Cheese and potato pierogi

Cheese and potato pierogi

Pierogi ruskie

Borsch, Vodka and Tears
Bonnie Savage

This is the number one pierogi ordered by Polish people when they come to Borsch. It seems to be the national favourite. It’s odd that the favourite has the name ‘Russian pierogi’, as the relationship between the two countries has certainly had its ups and downs and the people of both countries have extremely long memories.

It’s an interesting sociological comparison with America’s renaming of ‘freedom fries’ on the basis of a political slight when the French refused to endorse the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Russians actually did invade Poland, slaughtered officers and withheld support for the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 against the Nazis, with whom they were at war. Then, during the Stalinist era, during the eleven years after World War II, many thousands of perceived enemies of communism were executed summarily by the occupying superpower. Even so, ‘Russian pierogi’ is the name for this dish and it has stuck. Perhaps it reflects the difference between a country with the largest number of people on anti-depressants in the world and a country where the main psychotherapeutic tools are stoicism and vodka.


Quantity Ingredient
Polish dumplings

Cheese and potato filling

Quantity Ingredient
250 grams starchy potatoes, such as desiree, sebago or russet, washed
200 grams quark cheese
or 200 grams ricotta cheese
80 grams butter
1 onion, finely chopped, plus 1 extra, sliced, to garnish
mint, leaves finely chopped, (optional)


  1. Put the potatoes, whole and unpeeled, into a saucepan with enough water to cover generously, add some salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes for very small potatoes, up to 45 minutes for very large, or until they are cooked through (they are done when you can stab them with a paring knife and they fall straight off again).
  2. Drain and peel the skins while they’re still hot, you can let them cool a little and you can use a tea towel to protect your hands, but potatoes don’t mash as well when cool, and they don’t taste as good and are not as good for you when you peel them before boiling. Mash the potatoes using a mouli, ricer or potato masher. Alternatively, you can place it in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the quark cheese and mix thoroughly.
  3. Heat 20 g of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it is lightly browned. Remove from the heat and add to the potato and cheese mixture. Agnieszka’s Babcia (Granny) uses fresh mint in her mixture, if you want to give it a try, add it at the end. Season with salt and a little black pepper, to taste. Use the filling to make the pierogi and cook it following the instructions in the Pierogi dough recipe.
  4. The traditional garnish for this type of pierogi is fried onion strips. Cook the onion slices in the remaining butter in a frying pan over medium heat until they turn golden brown. If you can’t be bothered or it’s all too hard, I’ve seen this type of garnish (which is also used in German cookery for spätzle) substituted with the crispy fried shallots that you find in Southeast Asian grocery stores. It’s not the same, but it’s tasty and easy.
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