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I somehow got it in my head that it would be a blast and a half to spend a rainy weekend making perogies from scratch. I have done this a few times before as a child with my Ukrainian friends’ families but, seeing as how I was just a child, I probably just spent the entire day playing in flour and making up songs about animals instead of pinching 6 months worth of damned perogies shut. The thing I remember most about these experiences was the inevitable disappointment in the various Ukrainian grandmothers’ faces when finally, after the all perogies were prepared, boiled and ready to eat, I would contort my face into a perfect look of disgust and exclaim, Yuck, I’m not eating those! I hate perogies!

Yes, I was that bastard of a child who was extremely picky about what I ate. I had a special hatred for mashed potatoes and yet, despite my protests, they would find their way onto my plate almost every night – only adding buttery fuel to my potato fire. I clearly remember stuffing mashed potatoes in the pockets of my pants when I thought my parents weren’t looking and then excusing myself to go to the bathroom in order to flush them down the toilet. Clever girl.

So, you can see why I didn’t like perogies. I saw that they were made with a potato-like substance and that was enough for an asshole kid such as myself to decide Nope, not for me. Then I grew up and somehow married a Ukrainian who loves perogies almost as much as he loves ham (this guy LOVES HAM). Needless to say, store bought frozen perogies became a staple in our house and, at some point, I decided to silence my childhood hatred for all things mashed and give them another try.

The verdict? Well, I decided I liked them, of course. Boiled perogies still make me want to barf – sorry if that’s the way you prefer them (you disgusting weirdo). I need ’em fried up in grease and coated in delicious onions and then I will devour them like the green hungry hippo that I am. Once, in an amazing veggie restaurant in Toronto, I had them slathered in vegan gravy, cheese curds, and green onions and my life was changed forever. I swear I saw perogie God that day.

(Sadly, when I typed ‘perogie god’ into google no hilarious images came up. Jessi’s imagination one: Internet zero. That’s right internet, ZERO! What have you done for anyone?!)

Anyway, these two different types of perogies are probably a bit upper crust for the Ukrainian grandmas from my childhood – but who cares? You can always class them down by pairing them with a fourty of Olde English – mmmm….. it tastes so cost effective!

I used two different types of dough, just to see which one I liked better, but they were roughly the same. If you are vegan, or if you like to eat vegan as often as you can, check out this recipe for vegan perogies from Post Punk Kitchen.

These perogies can be eaten right after they are boiled or, my preference, you can fry them up and serve them with caramalized onions (recipe below).

P.S. If you choose to freeze them make sure that you freeze them individually before throwing them in a freezer bag together, otherwise they will stick together and be a hot mess.

A word to the wise: Break this task into a two day process. On the first day make the filling (including the oils), and then make the dough and allow it to sit in the fridge overnight. I found this made for easier handling and rolling of the dough. The next day you can fill, pinch, boil and freeze which, trust me, takes a really long time.

We ended up with roughly 140 perogies (70 of each type).

Rosemary Yam Perogies

Perogie Dough

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups all -purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

1) In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg lightly. Add in the sour cream and combine until smooth. Whisk into this mixture the milk and water. Add the flour, one cup at a time, transferring to a wooden spoon when batter starts to get thick. Combine the salt with the last cup of flour, and add it to the dough (this will make sure that the salt is evenly distributed to the dough).

2) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (at this point the dough will be quite sticky). Knead gently, adding flour if needed, for five to 10 minutes. The dough will come together as you knead, and I found that I had to add quite a bit of flour in order to get it more manageable. Apparently, the amount of flour you will need to add will vary depending on your climate.

3) Roll the dough into a ball and place into clean bowl in the fridge – Let sit for at least one hour (I suggest you prepare this dough the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight).

Filling

  • 3 large Yams
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 125 g of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
    Sriracha(to taste)

Rosemary Oil

  • loads of rosemary, chopped (to taste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of finely minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons of grapeseed or other neutral oil

1) Peel and wash yams and cut into one inch pieces. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and boil yams for 20 mins – drain. In a large boil combine butter, cream cheese and salt.

2) While yams are cooking heat oil in a frying pan until shimmery. Add chopped rosemary and shallots and fry for one minute. Remove from heat.

3) Add cooked yams to butter, cheese and salt mixture and mash together. Stir in rosemary oil and sriracha. Using an ice-cream scoop, portion out the yam mash and cut each scoop in half.

 3) After one hour (or whenever you are ready if you made it the night before), divide the dough evenly into four pieces (or more if you are working with a small amount of space). Re-cover three pieces and place the fourth on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 1/8-inch round (or, if you are awesome and you have a pasta machine, use that instead).

4) Using a 3-inch cutter or an upside down glass, cut circles out of the dough.

5) Place a small spoonful of filling near the top of each circle, and fold the dough over in half to cover the filling. Gently pick up the crescent and pinch the edges closed. This requires some skill, and all of mine ended up looking stupid, but tasting delicious. I found that lightly wetting the edges with water helped to make a better seal. Repeat with the rest of the dough, re-rolling the scraps and cutting more circles.

6) As you are shaping the perogies, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When water is boiling, place eight to twelve perogies in the water. They will sink to the bottom, so stir gently to avoid sticking. When the perogies rise to the top of the water, cook for a few more minutes. I found that a total of 5 minutes in the water was perfect. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean tray lined with a silpat or parchment.

7) After all the perogies are boiled, heat a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat. Place one tablespoon of butter in the pan and allow to melt and get hot. Cook the pieorgi in batches, frying lightly for one to two minutes, on each side. Add more butter when necessary. Serve with caramelized onions and serve with sour cream.

*If you do not want to cook all perogies at once, freeze individually. When cooking frozen perogies, boil pierogi straight from the freezer – do not thaw.

 Potato Cheddar Perogies

Perogie Dough

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of water

1) Combine flour, salt sour cream, egg and water in a large bowl. Mix until dough comes together. If dough is dry, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s moist and springy. If the dough is sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s smooth.

2) On a floured work surface, knead dough for 3 or 4 minutes until elastic. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling

  • 6 large yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fried shallots
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups shredded old cheddar

Green Onion Oil

  • 1/2 bunch of green onionsfinely sliced
  • 1 small knob of gingerfinely minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon each of finely minced garlic and shallots
  • 2 tablespoons of grapeseed or other neutral oil
    1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil1) Peel wash and boil potatoes for 20 mins. While potatoes are cooking, heat oil until shimmering in a small fry pan. Add green onions, shallots and garlic. Cook for one minute and then remove from heat – add sesame oil. Once potatoes are finished cooking, drain. In separate bowl combine mashed potatoes, cheddar, butter and green onion oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

2) Prepare perogies as indicated in the recipe above. Boil, fry and serve with caramelized onions.

Caramelized Onions

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 lbs sweet onions (Vidalia or Walla Walla), diced medium

I was told this is kind of an art, and what is most important is not to rush it! This recipe was taken from Post Punk Kitchen. “Since the onions can be left alone for intervals, start them before starting the dough, then take breaks from kneading the dough to stir the onions. The basic idea here is to sweat the onions, which means you’ll be gently cooking them, covered over low heat, and a lot of the cooking will be done from the steam as the moisture is released. You’re coaxing the sweetness out of them and locking it in. It looks like a lot of onion, and it is, but everything will cook down to manageable proportions, I promise. If you’ve never tasted caramelized onions, you might be surprised that an onion is even capable of this deep, sweet complexity, and with only two ingredients flavor.”

1) “Preheat a heavy bottomed skillet, preferably cast iron, skillet over low heat. Add the oil and the onions and toss the onions to coat. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, leaving a little gap for steam to escape [mine took about 40 minutes]. Stir occasionally, every 5 minutes or so. Onions should turn a nice mellow amber, but not burn, although a couple of darker spots are fine.”

2) “Remove the cover and turn the heat up just a bit, to a medium setting. Stir often for 10 more minutes. Onions should become a darker amber, and some of the moisture should evaporate.”

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