The weather’s cooled again, there’s the Olympics to watch on the telly – it’s the perfect time to make perogies! If you’re not familiar with these eastern European dumplings, you’re in for a treat. These boiled dumplings are usually stuffed with potato, sauerkraut, meat, cheese, mushrooms or even fruit for a sweet version. Sometimes they’re even fried after they’ve been boiled.

Perogies

I grew up with them in Canada – it was immigrants who brought it over the Atlantic. Bags of frozen ones are easily found in most supermarkets and they are cooked up easily and they’re what I remember eating at home as a treat. (I’ve read that they’re also popular in the States though I’m not sure how available they are.) The most popular filling in Canada (and Poland) is potato and cheese. While fresh white cheese would be used in Poland (and what’s found in the frozen sections of Polish shops here), in Canada cheddar is the cheese of choice. I had to make them at home, I missed them so (don’t get me started on the bags of frozen hash browns you cannot get here in London).

Perogies

Of course, these far surpassed any of the frozen ones we used to get. I made a filling of potato, cheddar cheese and fried onions and tried a perogy dough recipe I found online. After boiling them, I tossed them with fried onions and bacon, just as my mother used to serve them (and apparently the way they also serve them in Poland). Homemade is the way to go!

Potato and Cheddar Perogies
adapted from this Canadian Living recipe.
makes about 40-45.

For the dough
3 cups (750ml) plain flour
1.5 tsp salt
1 egg
175 ml water
4 tsp sunflower oil

For the filling
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
100g mature yellow cheddar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping
100g lardons
2 medium-large onions, sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sunflower oil

To make the dough, mix together all the dough ingredients and then knead the mixture until smooth. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

For the filling, first boil the potatoes as you would to make mash. While the potatoes are boiling, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat and fry the chopped onion until they’re just starting to turn golden. Set aside. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and mash them and let them cool. When cool, mix in the onions and grated cheddar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To form the perogies, roll out a portion of dough thinly (less than 2mm thick) and cut out 3 inch rounds. On each round, place a teaspoon of filling, moisten the edges with a dab of water and fold in half, pressing the edges together to seal. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Don’t stack the perogies at this stage but place them in a single layer on a tea towel without their touching each other.

Perogies, Ready for Cooking

Create the topping. Heat the butter and sunflower oil together in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and fry until golden. Add the lardons and continue cooking until the lardons are browning as are the onions. Set aside and keep warm.

Set a large pot of water to the boil. When the water is boiling, place about 6-8 perogies into the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the perogies float. Drain with a slotted spoon and mix them with the topping. Repeat until all the perogies are cooked and all are mixed together with the onions and bacon. (You can also fry the boiled perogies together with the onion and bacon.) Serve, with some sour cream/crème fraîche on the side if desired.

The uncooked perogies can be frozen (individually, so they don’t stick to each other) and cooked from frozen later.

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