Tuesday, July 5, 2011

RECIPE: Perogies

Also spelled pierogi, perogi, pierogy, pierógi, pyrohy, or pyrogy--and also called varenyky (mostly amongst Canadian Ukrainians)--perogies are a tradition in my mother's family.  We're not Ukrainian, but we are Canadians from the Mennonite tradition.  There are some Russian passports somewhere that prove we came through Russia around the time of the Tsars (I think?  I should check my facts.  Oh well.), which explains the eastern-European dishes that make up a good part of our tradition.


Well, perhaps without the awesome music and dancing.

Oh Toni, I'm thinking of you right now.


This whole perogy saga began when my housemate (who shall remain nameless, but is not Jackie) overcooked our yogurt.  In truth, we're not really sure what happened with the yogurt.  All we know is ... when the time came to unveil the culture in the morning, it was completely cold and liquid ... just as if we'd dumped dehydrated milk into a bunch of water and let it sit overnight.  Said housemate consulted the Powers That Be and came to the novel conclusion that she might not have baked the culture, after all.  So we baked it ... again.  Only, this time the result was much more like cottage cheese than yogurt.

At our wit's end, we decided to start over.

But I'm a Mennonite--kind of.  I don't throw food away unless it is truly bad.  Neither does my housemate.  So we kept the cottage cheese-like culture.  And all day long, I schemed on how to use it.  I only came up with one option:


After work, I got down to the real business of life--food!


1 3/4 cottage cheese ( / overcooked yogurt)
2 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly chopped basil, sage, and other garden herbs


3 cups all-purpose flour (I substituted in a cup of whole-wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/8 cups cold water


1.  In a medium bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, egg yolks, and salt. Set aside.

(SIDE NOTE: Unless, miraculously, you manage to find dry curd cottage cheese, you will have to strain your cottage cheese before mixing into the filling.  I use a doubled-up paper towel to squeeze the liquid out of a small portion of the cottage cheese at a time, taking care to be extremely gentle while compressing the bundle.)

2.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Pour in the vegetable oil and cold water, and mix or knead into a smooth dough.

3.  Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface, and cut into 3 inch circles using a glass, can, or cookie cutter.  Place a spoonful of the cottage cheese filling onto each circle.  Fold in half, and pinch the edges together to seal.  If you have a perogy maker, good for you.  I do not, but I'm sure it would have helped reduce the fiddly bits of this recipe.

4.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Carefully drop the perogies into the water, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or until they float.  I found that mine needed to cook longer, probably because the filling was still somewhat wet.  Remove from water with a slotted spoon, and place on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet to drain excess water.

5.  Heat a little olive oil in a pan to medium heat.  Fry perogies on both sides until lightly browned.

6.  Serve hot, creamy brown sauce optional.  I fail at sauces, so I eat mine plain.  And they are delicious!

7.  Freeze remaining (unfried) perogies in ziplocs in freezer.  They will stay good for a very long time.  To heat, simply fry up in a pan like you would fresh perogies.

Welcome to the family!

Oh yes, and this made around 25 perogies.


  1. These look really good!!!!! I don't like cottage cheese, but I find it's great baked into things. :-)

  2. Uh somehow missed this, but must make!