The first thing you need to know about making perogies is that you can’t make them alone. Whether you decide to make them for Ukrainian Christmas, Easter, or any other fun occasion, they seem to turn out best when made by many hands and infused with amiable conversation. In my experience, making any kind of Ukrainian food — whether it’s perogies, nylasnyky, or cabbage rolls — is as much about socializing as it is about the food and passing on tradition.
If you feel inclined to try it out, keep in mind that it is a slow and steady process. Whatever the occasion, grab a friend or two — and a heavy rolling pin — and be prepared for a full day of chatting, spotted with a bit of cooking here and there!
Total Time 4 hours
Makes 50 perogies
4 cup flour (I recommend Robin Hood’s “Best for Blending” flour)
1 ½ cup potato water (see recipe)
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ tbsp. white vinegar
7 russet potatoes (about 4 cups mashed)
1 ½ cup Velveeta cheese (or melted cheddar if you prefer)
7 tbsp. butter
1/3 medium-sized yellow onion, finely diced
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
Start the filling first. Boil the potatoes until soft, then drain and mash. Set the water that the potatoes were boiled in aside to cool. Combine butter and onion in a pan over medium heat. Fry onions until translucent. Add onions, butter, salt, pepper, and cheese to the mashed potatoes and mix thoroughly.
Next, start the dough. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the wet ingredients while kneading the mixture. Knead only until the dough is an even consistency, as too much kneading will make the dough tough. Put a lid on the bowl, set in a warm place, and leave to rest for an hour.
Pull large fist-sized portions off of the dough to roll out. Roll until about 1 to 1½ mm thick. If the dough is too thick the ratio of potato to dough will be displeasing, and if the dough is too thin your perogies will break open. Cut circles with a 2½ to 3 inch diameter out of the rolled dough — I find it works best to use a circular cookie cutter or the open end of a glass of this size. Place about 1½ tsp. of filling in the centre of the dough. Bring the edges of the circle together around the filling and pinch together until sealed. Repeat. Cover the raw perogies with a tea towel to avoid them drying out.
Freeze or boil immediately. If boiling immediately, the perogies will take about 12 minutes to cook through. You will know they are done when they are all floating on the surface of the boiling water. Drain and stir in butter or margarine to keep perogies from sticking together. Add your choice of green onion or cooked and crumbled bacon — or both. Serve warm with sour cream.
OPTIONAL FILLING ALTERNATIVES
Tired of the same old cheddar perogies? Try this:
Add cooked and crumbled bacon to the standard potato filling.
Supplement dry cottage cheese instead of Velveeta and add fresh, finely chopped dill.
Rehydrate dehydrated blueberries or raisins by boiling them. Use this instead of potato as your filling to make a dessert perogy.
Pat dry some sauerkraut and chop very finely. Add to the standard cheddar or cottage cheese and potato fillings for some extra flavour.