Polish comfort food to warm your soul when the snow starts.
By Ari Weinzweig
As you might guess from his last name, Stas’ Kazmierski was proudly Polish.
A retired managing partner at ZingTrain, Stas’ passed away in 2017. He taught us the the visioning process, and was so integral to the growth of Zingerman’s, there is not a day that goes by when we are not somehow using what he taught us. Stas’ caring presence in the Zingerman’s Community leaves a legacy not only of how our culture has evolved, but also of the importance behind learning and hearing the stories people share:
“The reason I’m so proud to be a partner at Zingerman’s is because we just give all the knowledge and information to the employees and…to the world. Yeah, you have to make a living but when it comes to sharing food and information there’s an abundance and you gotta give it away. Others share it and gain from it.” –Stas’ Kazmierski
In his honor, we named this platter of super tasty pierogi for Stas’. They are a terrific way to eat dinner and keep ourselves warm as winter settles into our part of the world.
The story behind pierogi.
For a bit of history, Polish colonists began arriving in North America in the late 16th century. Two of the early immigrants—Casimir Pulaski and Tadeusz Kościuszko—led Revolutionary War armies. Michigan (Stas’ grew up in Detroit) has the third largest Polish population in the U.S. (after Illinois and New York).
Pierogi, in Polish, is a stuffed dumpling. The pierogi at the Roadhouse are made by Srodek’s, a third-generation family business in Hamtramck, the center of Polish life in these parts. While they make a series of different fillings, we settled on a classic—the potato. It’s got a lovely texture and a terrific flavor. We lightly pan cook the pierogi in butter so the dough on the outside gets golden brown, which makes it a perfect foil for the soft, creamy potato filling.
Why our pierogi is so good.
We serve the potato pierogi up with a pile of naturally-cured sauerkraut from the Brinery, a good bit of slow-cooked caramelized onions, and plenty of sour cream. It’s really a terrific lunch or dinner. It’s a great meatless meal—ideal for vegetarians, for Lent, or just for folks like me who don’t happen to eat a lot of meat. Of course, it also happens to be delicious if you ask us to toss in a bit of Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon.
I miss Stas’ wisdom, his silly sense of humor, his love, and the wonderful wealth of organizational tools he shared with us. It makes me smile through the sadness to know that we can honor him every time someone orders the pierogi!