I am pleased to be part of the 3rd annual Pittsburgh Guest-Blogger Event! This event is otherwise know as The Great Pittsburgh Blog Swap of 2015. Today’s blog post comes from the talented team of Fox and Michael from the blog 101 Achievements. You can see my post over on In Pursuit of Simple where I share with all of you my reason why I will not be getting the mother of the year award.
Michael and Fox from 101 Achievements here; we are so thrilled to be guest blogging on Nicky D Cooks for The Great Pittsburgh Blog Swap of 2015!
We’d like to share one of our favorite “peasant foods” that we often make for our families. That food is homemade Ukrainian-style perohi, better known around Pittsburgh as pierogies.
While most ‘Burghers know that you can put pretty much anything you want into a pierogie, we make our pierogies for Christmas Eve and the Lenten season, which in the Ukrainian tradition are meatless. So, we use Fox’s Baba’s recipe to make a potato-and-cheese pierogie, as well as a prune pierogie.
Now, before you get grossed out over prune-stuffed pierogies, just trust us that they’re a delicious, desserty counterpart to your typical savory pierogie.
A word of warning before we begin: if you embark upon this adventure, it’s important to note that pierogie making is an all-day affair. The recipe we’re sharing makes between 6 and 8 dozen pierogies, depending on how thinly you roll your dough; that’s a lot of pinching, boiling, and frying. The more family members you can recruit to help, the faster, easier, and more fun this process will be. In addition to the two of us, our assembly group has included our mother, grandmother, aunt, cousins, and occasionally a father (whose pierogies resemble a handlebar mustache more than your typical pillow of dough).
We often prepare the dough and the filling ahead of time, as that alone can take quite a while. For the filling, there are a variety of cheeses that you can use; Fox’s Baba always used Velveeta cheese block, though, and even as die-hard buy-fresh-buy-local folk, that’s what we still use to this day.
• 24oz farmer’s dry cottage cheese
• 2 eggs
• 2 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1-1/2 tsp salt
• 4 cups flour
Potato filling ingredients:
• 1 1-1/2 pound jar sauerkraut
• 1 small onion
• ½ stick of butter
• 7-8 medium potatoes
• ½ pound Velveeta cheese block (or roughly 8-10 slices of American cheese)
Prune filling ingredients:
• 7oz dried prunes
• 2 sticks butter
• 1 large chopped onion
To make dough: stir and mix up the cottage cheese until it is reasonably smooth (it will still have some fine lumps). Beat eggs, oil, and salt into the cheese. Gradually add flour. After three cups, the dough may be dry enough to roll. Reserve the remainder of the flour for rolling the dough out.
Dust a flat surface and a rolling pin with flour; roll out the dough to about 1/16th of an inch thickness. Cut the dough into circles—the mouth of a pint beer glass is the perfect size to do your cutting.
To make potato filling: pour sauerkraut into a colander and rinse with cold water to take out some of the excess salt. Place drained sauerkraut in a pot. Saute a small onion in butter. Add butter and onions to the pot containing the sauerkraut. Add water to the pot until it reaches the top of the sauerkraut. Simmer until most of the water evaporates—the kraut should be soft, not crunchy like when first out of the jar. Drain well. Peel and boil the potatoes until soft; drain and begin mashing. Slice the cheese into 8 to 10 chunks and stir into mashed potatoes. Add sauerkraut-onion mixture and stir until everything is blended. Allow filling to cool.
To make prune filling: add dried prunes into a pot and fill pot with water until tops of prunes are covered. Simmer gently until prunes are soft. Cook out most of the water and let prunes cool until they are comfortable to touch.
Assembly: fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. In a separate pan, melt two sticks of butter. Chop a large onion and fry it in the butter; remove from heat when onions soften. Take a circle of dough and fill with either a small scoop of potato mixture, or one prune. Fold dough and pinch the edges, forming a complete seal.
If the dough has begun to dry, dip your fingertips in water before pinching. Repeat until you have about 1 dozen uncooked perohi. Carefully drop the dozen perohi into the boiling water, letting them sink to the bottom.
Boil until perohi begin to float; lower the heat and let them cook for three minutes more. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain them in a colander. Move perohi to a bowl and coat them with onions and butter to prevent sticking. Place perohi on a pan covered with wax paper and allow them to cool. Repeat process until all dough and filling has been used; makes approximately 6 to 8 dozen perohi.
At this point, the perohi are ready to be eaten or stored. They can be refrigerated or frozen. The perohi can be reheated in the microwave, but they taste best if reheated by frying them again in fresh butter and onions, until slightly crisped.