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Short Rib Pierogi Debate – gourmet creativity or disgrace to tradition

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The city of Pittsburgh is rich in Polish heritage.  So much, that pierogies are viewed as a city icon.  The Pittsburgh Pirates even have four pierogi mascots that run around PNC Park as in-game entertainment.  Though the Pirates have fun with their pierogies, some serious locals scoff when restaurants have fun with them on their menu.

Braised Short Rib Pierogies - Photo by Andrew Russell, Tribune Review

Braised Short Rib Pierogies - Photo by Andrew Russell, Tribune Review

A recent tweet from Braddock’s American Brasserie, which we’ve reviewedbefore, offers a braised short rib pierogi.  But when you stuffed it with a braised short rib, is  it really a pierogi, or is it more of a ravioli?

My answer is yes, it is a pierogi.  Here’s why.

After some of my own personal research, here are some key differences between pierogies (of Polish decent) and raviolis (of Italian decent).

Shape

Pierogies are filled pasta circles that are folded and pinched closed into half moon shapes. Ravioli are square pillows that are sealed the entire perimeter of the square.
The Inside “Stuffing”
Pierogies are traditionally filled with potatoes, onion or cheese, sometimes in combination. Ravioli are traditionally filled with meats and cheeses.
The Outside “Dough”
Pierogi dough is just flour and water. Raviolis are made using an egg pasta.
Preparation
Pierogies are boiled and/or pan fried in butter and onions.  Served pan to plate without a sauce. Ravioli are only boiled and served in a sauce.
I admire a chef that likes to be creative and make creative leaps with their food as long as the integrity of the dish remains in tact.  Though most traditional yinzers (term for a local Pittsburgh native) may say that putting short ribs in a piegori is a sin, I think it is creative genius.
So now you have to decide, is it the shape, stuffing, dough or preparation that would cause you to sway one way or the other?
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6 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Pittsburgh Pirates could add Short Rib Sam to the field. I picture a really fat pierogie with a Brown Hat.

    Or give Jalapeno Hannah a friend and make it a girl:
    Short Rib Shelly or Sally

  2. Friends and I are wearing our Pittsburgh Pierogie Halloween costumes to the home opener — I volunteer you to join us and dress as Short Rib Shelley!

  3. TasteBud B says:

    @PittsburGhirl Oh, that'd be so much fun, but I don't have tickets. Do you have extras?

  4. JulieGong says:

    hands down the braised short rib pierogies at braddock's are the best i've ever had and that includes homemade ones by old polish grandmas.

  5. steelcityfox says:

    Loved those pierogies at Braddock's! Ukrainian perohi-making changes based on the season. During the meatless holidays (Lent and Christmas Eve), we make pierogies with cheese and potato (and sauerkraut, the secret ingredient) or prune (which we call 'dried plums' so as not to freak people out lol). Our family's church in Ambridge actually goes so far as to use no dairy in their Lenten pierogies, but we don't do that. We use farmer's cheese in the dough, which is like cottage cheese, but a little drier.

    But there are definitely meat pierogies out there. If you guys ever find yourselves in Chicago, I really recommend checking out Old Lviv in the Ukrainian Village. They make a good meat pierogi (although I still liked the potato ones better). Also a pretty fierce borscht! Locally, Church Brew Works does some pretty spectacular things with pierogies. We had rattlesnake pierogies there once. Very different, but excellent, and a little spicy.

    • Rio says:

      Loved those pierogies at Braddock’s! Ukrainian perhoi-making changes based on the season. During the meatless holidays (Lent and Christmas Eve), we make pierogies with cheese and potato (and sauerkraut, the secret ingredient) or prune (which we call ‘dried plums’ so as not to freak people out lol). Our family’s church in Ambridge actually goes so far as to use no dairy in their Lenten pierogies, but we don’t do that. We use farmer’s cheese in the dough, which is like cottage cheese, but a little drier.But there are definitely meat pierogies out there. If you guys ever find yourselves in Chicago, I really recommend checking out Old Lviv in the Ukrainian Village. They make a good meat pierogi (although I still liked the potato ones better). Also a pretty fierce borscht! Locally, Church Brew Works does some pretty spectacular things with pierogies. We had rattlesnake pierogies there once. Very different, but excellent, and a little spicy.

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