Probably the most loved food in the Ukrainian tradition is ... you guessed it ... varenyky, or perogies, or as we called them growing up on the prairies: pyrohy (pronounced pedahy).
Here's Judy's recollection of that wonderful time growing up, as shared on Nash Holos recently... along with her recipe for the perfect perogy (pyrohy) dough:
A Friday supper in our home was either fish or pyrohy. I remember coming home after school on Fridays to see the kitchen table covered with clean flour sacks with little white pillows of dough, stuffed with potato and onion or sauerkraut.
As my little hand would reach to grab a venechie, which is what we called the end pieces (which were just raw dough), Mom’s hand would always come down *smack* on it.
"Don’t touch!" she would say. "If you eat that, your stomach will stick together!"
Sometimes she’d say, "We are going to be eating in 45 minutes. Can’t you just wait?"
So then I’d wander over to the stove. Ummm... onions frying in lard or butter! In those days, no one worried about things like cholesterol. We all worked off the calories one way or another!
Things are different now, so we try to make it as healthy as possible. Canola, sunflower or corn oil are good substitutes for butter or lard.
Having a meal of pyrohy brings back so many memories. The farm, milking cows... Mom used to skim off the cream, add to onions frying in butter, and cook it down until it became a rich sauce which of course she poured over the pyrohy. Who could resist?
There are all kinds of fillings for pyrohy, sweet as well as savoury. Each household has its own tried and true recipe. When I was in Ukraine I asked Chocha (Auntie) Sofia what her recipe was for the dough. Looking at me funny, she said, "Just flour, salt and water!"
"Hey," I said to her, "that’s my recipe!" It was handed down to me from my mother, which she got from her mother... and which I use in the restaurant.
To make a perfect perogy dough, combine 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt and one cup of lukewarm water (or potato water). Mix until smooth, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a lid, and let rest for 20 minutes. This will be enough to make about 4 dozen.
For fillings, the sky is the limit. Use your imagination! For a change from the usual potato and cheddar cheese, try potato, chopped spinach, onion, bacon and cottage cheese. To die for!