Every Christmas Eve, Polish peoples look forward to including pierogi as part of their traditional dinner. Like other popular holiday traditions, such as turkey at Thanksgiving or latkes at Hanukkah, serving pierogi has been part of our holiday celebration for generations.
Although we celebrate many days over the holidays, Christmas Eve dinner or Wigilia is by far the most important and is when we gather the family over a huge meal. Like the 12 days of Christmas, it is tradition to serve 12 dishes at the Polish Christmas table which usually include staples such as fish (often carp and/or herring), barszcz (red beet soup), kompot (a spiced fruit compote), and, of course, pierogi. Because it is also tradition to not eat meat on Christmas Eve, with fish being an exception, Christmas pierogi are usually either made of sauerkraut and mushroom or cheese and potato.
Pierogi at Christmas can be served many different ways. My family prefers them to be pan fried, smothered with lots of caramelized onions. They are crispy and chewy, salty and sweet, rich and mild—it’s easy to see why we sometimes fight over the last few pierogi on the table and why there is usually never enough!
Uszka, a well kept Polish Christmas Eve secret
Pierogi are a dumpling and, although they are by far the most common form of dumpling of Polish tradition, we also serve a special kind of dumpling stuffed with peppered wild mushrooms on Christmas Eve that we call uszka, roughly translated as “little ears” because of their distinct shape. Uszka are saved for Christmas and are served in a special version of barszcz, a red beet soup.
They are not easy to make because of the extra time required to prepare the stuffing—made from dried wild mushrooms that are boiled, strained, and very finely chopped, then spiced with pepper and onion—and the incredible skill required to ply the uszka which have the extra step of folding them over on themselves to produce the adorable ravioli-like shape. If you’ve ever had the chance to enjoy red beet soup with these marvellous little dumplings, you know much everyone looks forward to having a bowl (or two or three) of this soup on Christmas Eve.
Share in this tradition with us
Polish Wigilia Gift Box
A gift box featuring Polish holiday favourites. Bring the joy of Polish Christmas to your table, without the work!
This Christmas, you can join us in sharing this incredible (and tasty!) Polish tradition, without all the work. Our holiday gift boxes are the perfect way to share these dishes with your family and friends. I, personally, recommend the Polish Wigilia Gift Box which includes Farmer Cheese and Potato Pierogi, as well as our beloved uszka that you can serve with red beet soup (either make your own from an easy recipe or buy it pre-made from your local Polish deli).
From freezer to table in 10 minutes, easily spread the joy of a delicious Polish Christmas tradition this year—and we’ll even let you tell them that you did all the work yourself!
Wesołych Świąt! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!?
Our family’s favourite pierogi at Christmas
We love all the different pierogi, but these are the one’s we usually serve to friends and family when they join us for Wigilia dinner. Why not try one of each?