This post is almost 5 years in the making. Before there were tamale and mustard tasting parties, pierogi parties have been a long tradition. One reason I became interested in cooking and blogging was to learn and share our family recipes. Hand’s down, my most popular post is How to Make Authentic German Apfelstrudel and I photographed this almost 5 years ago, wanting share our family’s favourite Ukrainian food: perogies.
This is how my family makes perogies. They are not vegan although my Dad said he might try Isa’s vegan recipe next time. I did not know I could be competitive about perogies until I was invited to a perogie party when I first met Rob. As his family is Polish, he was obviously making them differently (most notably his family uses cheese and uses butter and a special pierogi flour). I am partial to our methods and simple recipe and encourage you to follow along.
First you boil your potatoes:
Fry your bacon. Remove and drain.
Fry your onions.
Mash the potatoes with the bacon and onions. The filling can be then set aside until needed.
The dough is a simple combination of flour, eggs, a dash of oil and water. My Dad is adamant that we must roll out each pierogi dough individually, because that was how Baba did it. Rob’s technique is to roll out the entire dough and use a metal can (as a cookie cutter) for identical shapes.
In any case, we rolled them out until very thin.
And it is ok if they are not perfectly symmetrical
Put a bit of the potato mixture inside the dough
Then add some more and centre it.
Stretch the dough so it you can pull it overtop the pierogi.
Pinch the tops so it stays shut.
Work your way on one half
Until it is sealed on one side, then seal the second half.
Then go over it again to make sure it is completely sealed (exploded perogies are no good)
As you make them, place them on a towel and cover with another damp towel so they do not dry out.
When you get going, you will make a lot. This is what we had made during the second day.
Fresh perogies are best boiled and served simply with sour cream.
You can freeze them after boiling them.
If you prefer videos, this one is pretty good although slightly different than our technique.
If nothing else, I hope you like the photos of my Dad’s fingers making the perogies. I like the lighting and detail and feel it captures a lot of character.
Are there any family recipes you truly cherish?
I may be half-Ukrainian but darned if I know how to speak it. My vocabulary is limited to Я тебе люблю (Ja tebe liubliu). Some kids learn swear words, but I was only told how to love (it means ‘I love you’).
Rob is slowly introducing me to Polish words. As they pop up, obviously. The key to my heart lies in the kitchen, right? ;) First, I learned how to say borscht. While borscht originates from Ukraine, many other countries have their own variations. In Poland, the soup is called barszcz. Notice the ah sound… and the lack of the t at the end. ;)
Polish barszcz has numerous variations, but the vegetarian version is commonly reserved for Christmas Eve. With the
bloody blazing red beets you have a very festive soup with the dilly green accent. This version, tinkered from Rebar, makes a huge pot of soup filled with vegetables – beets, cabbage, carrots and tomatoes – and white beans for good measure. Lemon juice and balsamic vinegar add that necessary tang, a key feature in Polish barszcz. Traditionally, the soup was aged to get that acidic tang. Sounds like a project to tackle in the new year. ;)
Due to its association with Christmas, I decided to make it for the pre-Christmas dinner. Rob told me it was very similar to his family’s barszcz. I really enjoyed this soup. So did everyone else (well, except for those who shun beets and cabbage and didn’t even try it!). I found the vegetables complemented each other nicely and the Polish dried mushrooms added a deeper, complex flavour. Perfect for Christmas Eve, or any time of the year. I’ll be enjoying it a few weeks from now because I packed the leftovers in the freezer to enjoy later. This makes a ton of soup!
Happy holidays, everyone!