Monday, January 3, 2011

Not Your Baba's Perogies: Because They are Aunty Vel's Perogies

Pan fried perogies with keilbassa, sauerkraut and sour cream...YUM!

Having been raised on the Prairies in a community with oh so many Ukrainians, perogies are everywhere! The local churches and legions hold fundraising suppers.....wait for it......all you can eat perogie fundraising suppers!! You show up, you pay under 10 dollars, you eat perogies. Absolutely nothing wrong with that! Unless you have the same problem I do where it conjures up visions of a perogie sweat shop filled with cute little babushkaed Babas cranking out perogies. Perogies are serious business on the Prairies! I even looked it up and found the website talking about it. Click HERE for the website. According to this website, I live in Perogy City so don't even get me started on the cabbage rolls and perishky scene.

I have been wanting to make perogies again for quite some time. They can be labour intensive, which is why they are so often done it groups. Perogies also store so well in the freezer and a great to cook up for a quick meal (or a snack if you are the Boy). There happens to be a perogie place right by the high school and the boy will often stop to get a dozen perogies to tide him over on his walk home! For this perogie making day of mine I looked around and asked around for people's recipes. I remember using a recipe that had sour cream in the dough but I couldn't find that recipe but Aunty Vel came through with one I hadn't tried yet so I went with that one. Thank you Aunty Vel! She was so right. This dough comes out so soft and forgiving. It really is so easy to work with.

Perogy making is best broken down into steps. The fillings need to be made and chilled. There are so many different fillings for perogies, it would probably be impossible to count them all. Potato and cheese is one of the most popular, so is sauerkraut but dessert fillings as well as meat fillings are also delectable. I have decided to go with potato cheese and sauerkraut. There are some recipes that require the dough to rest overnight but this recipe calls for a 10 minute rest.

Start with making the fillings. I would tell you to use leftover mashed potatoes but in my house leftover mashed potatoes rarely happens. Also, I rarely peel my potatoes but here you will need to peel them. Remember to save ½ cup mashed potatoes for the dough!

Potato cheese filling

2 cups cold mashed potatoes
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 to 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I like to use the full 1 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste

Basically, combine, mix, and stir together until all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside until ready to assemble the perogies.

Sauerkraut Filling

3 cups sauerkraut.
1 onion, chopped
4 tbsp bacon fat or butter
2 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a colander, rinse the sauerkraut and squeeze dry. (To squeeze dry, place the rinsed sauerkraut in the centre of a clean tea towel, bring up the sides and wring out over the sink.)

In a sauté pan, melt the bacon fat or butter and cook the chopped onion until tender.

Add the sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook over low heat for 15 minutes until the sauerkraut is tender.

Chill before assembling perogies.
(Some people also like to add some crumbled bacon to the sauerkraut, which of course I did!)

Perogie dough

½ cup cold mashed potatoes
2 tbsp shortening
2 egg yolks
½ cup lukewarm water
1 ¾ cup flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
¼ cup flour

Mix the mashed potatoes, shortening, and egg yolks together.

Keep mixing so the shortening, egg yolks, and potatoes are all thoroughly combined.

Add the lukewarm water and beat well. At this point the mixture will not look pretty. You will think you have done something wrong but don't fret. It will all pull together.
Sift the flour, cream of tartar, and the salt together then stir into the mashed potato mixture. This forms a soft, sticky dough.

Add the last ¼ cup of flour in 2 tbsp additions until the dough does not stick to your fingers. (Add more flour in 1 tbsp portions if needed) The dough will be very soft.

Knead the dough lightly then set aside and cover with a tea towel to let it rest for 10 minutes.

This is a good time to set up your assembly area. (Clear off some counter space or move the operation to the kitchen table.)

Roll out the dough until you think it is too thin. Use a drinking glass to cut out rounds of dough. Continue to roll and cut until there is no dough. Keep already cut circles lightly floured and covered with a clean tea towel.

Scoop 1 tbsp portions onto one half of a dough circle and fold the other half over so the edges meet.

Pinch the edges well to seal. (Use a touch of water on the edge to help the dough seal)

Drop a few perogies at a time into a large pot of salted boiling water. Boil 3 to 4 minutes stirring gently to keep them from sticking to each other. Perogies will puff slightly and float when done.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain thoroughly.

Perogies have a tendency to stick together so keep them separate both before and after you have boiled them. A touch of oil or melted butter on the pan helps keep them from sticking as well.
Lay out on a baking sheet in one layer and freeze until solid. Once frozen solid, transfer to zip top freezer bags and put back in the freezer.

Panfry with butter or bacon fat and onions. Perogies are best served with kielbasa, sauerkraut, and a dollop of sour cream on the side!

Assembly is a great group project, one person can roll and cut dough circles, another person can scoop the fillings and seal the perogies, another person can boil the perogies....there is always a job for someone!

And now...the 1st episode of Little Kitchen on the Prairie courtesy of Wild Horse Jack Productions! Enjoy!


  1. Those look absolutely fantastic! I am already considering a group of people to 'teach' (see: assist) how to make these!

  2. wow, they look amazing. Happy new year to both of you! Giorgia & Cyril

  3. i have never seen perogies with a sauerkraut filling, they sound amazing! I had no idea that they were so popular in your area of Canada. Thanks so much for such a great post!

  4. Boy would I love to be a guest at your table! I have never had these homemade just the frozen kinds..and absolutely love have inspired me to try these potato ones... amazing I cant get over it fabulous job here cant wait to try them bookmarking!

  5. Can you tell me what the purpose is for the cream of tartar in the dough?

    1. The cream of tartar helps stabilize the dough and keeps it together. This link helps explain it a bit better.


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