This is a classic Ukrainian varenyky (vareniki) recipe. The potatoes and cheese filling for vareniki (pierogi) is very popular in the Western Ukraine. However, it’s not so popular in the eastern part of our country.
Do you know anyone who doesn’t love hot, just boiled home-made varenyky? I don’t! Some would think it’s as easy as abc. All they need is to knead dough, wrap stuffing into it, boil, and that’s it. They are almost right :).
The ‘right’ dough is one of the most important moments in cooking varenyky. No matter how tasty the stuffing is, stiff dough may spoil the taste. The major secret of tasty and soft dough, believe it or not, is less egg, because eggs as they bind the dough, both strengthen and stiffen it.
Another crucial point is to roll the dough pieces thin. And finally, water for kneading dough should be hot. Yes, in many (especially in old) recipes of Ukrainian varenyky it is recommended to add cold water, justifying it with the fact that dough gets dried slower but as a result it becomes too stiff. I put dough into a plastic bag and it doesn’t get dried too quickly. And just made varenyky should be boiled immediately.
Ingredients for Varenyky Dough
3 glasses (cups) wheat flour
0.75 glass (cup) warm water
0.5 tsp salt
Ingredients for Varenyky Filling
400 g (~1 lb) cottage cheese
400 g (~1 lb) cooked boiled potatoes
oil for frying
|Stir cottage cheese with salt. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Then mash them.|
|Mix cheese with potatoes. Fry onion in oil and add it to the stuffing.|
|Put flour onto the tabletop, make a hole and add an egg.|
|Pour little boiling-hot water. You may use hot milk or hot potato broth instead.|
|Start kneading carefully.|
|Add water gradually and stir with hands.|
|Continue stirring until dough stops sticking to hands and becomes homogeneous. You may add more flour if needed.|
|Then wrap the dough into a plastic bag and leave for 20 min. It will be more elastic then.|
|Divide the dough into several parts. Take one part of dough and leave the rest in the bag. Roll a cylinder, cut it into parts, and dredge them with flour.|
|Roll out the pieces with a rolling pin.|
|Put the filling into it.|
|Put them onto the surface scattered with flour.|
|Put them onto the surface scattered with flour. Boil varenyky in small batches (20-30 pieces, depending on the size of the pot ) in hot boiling salted water. Having put varenyky into a saucepan, remember to stir them with care touching the bottom saucepan with a spoon or a turner for varenyky not to stick to its sides. I usually stir varenyky with a wooden turner. When you take them out, pour out all the water and add butter or sour cream thereto.|
Serve the varenyky hot dressed with sour cream or fried onion. Уou can also try serving it with Ukrainian shkvarky, which is almost the same as fried bakon, but made of salo.
Bon appetit or, as we say in Ukraine, smachnoho!