Traditional Ukrainian Perogy Dough Recipe
With all that is currently going on in the world, specifically between Russia and the Ukraine, I felt that I should post this traditional Ukrainian Perogy Dough recipe, along with a variety of fillings, both savory and sweet. The majority of traditional Ukrainian dishes are directly descended from ancient peasant dishes which were based on plentiful grain resources of the area. Staple vegetables such as potato, cabbage, beetroot and mushroom are plentiful in their recipes, and grains such as rye is common as well.
The most common dish that almost everyone relates to Ukraine is the traditional Perogy or Vareniki. Which can be made either sweet or savory, depending on the filling.
I am not Ukrainian, but for as long as I can remember my mom made Ukrainian food. My brother dated and eventually married a very traditional young Ukrainian girl and this is probably when and why my mom decided to start making Ukrainian food. As I mentioned before, my mom owned and operated a few small local restaurants in the city I grew up in. Me and my siblings (well, most of them) worked for her at one point or another and one thing I remember vividly, is that Thursday’s “Special” was always Borcht and a perogy platter. There were usually lines out the door at lunchtime on any given day, but Thursday’s were especially busy. Everyone (especially the regular customers) knew that they could count on homemade Borcht and homemade perogies with all of the usual accompaniments. They were delicious and we would go through hundreds of perogies every Thursday. This was the only day you could get them, as they were a “special” and not on the regular menu. My brother was already dating his then girlfriend, and I think my mom learned her perogy recipe from her (my brother’s girlfriend) mom. And the rest, as they say is history. It started with perogy and she just kept on learning and perfecting every Ukrainian dish she wanted to. From ornamental doves made from bread, to cabbage rolls (Holubtsi) and everything in between. My siblings and I all loved any and all Ukrainian food, we used to joke that we were turning Ukrainian! I don’t care if I am not Ukrainian, their traditional food is delicious and worth trying and sharing.
My daughter now even has learned to make the perogy dough (and filling) recipe, so she can make it for herself while she’s away at University. Like I said before, she’s more of a baker than a cook, but when she feels homesick and wants a hearty and heartwarming meal that’s not too expensive for a poor student’s budget, this perogy recipe fits the bill! Try them, you will probably agree. Now, going to the store and buying a bag of frozen perogies is not a bad thing either, especially for those nights when you have to pull together a family meal (or for yourself) in a hurry, but if you have the time and the patience for these, I am confident that you will agree, they are much better than store bought. I do buy store bought ones, so I am not a purist, but the home made ones are so much better. Fill them with your favorite fillings and freeze some for another meal (or 10), and you won’t regret it. Some of the traditional fillings are Potato, Potato and cheese (either cottage cheese or cheddar cheese) , Sauerkraut, which are savory and Prune or Plum (sweet), or Poppy Seed (sweet). Follow the links to get to these filling recipes.
Varenyky (Perogy) Dough
- 1 ½ Cups water
- 3 Tbsp. cooking oil
- 1 egg
- 4½ cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- Combine water, oil and egg and blend well. Then add flour and salt. Knead dough, adding the last cup of flour until smooth and soft. Put in a lightly-oiled bowl, and cover. Let dough rest for 20 minutes.
- Roll out on a floured surface (split the dough into manageable portions and keep the remaining covered if you prefer to work with smaller amounts). Roll out thinner than you would for a pie crust, and cut out with a round cookie cutter into 2 – 2½ ” circles. Put approximately a tsp. of your prepared filling on each circle. Fold over forming a half circle and pinch the edges together with your fingers to seal in the filling. Place perogy on a clean tea dry towel (if using parchment lined baking sheet then add flour to the top of the parchment otherwise they will stick) while making them.
- Drop into a pot of boiling water (or freeze for later). Do not cook too many at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon a few times to prevent sticking to the bottom. When cooked they will float to the top, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander to drain thoroughly. Place in a a deep dish and sprinkle generously with melted butter. Toss very gently to coat the varenyky evenly with butter and prevent them from sticking.If freezing, then place perogies (verenyky) on a parchment lined baking sheet which has been lightly dusted with flour to prevent sticking, and freeze for 2 hours or overnight. Once frozen, place perogies in freezer bags for later use.
- Serve with sour cream and/or friend diced onions sautêd in butter until golden.