about 6; finishing them with butter in the frying pan.
I also cooked up a few slices of bacon that I had chopped into small pieces. While they were cooking, I did throw in about a tablespoon (maybe less) of brown sugar, just to caramelize and cary them a bit. I found the light sweetness really worked well with the pierogi as a whole.
I also made sure I had extra sautéed onions to put on top of my pierogi when they were done.
These turned out great. I’ve tried other recipes where my dough ended up a little tough, but these were nice and soft. I do credit that with recognizing how much time I would need and letting myself have it. I didn’t feel like I was rushing that way and was able to pay attention and make sure I was getting it just right. This is probably best as a Saturday or Sunday afternoon venture. Well worth the time though – these were incredibly tasty! The batch was quite large, so prepare for leftovers. I find pierogi keep very well – they can be re-heated by pan frying them in butter. Also, if you knew you wanted to save some, you could freeze them after boiling.
Thanks for coming along! See you at the next stop.