Perogies (also known as Perhohe, or Varenyki)

Perogie Recipe #1:

(Courtesy of the Lang family) The Lang family, in its larger form includes such surnames as Reiss, Kampert, Hinger, Hartl, Schindelka, Turber, and many more. These recipes are provided by Jim Lang, who visited the former Galicia in 2003 and found that even after more than 100 years and several intervening generations, the tastes were nearly identical to those his mother served up in Saskatchewan. Jim comments: "I invite Ukrainian and Polish recipes for this dish, as my own is quite Austrian and is quite a different dish. The main difference is that this recipe does not involve eggs, and the filling usually does not contain potatoes whereas the dough does. So, please, traditional perogy-makers, send your family recipes in!"

Austrian-style, sauerkraut or cottage cheese perogies:

Dough

This dough is based on the premise that eggs (protein) tend to make dough tough, whereas oil and mashed potatoes tend to create a softer more tender dough.

  •  two cups flour
  •  two-thirds cup finely mashed unseasoned potatoes 
  •  three or four tablespoons cooking oil 
  •  quarter teaspoon salt 
  •  one cup
  •  milk or half cup milk and half cup potato water (may be too much or too little, so add slowly)

Fillings:

(Note: It's always amazed me that most people do not realize that sauerkraut is meant to be cooked, and not eaten raw. Cooked with some ham or bacon and onions it is a mild and delicate dish and not the harsh salty chewy stuff that comes raw from a can.)

Sauerkraut: Drain medium-sized can, or jar of sauerkraut. Chop quite fine. Dice one onion and a few slices of lean bacon and sautee both a little butter, until the onions are clarified. Add the sauerkraut, a quarter teaspoon of caraway seeds, some black pepper (no salt is needed) and cook for several minutes, stirring often. If necessary, add a little water but ensure there is very little liquid left over. Optional: Stir in a tablespoon or two of sour cream. Set aside and cool.

Cottage cheese: Try to find some dry-curd cottage cheese. If you can't find any, some dry ricotta will do nicely. Creamed cottage cheese will not work. Add some chopped green onions (not too many, just enough to add a little colour and taste) and an egg, some salt and pepper (to taste) and stir.Set aside.

Method:

Dough: Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and mashed potatoes to milk, blend thoroughly (hand blender works well). Add liquid to dry ingredients and make a dough. It should be quite soft and sticky. Work it with flour if it's too sticky, and add a little more liquid if it's too stiff. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into rounds with a drinking glass. The dough should be very thin, perhaps an eighth of an inch; if it's too thick, give the rounds another pass with the roller. Our perogies are relatively large, about twice the size of most Ukrainian or Polish style perogies.

To fill: take a tablespoon or so of the sauerkraut filling and try to form a ball about the size of a walnut. Hold a dough-round in one hand and place the filling in the centre of the dough. Dip a finger in some water and lightly brush the edge of the round, then fold one edge over and press tightly around the edge until the dumpling is sealed. This takes a bit of practice, but is easily learned. Set the filled perogy on a floured surface. For cottage cheese, do the same, but expect it to be perhaps a bit messier.

To cook:

Have a largish pot with five or six quarts of lightly-salted water at a rolling boil. Drop in perogies six or eight at a time, and boil until they float to the surface. Remove, and place in a colander to drain. Toss them gently with a little oil to prevent them from sticking to each other. Continue boiling until all are cooked, Keep cottage cheese perogies separate from sauerkraut as they will look the same when they're cooked.

Sauce:

We always had our perogies with a sauce or with a gravy of some sort and they were served as a main course, not as a side dish. So, make a white sauce, and thin it with sour cream; or, my favorite, sautee some wild mushrooms and make a mushroom sauce.

Final preparation:

Saute the perogies lightly in a saucepan with a little butter and breadcrumbs. Remove, pour a few tablespoons of sauce over them and enjoy. Served best with ham or smoked sausage. Short of this elaborate method, you can use the Ukrainian method which also works very well. Just serve up hot perogies with some diced onions saut'ed in butter, and garnish with some sour cream.


Perogie Recipe #2:

(courtesy GGD member Kathy Enders)

"The dough was basically just flour, salt and water. Only in later years did my mother occasionally use the method of adding mashed potatoes. The method would be similar to what you mention.

I only attempted making them on my own two or three times, but I learned a valuable lesson the very first time. It is essential to let the dough sit for quite a while to let the gluten soften the dough, and not try to make the perogies and cook them right away. The first ones I made.... the term "shoe leather" comes to mind! Perhaps your dough recipe leads to a softer dough, but the basic water, salt and flour dough requires a resting period before using.

Our filling was made up mainly of mashed potatoes, to which we added dry curd cottage cheese. The proportions would have been about 3/4 potato and 1/4 cottage cheese. 

The method was to cook them in boiling water until they floated to the top, which meant they were fully cooked. I still prefer to eat them after they have been done this way, served with sour cream on top. Another thing that could be done to these, either right after cooking in water, or to the leftovers, is to fry them in a pan in butter, perhaps with sauted onions if desired. They are eaten again with sour cream. The sour cream is an absolute essential in the eating!"

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