One of the main things I now do when I travel to a new country, is to take part in a cooking class. Now I have to admit, I didn’t have much experience or knowledge when it comes to Poland, so I was happy to try something new, and in Warsaw, it was making pierogis!
We booked through airbnb, and chose to go for a local lady who does her classes out of a local restaurant. The thing that sold us the most, was the title of her experience “Make dumplings, not war!” – we found that super funny, so we booked through with her. The link to her class is here.
As pierogi is a number one local Polish dish, it is great to learn how to make them. This class gives you an introduction to the origins of pierogi, how to make the dough, and various techniques of how to make pierogis. You have a choice of meat or vegetarian fillings.
Pierogi = filled dumpling, made by wrapping unleavened dough around a savoury or sweet filling and cooking in boiling water, or pan-frying.
We arrived at the local restaurant, and were greeted by Maria. She was so full of life, and you can tell how passionate about food, life, and her family. We started by learning about the history behind pierogis, and her family traditions. We learnt to make Polish dumplings using her Grandma’s secret recipe from her handwritten cookbook she started in 1930s.This was a small class, there was just four of us, with our own equipment.
Next we made the fillings for the pierogis. The other group had the meat filling, and we had the vegetarian option. There was a mix of sweet potato, courgette, breadcrumbs, carrots, peas, and goats cheese added. We mixed it differently, one hand mixed, and the other mixed with a machine, to give us texture and variety. We then moved on to rolling and kneading the pastry. Rolling it out and cutting the perfect shapes out.
So we found out from the class that there are several different ways to put a pierogi together. Some techniques I absolutely nailed, others I was absolutely terrible at! With a few tries, Maria showed us which techniques were her favourites, and also let us try all of our favourites.
We sat down to eat our pierogis, there were so many! We had the first round of fried and boiled, and then Maria kept bringing more bowls out! They honestly tasted amazing, personally I preferred the fried compared to the boiled, but for me I think that’s down to texture!
I can’t even describe the taste, because the taste was so good. The combination of the flavours, was such a good choice. I wouldn’t usually pair goats cheese with the vegetables, but it really did work.
As there was so many, Maria provided us with a pot to take home, which made it all the way home to the UK! I ended up having it for dinner the next day.