Pierogi with meat

Pierogi with meat

Pierogi z mięsem

Borsch, Vodka and Tears
Bonnie Savage

One of the great things about Polish food is its frugality. The meat that you use to flavour a soup stock that makes up the first course of a meal is the same that you use to create your pierogi or uszka filling. To make this filling, reserve the meat from making the Polish soup stock or rośoł. Note that it is preferable to use meaty ribs, skirt steak or brisket for the beef and a boiling hen or some chicken thighs for the poultry.


Quantity Ingredient
Polish dumplings

Meat filling

Quantity Ingredient
200 grams beef ribs, cooked
2 chicken marylands, (leg and thigh quarters), or use the meat from a boiling hen, cooked
1 tablespoon butter
or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
dried marjoram
2-3 tablespoons Polish soup stock

To Garnish

Quantity Ingredient
200 grams chopped pork back fat
100 grams minced pork
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


  1. When the meat is cool enough, pull it off the bones with your fingers. Then remove any remaining fat and sinew. If some of the fat is soft and pliable you can reserve it and chop it very finely to make the filling a bit richer. As boiling hens are quite stringy (though they are very flavoursome) it is best to put the meat through a coarse mincing plate. Alternatively, you can cut across the grain into fairly thin slices, say anything less than 6 mm, and then chop coarsely.
  2. Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until it softens, then add the marjoram and a pinch of salt. Add the meats and stir to combine. Add just enough of the soup stock to moisten the meat — you don’t want it to leach a lot of liquid when you are filling the pierogi, but it is easy for the slow-cooked meats to become dry. Finally, correct the seasoning with salt and a little black pepper. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before making the pierogi following the instructions in the Pierogi dough recipe.
  3. At Borsch we make a rather decadent garnish to serve with the meat pierogi. Put the pork fat in a heavy-based saucepan with 1 tablespoon water. Heat over medium–low heat, preferably with a heat diffuser plate (the round metal things with holes in them — you can get them at your kitchenware store). Make sure you stir it frequently with a wooden spoon until the fat starts to melt. At this point reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and leave the pan on the stove for at least 2 hours, scraping the base every 10 minutes or so, until the fat has completely rendered and the solids have turned brown and almost become crackling — the fat should be crystal clear and have a warm nutty smell.
  4. Strain the fat into a clean saucepan and place over the lowest heat. Add the minced pork and poach it slowly in the fat — you don’t use much of this stuff and it is used for sautéing the pierogi, so the ratio of fat to meat is very high. If the temperature is low enough, the pork will cook without losing much of its liquid at all. When this is done, season with the sweet paprika and salt until the whole thing has a deep reddish golden hue.
  5. To serve the pierogi with the garnish, cook the pierogi in a saucepan of boiling salted water for about 3 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
  6. Meanwhile heat a frying pan over medium–high heat and add the garnish. Add the drained pierogi and cook until they become lightly browned. Serve immediately, spooning any leftover meat onto the pierogi.


  • Any leftover meat from the filling can be used to make a savoury filling for crepes. Alternatively, this meat filling can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Vodka and Tears
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