Sometimes comfort foods & convenience foods overlap. To me, most anything from childhood counts as comfort food.
My father’s family were all Lithuanian/Polish. If you follow the history Lithuania & Poland were the same countries at several intervals and the boundaries were always moving. While Lithuania was finally taken over by the former Soviet Union for the majority of the 20th century, Poland was always like twin that was separated… the culture and the foods are very similar and were shared for many years.
One of my favorites growing up was pierogi. If you’re unfamiliar with this delicious treat, it is the Polish answer to the Italian ravioli. Instead of being filled with ricotta cheese or meat however, it is filled with potatoes instead and seasoned/complemented with onions, cheddar cheese or sauerkraut.
Pierogi is available at most any supermarket in the freezer section, near the frozen ravioli. To prepare it, drop it in boiling water for 2-3 minutes (until it floats) then pan fry it with a little butter. What I love about this dish is that it’s literally done in just 15 minutes.
- Potato & Onion Pierogi (4 per person for adults is a good portion)
- Smoked sausage
- Shredded Cabbage or Coleslaw mix
- Garlic, finely minced
- Caraway Seed
- Onion, diced or sliced
- Celery, diced
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive Oil or Olive Oil & butter
Put a pan of hot water on to boil for the pierogi. In a large frying pan, add a little olive oil, caraway seeds and garlic and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes to flavor the oil. Then add shredded cabbage, onion and celery, along with salt and pepper. (Sometimes I also like some chopped green apple as well.) Cook until tender.
I keep Polish kielbasa (smoked sausage) in the freezer usually as a quick go to (also nice with scrambled eggs). I slice it up and throw it in the pan with the cabbage mix. It’s already cooked so it just needs to heat through and brown a little if you’d like. Lithuanians eat fresh kielbasa, so it takes longer to prepare and it’s usually served with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, same meat, potatoes and cabbage though. 🙂
When the water boils, drop the pierogi in (2-3 minutes). When the pierogi are ready, drain them and put them in the pan with the rest. When they’re browned on both sides it’s done!
I’m the only one in the house now that eats fried cabbage. So when I made this, I actually made the cabbage in a separate pan. I do realize that cooked cabbage can be an acquired taste but I encourage you to give it a try. The sweetness of the cabbage along with the smokiness of the sausage make a great pairing.
If you prefer coleslaw, mix a bag of shredded coleslaw mix with just enough Miracle Whip to cover, a teaspoonful of sugar and a half teaspoonful of celery seed. I can tell you, this is the only time I use Miracle Whip (I’m a mayo girl). I worked in a restaurant years ago that served coleslaw that was almost identical to KFC. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the recipe and was dumbstruck when I found out just how simple it was! The key is to let it sit for at least 12 hours before eating.
This meal is always best in my opinion with a good Jewish seeded Rye or pumpernickel bread with real butter. It’s amazing how one simple meal can take you back to so many memories. The fact that it’s a 15 minute meal makes it a win-win in my book. Enjoy!