Pierogi are a traditional Eastern European dish, particularly in Polish cuisine, consisting of small, crescent-shaped dumplings made from dough filled with finely chopped ingredients, such as mushrooms, potatoes, ground meat, onions, or cheese. They may be boiled, sautéed in butter, or fried. Making traditional individual pierogi may be time-consuming and labor intensive for some people, who may instead opt for preparing pierogi casserole as an alternative. This dish typically consists of noodles layered with the preferred pierogi fillings and baked, which is thought to provide the taste of traditional pierogi in a large dish with less preparation time.
The base of a pierogi casserole is often lasagna noodles. Although egg noodles may also be used, they do not tend to provide the same sturdiness to the layers. The filling ingredients will usually vary depending on the particular type of pierogi filling a cook is trying to emulate, but sautéed onions, mashed potatoes, and cottage cheese are common choices in recipes for the casserole.
When preparing a pierogi casserole, recipes generally call for cooking the chosen type of noodles before adding one layer across the bottom of a greased baking dish. Although the exact number of layers for the casserole may depend on personal preference, a commonly used number is approximately three layers are common. The first layer of noodles is then covered in a layer of the preferred pierogi filling ingredients. It is then usually topped with another layer of noodles, with the process being repeated for the desired number of layers and ending with noodles as the top layer. Cheese may also be sprinkled onto the top if desired.
Pierogi casserole recipes usually advise that the dish be covered in foil prior to baking to ensure it cooks evenly. If it is not covered, the edges may tend to cook faster than the center, resulting in burnt edges but an uncooked center. The dish typically requires a baking time of approximately 30 minutes at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.67 degrees Celsius), with the foil being removed for the last five to 10 minutes of baking.
To maintain its structure, pierogi casserole recipes often advise to let the dish set for at least 10 minutes before cutting into pieces, which allows time for the layers to cool and become firmer. The casserole is generally served warm, either as a main entrée or as a side dish. It is often recommended to be served alongside sautéed cabbage and kielbasa sausage, with sour cream and chives on top.