a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Monday, October 1, 2007

Home of the Slavic dumpling

The Polish pierogi
The pierogi might have originated long ago in Eastern Europe but the delicacy also known as the Polish dumpling has found its home in Pittsburgh. The recipe brought to Southwestern Pennsylvania by Slavic immigrants seeking work in steel mills and mines remains a staple around Pittsburgh, and especially during Steelers season. Those who are too lazy to roll out dough and spend hours filling it with potato and cheese, sauerkraut or cottage cheese have stooped so low as to make pierogi casseroles with store-bought lasagna noodles, mashed potatoes and cheese.

Though my heritage has lines straight to England, I count myself among the fans of pierogi, and will settle for store-bought under the Mrs. T's label when I can’t get them sizzled with onions at a street festival or ethnic church bizarre. (Mrs. T makes a fine pierogi)
Among the best in Pittsburgh are those sold at Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, which is also known as Pittsburgh’s only Polish party house. Polka music blares from speakers inside the bar where one wall is lined with mirrors and the other a picture window overlooking the drab-gray concrete and asphalt Bloomfield Bridge.

The dumplings, along with a Polish sausage called kielbasa, are served with a paper, red and white flag of Poland rising from the food atop a toothpick. The kielbasa is grilled well done and served with the red Polish platter that comes with mounds of dough, cottage cheese and beef-stuffed cabbage. And go figure ... the establishment at 4412 Liberty Ave. is located in the heart of what is known as “Pittsburgh’s Little Italy.”

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