When I graduated from high school, I headed to Canada for two years of college. One of the first things I learned living in a similar, yet different country is that they loved to visit and loved to feed you. And since it was considered rude to refuse, I sampled …
When I graduated from high school, I headed to Canada for two years of college. One of the first things I learned living in a similar, yet different country is that they loved to visit and loved to feed you. And since it was considered rude to refuse, I sampled all sorts of delicious foods while I lived there. One of my favorite discoveries was perogies, little dumpling-like gems stuffed with all sorts of different foods and served with sour cream.
Although one of the elderly women there gave me an authentic perogie recipe, I never took time to make them myself. Instead, I’d seek out places to buy them when I visited Canada, or when I’d come across a Polish food cart or restaurant. This made the perogies even more delicious since they became a rare find.
Recently, my niece, who is expecting her first baby, got a huge craving for perogies, remembering when I’d bring them to her house when she was young. She loved them and begged for some of my ‘homemade perogies’, not realizing the ones I brought her were always someone else’s homemade creations, not mine. I decided it was a good excuse to make some perogies of my own. I pulled out the recipe and discovered that although they’re a bit time consuming, they’re not HARD at ALL! Yay!
I broke the production up into two days, making the filling the first day and finishing them off the next. This is especially convenient since it’s best to use cold filling. Perogies can be filled with many different things—potatoes and cheese, ricotta cheese, sauerkraut, even berries and other fruit (for more of a dessert perogie). I’ve tried many varieties, but my favorite is stuffed with a potato, cheese, onion and bacon mixture.
How to make Perogies:
First, peel and boil enough potatoes to make about 3 cups of mashed potatoes, adding about 3 tablespoons of butter to the mix. Next, cook 6 pieces of bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Drain and crumble. Pour off a bit of the bacon grease and add 1/2 cup chopped onions to the remaining grease in pan. Saute onions until transparent and soft. Add onions, remaining grease, and bacon to potatoes along with 1 to 2 cups of grated cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it). Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until potato mixture is cold.
To make the dough, whisk 3 eggs with 1 cup of sour cream in large bowl until smooth. In another bowl, sift 3 cups of flour, ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking powder together. Dump the flour mixture into the egg mixture and stir to form dough. You might have to add a bit more flour to get the mixture manageable.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead dough until dough is firm and smooth. Divide it into two pieces, and invert bowl over the top. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.
To make perogies, roll one ball of dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter or a glass to cut into 3-inch rounds.
On one half of round, place mound of potato mixture.
Moisten the edge of the dough circle with water and fold in half. Make sure to seal the edges well, first pinching together and then using a fork to press around the edges for a good seal. And repeat. This recipe will make between 50-60 perogies, depending on the size you make them (and how thin you roll the dough).
When perogies are assembled, heat a pot with slightly salted water to a boil. Drop in perogies a few at a time and cook for about 3 minutes (when the perogies float to the top they’re done). Remove with a slotted spoon.
There are two common ways to finish the preparation from this point. The first is simply coat in butter and serve with sour cream. The second is add them to a frying pan of onions sautéed in butter and brown them. This creates a slightly crispy finish instead of a more soft doughy finish. Both ways are good, so no matter which way you do it, you won’t go wrong.
Perogies, though time-consuming, are both simple to make and delicious. My Canadian friends usually get a group of friends and family together to have a perogie-making day. They make enough to last all year by freezing them individually on a cookie sheet and later sticking them in freezer safe containers. (If you’re going to freeze them, skip the boiling and freeze them uncooked. Cook them when you’re ready to use them).
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Kerrie blogs at City Girl Farming.
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