polish cuisine

Polish beet soup, also known as barszcz, is similar to its more well-known relative, borscht. Whereas borscht might include meat, cabbage, or other vegetables, this recipe for barszcz is simpler, lighter, and has more of a clear broth. Yet both are sour with a hint of sweetness. Barszcz, with its lustrous burgundy color, is packed with nutrition and can provide necessary warmth and comfort amid the bitter winter cold.

makes 4-6 servings


  • 3 beets, peeled and cut into 8 large pieces each (24 pieces total)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 2 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup fresh dill


Place the beets, garlic, bay leaves, carrots, marjoram/oregano, black pepper, salt, sugar, vegetable stock, and water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the temperature to a simmer. Cook for two hours until the beets are soft. 

Strain the liquid and remove the beets. Julienne the beets into strips and return to the liquid. Garnish with dill and serve hot. It pairs especially well with pierogies.

Pierogies, the classic Polish dumplings, are one of my favorite foods in the entire world. They remind me of childhood, family, and holidays. We would have them for special meals and celebrations, at the annual church picnic, or for ordinary weeknight dinners. No matter the occasion, one thing for sure was that when pierogies were around, people were happy. They are simply that magical. 

One day I will write a proper ode to pierogies, but for now, here is a foolproof recipe which will yield classic, delicious pierogies, time after time. I have included a simple potato and cheese filling, but other options are sauerkraut, sautéed onions, Twaróg (Polish pot cheese), or farmer cheese. These are traditional fillings, but certainly feel free to improvise!


for the dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 tablespoons water
  • Extra flour for rolling out dough

for the filling

  • 3 medium-sized yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

for the topping

  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup dill, chopped

filling steps

Fill a large pot with water. Add the potatoes and salt and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain in a colander and mash in a large bowl. Add the butter and cheddar cheese. Mix until filling is combined. Set aside.

dough steps 

Place the flour, eggs, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook or a large bowl if you prefer to knead by hand. Add 5 tablespoons of water and knead the dough until blisters appear. The dough should be soft and not too sticky.

Divide the dough into two parts, working with one at a time. Roll dough out as thinly as you can, but not enough to see through or break, about ⅛ inch. Use a round shape (I used the top of a mason jar lid) to cut out circles. 

Spoon about a tablespoon of filling into the center of the circle, dip your finger in a bowl of water and run it along one side of the circle. Fold one side over the other side and pinch it closed. Wetting the edges helps the dough meld together.

Place the pinched pierogies on a baking sheet dusted with flour and let sit for 5-10 minutes to dry out a bit before cooking.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil each pierogi for 2-4 minutes, the pierogies will float to the top when they are finished cooking.