Perogies / Varenyky

The perogie is amongst one of my family's favorite recipes. it was presented by a friend of the family as an alternative to fried potatoes as a sidecar to eggs. Soft pasta dough pillows a variety of fillings - our favourite? Onions, potatoes and sharp cheddar. Boiled gently, and fried up with butter onions. fantastic.

Later on i ended up befriending a Ukrainian who signed me up as a volunteer for cooking a big dinner at the ukrainian center he danced for. I would be working with the skilled and nimble hands of the female elders in the ukrainian community over in nordeast, no pressure or anything. I loved the whole process and was eager to try a real homemade perogie.

It was decadent... smooth silky potatoes with an sharp cheesey onion flavour. They didn't fry them, just a soil boil. I noticed how the dough was more durable than i had experienced and therefore no need for a firm-up in the pan. I was hooked.

There are multiple ways to serve the varenyky but my favorite is pan fried with mounds of caramelized onions and a dollop of sour cream and snipped chives.

Let me know what you think!

Perogies or Varenyky
For dough:
3 eggs yolks
3-5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
cool tap water
pinch of salt
boiling water

3 white potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed with a little milk
1/2 large onion, diced small (save other 1/2 to fry up along side them)
1/2 cup cheddar

To make the dough:
Beat 3 egg yolks together with a fork, add two cups of cool tap water, mix thoroughly. Add salt and then flour, one cup at a time, until you have a firm dough. . Mix and knead on a floured surface, adding a little flour at a time, until you have a dough that looks smooth and shiny. Don’t overknead! Oil the dough ball, and put it into a bowl, cover with a moistened cloth, and refrigerate for a half-an-hour. *To freeze: Put ball in plastic bag at this point. When you want to use it, just pop it in the fridge to defrost.

To make the potato filling:
Mash cooked potatoes with a couple tablespoons milk.. Dice 1 onion fine, fry in cooking oil or butter, and add to the potato, let cool, mix together with potatoes.

Roll out pieces of dough on a pre-floured surface. Roll out (with floured pin) to about an 1/8-1/16 inch thick. Cut with a 3" cookie cutter (the top of a glass will work just fine). Place a tablespoon or so of the filling on half of the circle, fold over and crimp the edges shut. Take our time doing this part, it's important that they are sealed. Once you've your half-moon, place it on a floured cookie-sheet with space around it. They are sticky as hell. Cover with a floured dish cloth.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and drop the pierogies in very gently. They are done when they float. Drain and transfer to a bowl and mix lightly with butter.

Meanwhile, saute the onion diced onion. Serve with buttered perogies.

Top with sour cream and snipped chives.

To freeze cooked pierogies, place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight, then transfer to a plastic freezer bag.

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