Friday, January 4, 2013

Perogies for Christmas Dinner

For Christmas dinner this year, we decided that it would be a real treat to make perogies from scratch! I have fond childhood memories preparing perogies with my family near the holidays. Half of my family heritage is Ukranian (the other half is Scottish!), so eating perogies around Christmastime was a family tradition. We would make large batches and it would take all afternoon to make them! This Christmas was my first time making them in my own kitchen. It did end up taking all afternoon to make the perogies (and the pasta that we made), but it was definitely worth it. We also ended up having several batches to freeze for future lunches and dinners.

We also baked this pasta for Christmas dinner - Tofu Baked Pasta - it was a favorite from when we first made it and it went perfectly with the perogies. This was definitely a warm and hearty holiday meal!

The recipe for the perogies came from the Post Punk Kitchen website. I followed the recipe exactly, except I didn't make the caramelized onions that were suggested. Instead, we decided to go with our own sauteed spicy onions and mushrooms to put on top.

We also didn't fry them after boiling them, we just served them boiled as a healthier option. You are welcome to fry them up after boiling them for a crispier fried taste!

We doubled this recipe to make approximately 60 perogies - the recipe below makes 30 perogies.

For the Dough:
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour (plus a little extra for sprinkling)
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1/4 cup canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoons salt
Make the filling:
In a medium sized pot, cover potatoes in water. Place a lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer and cook for about 15 more minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, sautée the onions in oil over medium heat for about 7 minutes. Turn the heat off but stir occasionally even when the heat is turned off because they could still burn from the hot pan. When the potatoes are done boiling, drain them well and add them to the pan with the onions. Just mashed them right in there with a potato masher, that way you are sure to get all the flavor. Add the salt and pepper. Make sure potatoes are mashed well and fluffy. Set aside to cool a bit.

To make the dough:
Pour the water and oil into a large bowl. Add 2 cups of flour and the salt, keeping one cup aside. Use a fork to stir the flour in, and as it starts to come together, use your hands to knead until a loose dough forms (about 3 minutes.)

Sprinkle your counter with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and knead. Add the reserved cup of flour a little bit at a time, working it into the dough, until it is very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If it’s too sticky, you can add a little bit more flour and knead it in, sometimes up to 1/4 cup extra. Conversely, if you get a good- feeling, smooth, elastic dough that isn’t tacky with less less than the extra cup of flour, then that’s okay, too.

Now we roll the dough out, and also bring a salted pot of water to boil to cook the perogies.

Divide the dough in half and make sure your counter is clean and sprinkled with a dusting of flour to prevent sticking. Roll half the dough out to about 1/16 of an inch thick, which is to say, very thin but not see through. Sprinkle the top with a light dusting of flour.

To make the circles: I use the top of a glass that is 3 1/2 inches, but somewhere between 3 1/2 and 4 inches is perfect. Have ready a lightly floured plate to place the finished circles on, and go ahead and firmly press your glass or cookie cutter into the dough, as close together as you can. Pull the excess dough up and set aside. Place circles on the floured plate. Combine the excess doughs and see if you can get a few more wrappers out of the deal.

Fill the dough with the filling: Make sure your pot of water is rapidly boiling. Have a small bowl of water for wetting the edges of the wrappers. Place about a tablespoon of filling into the center of a circle and dab water around the circumference of the circle. Fold the edges of the wrapper over filling and pinch in the middle to hold together. Pinch down the sides so that you have a sealed half moon. Don't stuff them too full or else the filling will come out of the edges.

Cook the perogies: Gently lower the perogies into a pot of boiling water. When they float they are ready. If for some reason they aren’t floating, it takes about 5 minutes for them to cook.

Make the topping: Slice an onion into thin slices and cut up some mushroom. Put a little bit of oil in a frying pan and let it heat up. Put the onion and the mushroom into the frying pan, and shake on some cayenne pepper (or other hot spice). Mix it all together and saute for 5-8 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Top the perogies with the spicy onions/mushrooms and you're done! You can also serve with vegan sour cream if you'd like!

This recipe turned out great and brought all of those great childhood memories back for me! I think it will become a new Christmas tradition of mine...and maybe other times of the year when I feel up to making them! It is always nice to have a quick go-to dinner ready in the freezer, especially something as yummy as perogies!

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