When I was growing up, my father regularly drove our family into Greenpoint, then as now a Brooklyn neighborhood with a large Polish population. We came to buy freshly made pierogi. Boiled until they resembled sleek porpoises, slicked with butter, and then plunged into a drift of sour cream, these pierogi were one of my favorite weekend treats.
I live far from Greenpoint now. Sometimes I make my own pierogi, but more often, I buy a box of Mrs. T’s frozen pierogi from the supermarket to save time. Like most dumpling-type foods, pierogi freeze quite well; a brief stint in boiling water restores them to their full starchy glory.
Mrs. T’s pierogi come in a wide variety of flavors, though only a few are available at the supermarket where I get them. Of the ones I’ve tried, I prefer the Classic Cheddar. The filling is plush and surprisingly potato-y for a product made with potato flakes, but it’s not bland—it’s well seasoned, with a little tang from the cheese and a savory back note from onions.
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How to Level Up Your Frozen Pierogi
Mrs. T’s has all sorts of wild suggestions for ways to prepare your pierogi (Pierogi enchiladas! Teriyaki pierogi! Pierogi shakshuka!). But I keep it relatively simple. Some people like to pan-fry them to crisp the skins, but this is one food I prefer boiled. This way, the pierogi stay soft, plump, and yielding, like little potato-filled pillows.
I do, however, like to dress my pierogi up a little once they’re boiled. It’s a classic move to toss pierogi with butter and sautéed onions. I go one step further: I brown the butter (and lots of it), before cooking my onions in it. I lavish the butter and onions over the pierogi, and then top everything with a judicious serving of sour cream. Often, I poach an egg and stick it on top—three fats are better than two, after all.
How to Make Brown Butter SauceDrizzle this simple butter sauce over gnocchi, mushrooms, steak, or fish.
I round out the meal with a vegetable. Cabbage might be more in keeping with the pierogi’s Slavic origins, but I like steamed or boiled broccoli, chopped into small pieces and then tipped into the bowl with the pierogi, or some chopped cooked greens–spinach, Swiss chard, collards. (You can even cook the vegetables and then poach the eggs in the same water you use to boil the pierogi—this meal is nothing if not efficient.)
Feeling especially lush? Apply butter, sour cream, and salmon roe and don’t look back.