Mastering the Art of Polish Pierogi
I invested much of my culinary efforts in 2022 to dumplings. I set myself a culinary challenge each year, and in 2022 I determined to master pleating, stuffing, pan-frying, and steaming one of my favorite food groups: the dumpling. The results have been marvelous, and I now relish rolling up my sleeves, concocting the perfect dumpling wrapper, and tinkering with the filling.
My quest for dumpling mastery was much enhanced in September when Zuza Zak’s much-anticipated Pierogi: Over 50 Recipes to Create Perfect Polish Dumplings was published. Having spent much of the first half of 2022 focused on Asian dumplings, I could now turn my attention to the veritable panoply of marvelous dumplings from Eastern Europe. And who better to teach me than Zuza Zak, the eminent London-based Polish writer, and author of two previous books, Polska and Amber & Rye (which I review for The New Books Network — catch my interview with Zuza here).
Pierogi does not disappoint! With her signature reassuring and encouraging tone, Zak takes us through the traditional art of Eastern Europe’s dumplings, before loosening up with more modern interpretations, including vegan and gluten-free options that make these recipes delightfully inclusive.
Pierogi with Every Imaginable Stuffing
From the chilly Baltic to the balmy Black Sea, Zak introduces us to sweet and savory dumplings stuffed with all kinds of surprises, from meat to cheese, vegetables to grains, and many sweet things in between.
Zak calls herself a “storyteller cook” and she has employed all her narrative talents in Pierogi. Though she was able to travel throughout the Baltic States to research Amber & Rye, the pandemic forced Zak to comb the internet and old cookbooks. She also mined the memories of her own community, an effort that yielded a rich trove of family recipes such as an egg-filled Easter dumpling.
If you are craving some of the world’s most authentic comfort food, get a copy of Pierogi, roll up your sleeves and get to work. You’ll be so glad you did!
Other Books By Zuza Zak
Other Books Like Pierogi
Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine, by Olia Hercules
Tava: Eastern European Baking and Desserts from Romania and Beyond, by Irina Georgescu
Baltic: New & Old Recipes: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, by Simon Bajada