Dare to Dream, Make a Meal: Pierogi!

It was Jacques Houdek who once said, ‘Dare to dream, make a meal’ – ok yes, that wasn’t quite the lyric, but with this year’s slogan ‘Dare to Dream’ why not make a few adaptations! With this year’s contest quickly approaching, it’s time to start planning your Eurovision parties. With the help of Eurovision Union, you can plan out the ultimate Eurovision party for you and your friends!

Over the last month, we’ve gathered some of the tastiest and most intriguing dishes from across the participating nations and we have put our aprons on to test out these recipes! We selected a diverse range of food, as well as both savoury and sweet dishes, so if you are hosting a Eurovision party this year, you can take inspiration from our cooking adventures across Europe and recreate these dishes for you and your friends!

Pierogi (Poland)

Let’s talk food! Starting with entrees and finger food, we are first travelling to Poland for Pierogi! If you are unfamiliar with Pierogi (as I previously was), they are filled dumplings that originate from Central and Eastern Europe. They can be both sweet or savoury with varied fillings dependent on the regions and their traditions.

Once considered a peasant food, Pierogi eventually gained popularity among all social classes and it’s easy to see why, they’re just so delicious! Although popular across a number of nations, Pierogi are considered to be a national dish of Poland, so onto the Eurovision menu they go!

We decided to test out a savoury version of the Pierogi, specifically one stuffed with boiled and mashed potato mixed with fried onions and garlic. Although on paper the dish was seemingly plain, both the flavour and texture of the dumplings was addictive – you certainly couldn’t stop at one! They make for great finger foods, which is ideal for a Eurovision party, and since they are quite versatile, it’s easy to swap out ingredients dependent on your tastes. The other big positive about Pierogi is that they can be made in advanced, boiled and then frozen so that they can be taken out of the freezer when needed, defrosted and simply fried.

There were a few different recipes we had selected, and we bounced between these recipes to formulate our own Pierogi. We kept the filling fairly simple, using the mashed potato with sautéed onions and garlic mixed in as well as some grated cheese (although traditionally a Quark or cottage cheese is used).

Here is one of the recipes we used (credit – Jenny Can Cook):

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Makes: 24 – 30

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (2 large russets)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 3 ounces reduced fat cream cheese (1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste

Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup water

Instructions:

Filling:

  1. Place peeled, quartered potatoes in a pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.
  2. Meantime, brown onions & garlic in oil on med-low for 10 min.
  3. Drain and mash the potatoes, adding onion & garlic, cream cheese, salt & pepper. Set aside to cool. Shape into 1-tablespoon size mounds if desired.

Dough:

  1. Combine flour & salt in a bowl. Make a well and add sour cream, egg & water, combining with a spoon.
  2. Place on a well-floured board and knead for 50 turns (using a scraper if needed) until smooth. Cover with a towel or inverted bowl & let rest at least 10 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into thirds. Keeping extra dough covered, roll each section 1/8” thick, adding flour as needed. Cut 3-inch circles, saving leftover scraps of dough.
  4. Fill each circle with about one tablespoon of potatoes, fold into a half circle, and pinch edges tightly. Place apart on a towel sprinkled with flour.
  5. Place pierogis in boiling salted water, stirring at first to keep them separated, and cook about 3 minutes until they rise to the top, then another 30 seconds to a minute. Remove to an oiled baking sheet.

Note: To freeze, boil pierogi first and place in a lightly oiled freezer bag, spreading them out so they don’t touch. To serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, lightly brown pierogi in a pan on the stove in a little oil or butter.

In this recipe, it finishes the Pierogi at the boiling stage ready for them to be frozen, however instead we boiled the Pierogi and then lightly browned the dumplings in a pan. Oil or butter can be used in the pan, depending on preference.

Here’s what we started with:

And here is our finished product!

To serve, we did a mixture of sour cream and spring onions cut into small pieces. This was a nice accompaniment for the Pierogi, however you may choose to use fried bacon bits or more fried onions.

Beer List

Our resident beer expert has done research (and a whole lot of tasting) to come up with some of the must-try beers of the nation. For each nation there are three suggestions:

  • The National Treasure – this is a beer that is recognisable and accessible to buy
  • The Party Starter – this is a nicer alternative, but still fairly accessible to buy
  • The Show Stopper – this is for the beer enthusiasts or those with a sense of adventure, but may not be as easy to purchase outside of that nation

Poland

The National Treasure – Zywiec Porter (Baltic Porter – 9.5%)

The Party Starter – PINTA Atak Chmielu (American IPA – 6.1%)

The Show Stopper – PINTA Imperator Bałtyckin (Baltic Porter – 9.1%)

Listen to our Dare to Dream, Make a Meal playlist below:

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