Pierogi are a kind of dumpling also known as piragi, perogi, perogy, piroghi, pirogi, piroshki, pirozhki, pyrohy, or varenyky. Most English-speakers treat these forms as singular and form the plural by adding '-s', but a few consider them plural and form the singular by removal of the '-i' or -'y'.
Pierogi are of virtually untraceable Central or Eastern European origin; claims have been staked for the Poles, the Russians, the Latvians, the Lithuanians, the Ukrainians, the Rusyns, the Slovaks, and the Czechs.
Pierogi are square- or crescent-shaped dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed with sauerkraut, cheese, mashed potatoes, cabbage, onion, meat, hard-boiled eggs (the last is rather Mennonite-specific), or any combination thereof, or with a fruit filling. They are typically fried or boiled until they float and then covered with butter or oil; other ways include the Latvian method of glazing with egg whites, baking, and serving with soup; the Mennonite tradition of baking and serving with borscht; and the Polish way of boiling, then frying in butter, and then topping with bread crumbs. They are typically served with plenty of sour cream, and the savoury ones topped with fried bacon or onions. Most popular Polish kind are savoury "pierogi ruskie", stuffed with cheese, mashed potatoes and onion. Meat-filled, boiled dumplings called pelmeni (пельмени), originating in Siberia, are very popular throughout Russia and in other parts of the former Soviet Union.
The word "pierogi" in the United States commonly is taken to mean Polish pierogi; see description above. The word pirog (or its equivalent in the various Slavic languages) means "pie", which can take the form of a stuffed dumpling, pastry, or two-crusted pie. Varenyky or vareniki are boiled pierogi (from varyty, to boil) and are particularly Ukrainian. In Russian, "piroghi" (пироги) is the plural form of the generic "pirog", which usually refers to a large two-crusted pie and not a dumpling (pelmeni or vareniki) or filled bun (pirozhki).
In Russian cuisine, "pirozhki" (пирожки) are small buns made of either yeast dough or short pastry, encasing one of many different fillings, and either baked or fried. The work "pirozhki" is the plural of the singular "pirozhok" (пирожок) which is in turn the diminutive of the word "pirog" (пирог) The stress in "pirozhki" is properly placed as follows: pi-rozh-KI.
Pierogi are popular throughout Russia, Central Europe, and Eastern Europe, including Greece, and in areas of North America where immigrants brought their cuisine. Pierogi at first were a family food among immigrants, but in the post-World War II era, freshly cooked pierogi became a staple of fundraisers by ethnic churches. By the 1960s pierogies were a common supermarket item in the frozen food aisles of the United States and Canada.
- Latvian cuisine
- Lithuanian cuisine
- Polish cuisine
- Russian cuisine
- Ukrainian cuisine