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updated MAR 24 2014

Ukrainian Recipes: Pirohy (Perogies)

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Frying up a batch of pirohy Frying up a batch of pirohy in butter. All that's missing is the onions!
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These are also known as Varenyky, but are more commonly known by their Polish name, Perogies. They take time to make, but are well worth the effort. Work goes faster if you have a bunch of people working on it, so why not have a pirohy party?

DOUGH INGREDIENTS
1 egg
4 cups flour
½ tsp salt
      1-¼ cups of water
½ cup of milk


- Put the water, milk and egg in a large bowl.
- Add the flour to the bowl slowly. Mix well. Knead on a board until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and leave in warm place for about an hour or two.
- Roll out like for a pie crust. NOTE: I have read elsewhere that using a pasta machine/roller is an excellent way to get the dough flat - this dough is very elastic-y, so any help is welcome! :)
- Cut into 2 inch squares or circles. Place a teaspoon of filling (see below) on each one.
- Fold the dough in half, then pinch the edges together to form a ridge, thus sealing the filling in. See photos of pirohy assembly.
- Place the pirohy on a teatowel until they are all made. Cover the waiting dough with a teatowel, and the finished pirohy with one also, to prevent them from drying out.
- Drop into salted boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Boil 4-5 minutes, strain in a colander--rinse once in cold water, then drain.
- Serve hot, with sour cream. May also be served with some lightly fried onions. At this point, if you wish, you can fry the pirohy in a little oil or margarine until golden brown.


- This is my mother's favorite filling, and one of the most common.

Ingredients:
Potatoes (see below for quantity)
Mild Cheddar Cheese (375 g - 13.2 oz package)
1 slice processed cheese (optional)

-Use your biggest saucepan and fill it with potatoes. It will be enough for the dough recipe above.
-She recommends using a mild cheddar cheese (but you can use a sharper one, if you prefer).
-Cut the cheese into fairly small pieces, and put them in the pot with the cooked, drained potatoes. My Gidu used to add a sliced of processed cheese - he thought it added a nice extra bit of cheddar flavour. :) Mash it all together until smooth. That's all there is to it!

STANDARD, with ANN'S TWIST

What goes perfectly with sour cream, potatoes and cheddar cheese? Why, bacon of course! :) Fry some bacon (as much or as little as you like, about 1/4 to 1/2 slice's worth per perogie). Drain on paper towels, let cool. Then chop it into little pieces (or use kitchen scissors, I find that handy). I took the dough, put a little filling on it, then added some bacon, then added a little more filling. Seal it up, and boil as normal! It's a fun addition to a classic recipe!

• • • • • • •

Here are some alternate fillings, from the Ukrainian Daughters' Cookbook.

SAUERKRAUT FILLING:

Ingredients:
1 qt sauerkraut
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup oil
      ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
optional: mashed potatoes.

- Cook sauerkraut, about 20 minutes or until done. Drain and press out water. Saute onion in oil until golden. Add sauerkraut, salt, and pepper. Fry for 10 minutes. Cool before putting filling into varenyky. Yield about 4 dozen.

POPPY SEED FILLING:

Ingredients:
1 cup poppy seed
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp sugar

- Scald poppy seed. Grind finely. Add egg yolk and sugar. Mix well.

And another one, this time from Canadian Living Magazine:

GARLIC POTATO FILLING:

Ingredients:
2 ½ lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp vegetable oil
10 cloves garlic, quartered
½ cup milk
      1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper

-In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes, covered, for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well and return to pot; mash with potato masher until smooth. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and return heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and softened. Mash garlic and add to mashed potatoes. Blend in milk, cream cheese, salt and pepper, stirring just until smooth. Let filling cool to room temperature. Makes about 4 cups.

And finally, Joan Mihalick of Colorado wrote to me to share her family's favourite fillings! Her mother often used cottage cheese mixed with egg. Another favorite filling was prunes. At Christmas time she even used shredded cooked turkey with a little stuffing as the filling--sounds fabulous!

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