EDWARDSVILLE — Gary Moran has his stepfather to thank for the pierogies.
If not for the recipe the native of Warsaw, Poland, passed down to him, the pierogies Moran makes might not be as popular.
Whenever anyone they know got wind that he and his wife, Jackie, turned out a batch of those potato-and-cheese-filled doughy pouches, they used lined up. Moran, in fact, at one time sold his pierogies.
The Edwardsville council member has not done that lately, but the public will soon get a chance to taste his and other pierogi-makers’ work at the first-ever Edwardsville Pierogi Festival, set for June.
The Edwardsville Hometown Committee, headed by Jackie Moran, is planning the event, scheduled for June 13 and 14 on Main Street. But the festival needs vendors, crafters, food trucks, volunteer entertainment and contestants. It will include a Best of the Borough Cook-Off, and the committee wants residents to enter in the categories of: pierogi, piggie/halupki, Rozy Cozy burger (a local favorite, involving tomato sauce and potato buns) and Welsh cookie.
“We’re hoping to have a church category, business and individual (categories),” Jackie said.
She and some other committee members originally had planned to have an All-Home Week to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the borough’s incorporation and to draw more people downtown, which has been undergoing some revitalization. But the response was light.
Then someone suggested a pierogi festival, and the “likes” on Edwardsville Pierogi Festival Facebook page increased from 240 to more than 1,000 within a day. Now there are more than 2,200.
Moran thinks he has a pretty good chance in the contest.
He recently talked about his pierogies, and he and Jackie turned out a batch in their kitchen. While he would give some hints of what ingredients he uses, he was not so willing to offer the specifics of his stepdad’s recipe.
“When we were kids, he would make them for us,” said Moran, whose stepfather would not eat the pierogies but preferred to watch the seven children chow down. “He just loved to watch us eat them.”
Before his stepfather died, he gave Moran the recipe.
Moran said the secret is in the dough, which he makes from flour, eggs, milk and sour cream. He fills the dough with a potato-and-cheese mixture, and the cheese is Cooper Sharp.
“When our daughter was a baby, we sold some every year,” Jackie Moran said. “They would be messaging us, ‘Are you making those pierogies again?’ ”
They don’t make them often, but when they do, they turn out six or seven dozen in two or three hours with their two-person assembly line. Last week, Gary cut and rolled the dough into a flat oval shape to make it easier to fill and fold, and Jackie generously filled and folded the pouches with the potato-cheese mixture. Gary then sprayed them with cooking oil to keep them from sticking together before boiling them.
“They’re not skimpy,” he observed.
They cool them before bagging and freezing those they don’t plan to eat right away.
“We’re looking forward to the competition,” Gary said. “We’ve sort of been bragging a little bit. I’ll put my pierogies up against anybody’s.”
Would-be contestants in the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival can get entry forms at the borough building, at various businesses on Main Street or on the Facebook page, where vendors also can apply online.