I love it when I can cook something that impresses other people. I love to hear exclamations of, "Oh wow, this must have taken you all day!" or, "I heard that these are so hard to make!" And I just smile modestly and say, "Oh, it's not thaaaat hard."
But really. Perogies are NOT that hard. You'll be shocked by how easy they are to prepare and how hard they are to screw up.
When I expressed an interest in making them, the first thing that R did was call Baba Luba. She gave us the base for the recipe and we ad-libbed the rest. Luba was especially vague this time around, and basically just said, "Some flour, a little bit of oil, a little salt.... Mix it up, roll it out."
Here's a more precise version of Luba's recipe. These measurements will make about 2 dozen perogies. These have the same qualities as a lot of the Jewish recipes I've come across since starting this blog: They freeze wonderfully, and they seem to get tastier when they sit in the fridge for a few days. So make lots, because chances are that they won't even make it to the freezer. They disappear FAST.
First, the potato-cheese filling:
Ingredients: 5-6 medium sized potatoes (I used yukon gold) 1 cup grated medium or old cheddar cheese 1/2 onion, diced 1 1/2 tsp salt A pinch of pepper
Method: 1. Peel and chop the potatoes into small chunks. 2. Place them in a pot and fill the pot until the potatoes are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. 3. In the meantime, fry the onions and grate the cheese. 4. When the potatoes are done, drain them and mash them in a bowl with the onion and cheese. Mix in the salt and pepper. 5. Place in the fridge to cool while you're making the dough.
Note: R also made some blueberry filling and we stuffed a few with that. He simmered some blueberries in butter, then added some vanilla vodka and allowed that to reduce a bit. It smelled heavenly!
Next, the dough:
Ingredients: 5 cups of all purpose flour 2 tsp of salt 4 eggs 1/3 cup canola oil 1 cup warm water
Method: 1. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt together. 2. In another bowl, beat the eggs well and then add the canola oil and warm water and mix again. 3. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture about 1/2 a cup at a time, mixing constantly, until all of the liquid mixture is combined. The dough should feel soft and slightly elastic. It shouldn't be gloopy at all. If it is, add more flour.
Now, the assembly:
1. On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it's slightly thinner than corrugated cardboard. It's best if there isn't TOO much flour, since you'll need to roll it out again (see 2nd step), and adding flour makes the dough tougher each time. 2. Using a drinking glass as a guide, cut the dough into circles. When you have no space to cut more circles, bunch the dough up and roll it out again. Keep doing this until you've got no dough left. 3. Take the first circle and roll it out so that its diameter is increased by about an inch. You don't want it to be paper thin because it may rip while you're boiling it, but if it's too thick it will feel chewy. 4. Place about 1 1/2 tbsp of the filling inside, then fold the circle in half and pinch the sides closed. After you've done this a few times you'll get an idea of just how much filling you can stuff into your perogies and you might want to try putting a bit more than 1 1/2 tbsp. 5. Boil a pot of water and when it has come to a rolling boil, drop your perogies into the water. They're ready to be taken out when they start to float.
At this point you could choose to eat them as they are, but I like to fry mine in a bit of canola oil. It's best to do this over medium to low heat so that they don't stick to the pan.
See how easy it is? Go on, try it out and impress your friends!