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Wingin’ It: Taking back the pierogi from the Pittsburgh Steelers

Seriously, that’s ours Pittsburgh. We’re coming for it.

Where there’s football, there’s food. There are many great options in the category of “traditional fare” but you might be in the mood for something different. Wingin’ It has you covered with a new Buffalo sauce-inspired recipe every week of the Buffalo Bills’ season. Get ready to win big in your kitchen as the Bills get ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers!


Wingin it pierogi

According to the internet, Pittsburgh is synonymous with pierogi. Well internet, **** THAT! Buffalo is all “Bro, do you even Śmigus-dyngus?” We took “Renegade” from you last year. This year we’re taking back the pierogi. After the beating the Bills hand out on Sunday no one in Pittsburgh will ever look at a pierogi again with anything but sadness in their heart.

Buffalo Chicken Pierogi

Serves: 4-6 (about 24 pierogi)
Active Time: 60 min
Total Time: 90 min

Ingredients

Dough
214 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic power
1 egg
1 egg yolk
8 oz sour cream
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp melted butter, unsalted

Filling
12 lb cooked and shredded chicken*
13 cup hot sauce
2 Tbsps unsalted butter
1 Tbsp white vinegar (optional)
12 tsp paprika
1 tsp dill weed
12 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Make dough: Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, garlic powder) in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add egg and yolk to medium mixing bowl. Stir in the rest of the wet ingredients (sour cream, oil, melted butter); combine thoroughly.
  3. Fold wet mixture into dry mixture until dough is uniform consistency**
  4. Cover and set aside for at least 15 min.
  5. Make filling: Add chicken to wide saucepan (fry pan can work too) on MED. Stir in hot sauce and butter until blended (and vinegar if you go with that, see bonus things below).
  6. Stir in paprika and dill weed. Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Let sit for at least 5 min to cool.
  7. Make the pierogi: Split the dough into two balls unless you have a ton of space to roll on. Roll the first ball on a floured surface to about 1⁄8” thickness. If you’re worried about tearing slightly thicker is OK***.
  8. Cut out pierogi rounds using the top of a glass, cookie cutter, or small round bowl (more like small storage bowl than cereal bowl). I recommend a bit bigger than a pint glass top. This is a springy dough so make sure to let it rest for a few seconds before cutting as it will draw back on itself.
  9. Use a teaspoon to add filling to the center of each circle—you might need to play around with amounts for the first few.
  10. Fold pierogi dough over the filling and crimp shut. I used the foldover technique from the empanadas earlier in the year but a hard pinch or fork crimp should work too***.
  11. Place completed pierogi on a lightly floured cookie sheet and continue until you run out of dough/filling or both.
  12. Place finished pierogi in the freezer for at least 15 min.
  13. Cook pierogi: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  14. Drop in pierogi in batches (probably need two to three batches). Boil for 3-5 min. These will float when done. If not floating after 5 minutes, give them a nudge with a slotted spoon and see if they pop up. Remove with slotted spoon as they finish and set aside.
  15. Melt enough butter in a large frying pan to coat the entire bottom on MED/HIGH.
  16. Add pierogi carefully. You can pat them dry with a clean towel or paper towel to decrease the risk of spattering grease (remember, they just came out of water). Cook about 1-2 min each side, long enough to crisp and brown.

Wingin’ It Tips

  • *Usually this would be done with leftovers and the chicken would already be seasoned. If not, add a little salt to the recipe.
  • **I’m a big fan of mixing dough by hand but this WILL be messy. Spoon or mixer is recommended if that bothers you, but be prepared to spend a little more time. You may also need to add a little flour as you go. You want the end result tacky. If you touch the ball and some comes away on your finger you need more flour, adding about a tablespoon at a time.
  • ***The empanada-style folding makes a beautiful seal but can be a bit of a process. If you’re struggling to get them sealed with any of the methods, running a finger tip dipped in water over the edges should help.

BONUS things! Polish pride

Wingin it pierogi

I decided if I’m going to dive into the roots suggested by my (real) name, I’m going whole hog on it. For the filling I added dill and paprika as these are commonly added to Polish food. There was also a deliberate push to get a more borscht-like flavor profile. Adding both the dill and the vinegar will give a subtle hint of nostalgia for some of us. Note, dill is often a garnish only for many of you, I know that. But it does steer the flavor profile in the right direction (and some of us just add the dill because it’s awesome).

If you tell me my dough, filling, or cooking method is wrong then I will kindly respond by asking you to go suck an egg (with your borscht preferably). The beauty of pierogi is the lack of rules and regional specialties. Some of the best I ever had were blueberry filled for dessert.

To cap off my Polish-fest edition of Wingin It’ you might have noticed the shot of red liquid in the background. For anyone who has done or is aware of the bowling ball shot, this is the real-deal version of that. The product they use is fine, a commercial wiśniówka or cherry cordial. At the risk of sounding pompous, it’s not at the level it should be. Wiśniówka is the cherry flavor of a liquer broadly known as “nalewka.” Last week’s recipe I urged you to use limoncello. For me, I used cytrynówka or lemon nalewka. What’s the difference between what I have and what’s used in the bowling ball shots? Nalewka should be more like a thousand angry Winged Hussars that must battle their way to Niebo. A wave of destruction that ends in eternal paradise. Why am I teasing all this? Maybe Wingin’ It will return to Poland after the season is over...