If you’re learning about Saskatchewan, before long, you’ll find that pierogies are a thing. My first attempt at investigating the regional culture took me to Youtube. I found a video from a guy who was explaining the hand signals drivers use in Saskatchewan, and how to just the right kind of wave—”you don’t want to overdo it,” he said, “or we’ll know you’re an outsider.” It was pretty cool that even drivers seem to have a vague sense of camaraderie.
Below that, I found a link to a video called “Things Saskatchewan people NEVER say.” Of course, I clicked, hoping to find Sask truths. Recurring themes involved how cold it can get and how much snow falls, how important hockey is, pils (pilsner), pierogies, and cabbage rolls.
Knowing this, I began my look into the world of Saskatchewan pierogie making.
Throughout various sites and forums, I gathered a few things:
I looked at several pierogie recipes, and ended up creating one mainly based on this one from Tonja Popowski on All Recipes, with tweaks from several other varieties (there are a lot of ways to make them!).
There’s also found this cool project called Feast: Edible Roadtrip, for which two friends journey across Canada in search of authentic regional cuisine. In their Saskatchewan post, I saw they had a typical dish of cabbage rolls, sausages and pierogies.
I was at the grocery store, so I searched the web for what kind of sausages they have in Saskatchewan. I didn’t find much on this—I did find one site saying that it’s not worth even trying to replicate because nothing comes close. Well, that didn’t help me, but since I couldn’t find anything, I just got bratwurst.
Once I got home, the urge to cook escaped me, and I remembered a take on pierogies that I’d seen while researching recipes. This is called a pierogie casserole, or some people call them lazy pierogies. The recipes for it all said something to the effect of, “real pierogies are time-consuming to make, so here’s an easier way to get your favorite pierogie flavors.” Everyone that made them seemed happy with the taste, and I decided—why not? I’ll make the easier version tonight.
Keep in mind that even the easy version here requires mashing your own potatoes—and that’s the only way I’d recommend it. Boxed mashed potatoes are a completely different animal. But all in all, making the “easy” version was actually still pretty time-consuming. I wondered what I had in store for myself when making the real deal.
Also, I used no-boil lasagna sheets for this, and it did not work very well. I’d recommend boiling them anyway, as they came out very hard even after following directions. If you’re using regular lasagna sheets, boil them until they’re soft, not al dente. Something about the baking process hardens the pasta.
The result for me was that the flavor was amazing, but some of the pasta was as hard as when it had come out of the box. I searched for a save online. Luckily, an Australian’s comment on a food thread barely saved the dish. It said something to the effect of: people always say that when this happens there is no rescuing it, but that’s not true! It’s lacking moisture, so just pour water on the top and sides, cover it with foil, and bake it again.
I reluctantly poured water on the top and sides of my creation and did as she recommended. It saved the recipe.
This was a fun and tasty comfort meal, but I found that making it was just as difficult as making actual pierogies. If you’d like a different spin on pierogies, this would be a fun one to try—it’s just not as “lazy” as it claims to be.