Note: This post has been updated as of January 2014 with new photography!
Who knew something so simple could be so hard?
And so much work, for that matter.
So this month has been nuts, especially for work. On top of that, My Other Half and I have been away two weekends. And I was away for a week for work. So needless to say I had fallen behind significantly on my Book Club reading. Not to mention I left the book in My Other Half’s car for a week by accident. Anyway, Book Club was this weekend and I was scrambling to read almost 200 pages in order to be prepared for the meeting.
I also had to bring my potluck item. As I hunted through my Canadian Living magazines (of which I have now received six… yay!) I stumbled upon a special section on perogies. These are something I only recently (in the past few years) have been exposed to. I find them yummy, but often bland. Anyway, I found a recipe for cheddar cheese perogies, which I thought sounded delicious. So I decided to set about making them.
My biggest mistake: not listening to Roomie and My Long Lost Friend when they told me I was being overly ambitious. They both knew how much I had to do this weekend (on top of basically reading an entire novel) and they warned me that they’d be a lot of work, and were surprised I was attempting them for the first time. Obviously I ignored their warnings – perogies taste so simple, so how could they be that hard?
Well, I was wrong. They are not only difficult to master and make pretty, but they are very time consuming. I’ll break down the process into steps:
1. Make the dough
2. Boil the potatoes/make the insides
3. Roll out the dough and cut into circles
4. Fill each with potato mixture and pinch around the sides
5. Boil the perogies
6. Cover perogies with melted butter so they don’t stick together
7. Fry the perogies with oil/butter and onions (and bacon, if you want)
That is a lot of work just for some mashed potatoes in pastry! Granted, they were delicious. And were gone within minutes at book club. But I seriously warn you – don’t try them unless you have a rainy day ahead of you! Here’s how to make perogies.
Cheddar Cheese Perogies
Adapted from Canadian Living
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) water, (approx)
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
1 onion, sliced
1 lb (454 g) russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
1/3 cup (75 mL) finely chopped onion
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
In large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes; drain and transfer to large bowl. Mash well.
In bowl, whisk flour with salt. Whisk together egg, water and oil; stir into flour mixture, adding up to 2 tbsp more water if needed to make soft but not sticky dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, about 10 times. Halve dough; cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
While dough is sitting, melt butter in frying pan. Cook onion until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Add to potatoes. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Working with 1 portion of dough at a time and keeping remainder covered, roll out on lightly floured surface to scant 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness. Using 3-inch (8 cm) round cutter, cut into rounds. Place 1 tsp filling on each round. Lightly moisten edge of half of the round with water; fold over filling and pinch edges together to seal. Place on flour-dusted cloth; cover with tea towel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling, rerolling scraps, to make 36 perogies. At this point, you can freeze the perogies using wax paper and a ziplock or Tupperware container.
If you want to eat them now, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook perogies, in batches and stirring gently, until floating and tender, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove to colander to drain. In skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook onion until golden, about 8 minutes. Add perogies; cook until golden.
I think these are better than any perigees I’ve ever had. We went a little heavy on the cheese, though. They really did taste delicious. Next up… Cottage Cheese Perogies! (At least it’s something I can eat when Lent starts and I go vegetarian!)