April 14, 2024


Food & Travel Enthusiast

A Ukrainian pierogi recipe roots this writer to his family tree

The circumstance in Ukraine has stirred up a new degree of panic. Or, relatively, reintroduced the anxiety that I grew up with as a member of Gen X. In higher university in the 1980s, I was necessary to consider a class termed “Americanism vs. Communism.” The formative pop culture of my youth bundled plot lines that included surviving in a publish-apocalyptic earth or rogue teens saving the state from evil invaders.

It experienced been a good few of a long time considering that we had to significantly worry about that dystopian narrative, but here we are all over again. And there’s genuinely very little I can do about it. So I’m heading to the kitchen area.

I really don’t align strongly with any specific ethnicity, but I keep in mind when I was growing up, at any time we experienced a spouse and children get-jointly on my mother’s aspect, we would get to see my good-grandfather, Gigi, who I imagined was fascinating with his thick accent and tales of “the old place.” It would be several years prior to I uncovered that the outdated nation he spoke of was Ukraine, and even then I wasn’t certain what that intended, mainly because at the time it was component of the Soviet Union. I guessed that Ukraine was a state there, variety of like Pennsylvania, the place we lived at the time. And I recently figured out that he came to The usa sometime right after the turn of the century as a stowaway on a boat, escaping the upheaval that was escalating in advance of the Russian Revolution.

The point I bear in mind most vividly from people get-togethers was the food items. There were often stuffed cabbages, which my grandmother made and I preferred so much since they created me come to feel like I favored a vegetable. There had been massive vats of kielbasa and sauerkraut. Beets with horseradish was a single of my absolute favorites, a condiment I would place on anything in sight.

But the dish that got me put on the buffet look at list was pierogi. My grandmother, Nastazia, made those, too. They were being mashed potatoes and cheese stuffed in a pasta dumpling wrapper, and they spoke straight to the heart and intestine of the carbotarian I would become.

On the buffet, they would be served simply boiled and tossed with onions sauteed in tons of butter. There was often sour cream on the aspect, which just produced them that considerably far better. I was usually in close proximity to the front of the line, petrified they would operate out before I bought my transform. I ate so a lot of after that I got ill, and constraints had been subsequently positioned on my obtain to them. I felt like that was unfair, but each now and then I would deal with to sneak a pair further than my quota.

Other times when we had them, they would be boiled 1st, then pan fried, providing the currently ideal package deal further textural fascination. I never want 1 way over the other. They’re both equally my favourite.

I want I experienced compensated far more focus to the stories, or requested additional about them when there was nonetheless somebody to talk to. I would like I realized adequate to be able to match existing events with points Gigi used to communicate about, even though it would split my heart. Or probably since it would break my coronary heart, that very specific agony of acquiring a deep plenty of relationship to a area to truly feel innately the horror of what’s going on there.

But I do have the recipes. My grandmother wrote a spiral-bound cookbook of family members recipes, and the last chapter is committed to Ukrainian dishes. The last time I manufactured her pierogi, I did it due to the fact I was working via the reality that she did not have very long to are living, and I felt like earning her recipe would be the relationship I required in the minute.

Now I’m making them for a relationship to a put I’ve never been and ancestors I know nearly very little about. But also, maybe, to some residing, distant cousin that has a spot on a much-flung branch of my spouse and children tree. So distant that no on-line DNA sample would at any time backlink us. Maybe they are going by a little something proper now that I simply cannot consider, getting asked to protect their incredibly home. Or to evacuate it. Perhaps, if this wasn’t going on, I under no circumstances would’ve puzzled if they were being out there at all.

Possibly I would have pretty much practically nothing in frequent with them. But perhaps, just possibly, our recipes for pierogi arrive from a widespread root.

Correction: An earlier model of this tale did not consist of the time it takes to make or storage be aware. That facts has been extra. Also, it provided an incorrect amount of money for the milliliters of h2o necessary. The dough calls for 1/2 cup (120 ml). This has been corrected.

Recipes for pierogi typically are scaled to feed a crowd, but the assembled, uncooked dumplings freeze perfectly, and can then be cooked rapidly for a hearty facet dish. Provide 2 or 3 as a starter or aspect, or incorporate a couple additional as a filling principal.

Active time: 1 hour 45 minutes Total time: 2 hours

Storage Notes: Refrigerate cooked pierogi for up to 3 days. To freeze raw pierogi, transfer them to a baking sheet, earning certain they are not touching, and freeze them. The moment frozen, put them into freezer containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

  • 1 1/2 kilos (680 grams) russet potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and lower in 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 little yellow onion (about 5 ounces/142 grams), finely chopped
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon wonderful salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped new chives, dill or scallions, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) heat h2o
  • 2 large eggs, at home temperature
  • 3 tablespoons bitter product, plus additional for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fantastic salt
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-intent flour, furthermore additional as required

Make the filling: Carry a huge pot of h2o to a boil around medium-substantial heat. Include the potatoes and cook right until gentle and the cubes can be effortlessly smashed with a fork, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet about medium warmth, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook dinner, stirring until finally just softened and beginning to change translucent, about 4 minutes.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain and return them to the pot. Use a potato masher or a durable wooden spoon to mash the potatoes until fairly sleek. Include the sauteed onions and any butter still in the pan, furthermore the cheese, salt and pepper. Carry on to mash the combination until finally the potatoes are pretty easy and everything is very well incorporated. Set apart to interesting though you make the dough.

Make the dough: In a medium bowl, combine collectively the drinking water, eggs, sour product and salt. Set the flour in a massive bowl and produce a nicely in the middle. Include the egg combination to the perfectly and, applying a fork, get started mixing the liquid into the flour a minimal at a time until all the flour has been included.

Frivolously flour your do the job floor and transform the dough out on to it. Generously flour your arms and knead until eventually the dough is smooth and pliable, about 5 minutes. Let the dough relaxation for about 15 minutes.

Assemble the pierogi: Line a big, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust the paper with flour.

Generously flour your perform surface area and rolling pin. Doing work with about 50 percent the dough at a time, roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thick. Utilizing a 3-inch round cookie cutter, lower as numerous circles from the dough as you can. (You can obtain the scraps and reroll it a number of instances to make a lot more.)

On the center of each dough circle, add a heaping tablespoonful of the potato filling. Pick up the dough, fold it around the filling and start out cautiously pinching the edges of the dough shut all around the filling. It may well search like there’s way too a lot filling to enclose, but the dough will be incredibly delicate and pliable, and should really easily extend to shut. Position the pierogi on the prepared baking sheet, then fill and shut the rest of the circles. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. (The pierogi can be frozen at this stage see STORAGE.)

To end, carry a substantial pot of very well-salted drinking water to a boil. Fall the pierogi in a handful of at a time, so as not to crowd the pot, carefully stirring them so they really don’t stick together. Cook dinner until eventually they get started to bob to the area, about 4 minutes. Get rid of with a slotted spoon, transfer to a platter and repeat as necessary.

Serve the pierogi with sour product on the aspect, or end them with a person of the Variants, below.

In a big saute pan in excess of medium warmth, soften 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and, doing work in batches so as to not group the pan, saute the boiled pierogi, a several at a time, until the bottoms are browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per facet. Transfer to a platter and repeat as needed. Garnish with chives, dill or scallions, if making use of, and serve with bitter product. This variation is pictured earlier mentioned.

In a big skillet around medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Insert 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 big, thinly sliced yellow onion. Cook, stirring, right up until the onions are softened and begin to flip translucent, about 6 minutes. Toss the boiled pierogi with the onions and serve with bitter product.

Calories: 94 Total Excess fat: 3 g Saturated Fat: 2 g Cholesterol: 19 mg Sodium: 149 mg Carbs: 14 g Dietary Fiber: 1 g Sugar: 1 g Protein: 3 g

This analysis is an estimate centered on accessible components and this planning. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s guidance.

Adapted from a recipe by workers author Jim Webster’s grandmother Nastazia Makitka Brick.