Perogies

Perogies

These dumplings are very easy to make. Once you understand the science behind what makes good perogi dough that is.

Arguably, perogies, that are now widespread all across North America and the rest of the world, are Eastern Europe’s most important contribution to the culinary world.

What’s great about these dumplings is that they make an excellent dish for parties or potlucks. They are easy to make and especially if you make them ahead and freeze them – they could be ready in minutes. They tend to be quite a crowd pleaser, especially when you load them up with flavour!

Personally, I don’t necessarily love perogies and their carb on carb action, but I recognize their place in the culinary world. Therefore, if we are going to make them – let’s make them right! In terms of flavour, these tend to sometimes lack it. So let’s pack as much flavour into them as possible! Sautéed onions, flavourful dill sauce, candied bacon… I’m already thinking of butternut squash perogies, toasted pine nuts, crisped up fresh sage and perhaps some brown butter for the fall season. Flavour flavour flavour!

I’m topping my perogies with green onions, sautéed yellow onions and candied bacon. Candied bacon is not traditional, but it’s sooooooooo delicious. Regular bacon will work too.

I must stress this again. When you make your filling – you have all the control in the world when it comes to making it tasty and flavourful. Ensure you season it well with salt. If something is missing – fix it before adding it to perogies. Maybe more freshly ground black pepper, maybe a pinch more onion powder. Get creative with cheeses. How about mix of white cheddar and mozzarella for fluffy and light in colour filling.

The perogies dough is an unleavened dough, similar to that of pasta and/or gnocchi. The recipe that you use doesn’t matter as much as the technique that you use. Here are the most important concepts to achieve perfection in these dumplings:

  • Striking the right amount of gluten development. Unlike, let’s say pizza dough, you do not want to overwork this dough. With the pizza dough, you knead and knead it some more to make it extremely elastic and develop the gluten well. With this dough, you need to make it into an elastic dough that holds together with the minimal amount of kneading and the minimal gluten development.
  • You must add starch to make the dough spread better, be less sticky and more tender. Forget about fancy store bough potato starch. Just simply use the water that you boiled your potatoes in. This potato water will add just the right amount of starch!
  • Last but not least, let the dough rest. Just leave it be for 30-60 minutes on the counter. This will further relax the glutens in the dough and make it easier to work with and more tender.
The two stage shaping and crimping technique I’m sharing with you makes forming beautiful uniform perogies a breeze!

The technique in my recipe will result in perfect perogies time after time. Feel free to experiment with different recipes. Some recipes replace part of the liquid with sour cream or milk – feel free to do so.

Oh one more thing. It’s technically not “perogies.” The world “perogi” is plural already and a singular version of that would be “perog.” In Ukrainian “i” is equivalent to “s,” in terms that when it’s added to words it turns them into plural form. Also, I don’t believe “pedaheh” is a thing. Would love to hear from Native Ukrainian/Polish speakers directly, but at this time, I’m pretty sure it’s what happens after generations of Canadian or American Ukrainians mishear and mispronounce the word. Lastly, across many parts of Eastern Europe, “perogi” is actually something else entirely (yeasted dough filled with filling and fried,) and what you see in the picture is actually called “verenyky.” Part of my childhood was spent in Ukraine, and I have never heard these dumplings called “perogi.” However, this is an Eastern European dish overall, so another dialect or Polish origin, perhaps was the influence behind this North American way to refer to these dumplings. In my post I refer to perogi/varenyky as perogies, as this is what most North Americans know this dish as.

For this variation, I seared perogies in some butter until golden and topped with candied bacon

Hope you give these a try!

CategoryDifficultyBeginner

Please read notes before proceeding with this recipe.

Perogies

Yields6 Servings

For the dough:
 2 cups flour, plus more as needed
 1 tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt)
 1 egg
 2 tbsp sour cream (you can use oil instead if you don't have sour cream)
  cup potato water
For the filling:
 3 medium Russet potatoes
 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
 ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
 salt and pepper, to taste
 optional: add a small splash of milk, softened cream cheese, sour cream or combination of these things, as needed to get the right consistency, see step 1
 1 tsp onion powder
For serving:
 1-2 yellow onions, chopped
 butter, for sauteeing onions and dressing perogies
 salt, to taste
 sour cream, for serving
 Any other garnishes of choice - bacon, dill, green onions, etc.

For the filling:
1

Peel potatoes and chop into 1.5 inch chunks. Place in a pot of cold water, add some salt. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes until very tender. Drain the potatoes reserving the potato water (SEE NOTE.) Cover the drained potatoes and let them sit for a minute or so. They will steam a bit for lighter texture. Gently mash the potatoes with a potato masher until very smooth.

Gently fold in some butter, shredded cheese, onion powder and some salt (remember, cheddar cheese is quite salty so you may not need a lot of salt.) You are looking for smooth texture that you can roll in a ball. You don't want your potatoes too firm, but you also don't want them too runny. They should be soft yet hold their shape to be rolled into a ball. Add a smalls plash of milk milk, sour cream or cream cheese, if needed to reach the right texture. Handle the potatoes gently while mixing to retain their fluffy texture and avoid gumminess. Cover your potatoes with a lid slightly ajar to cool them slightly yet avoid drying them out.

2

In a bowl of your stand mixer, mix egg, salt, sour cream and reserved potato water until well combined.

Make sure your potato water is not hot or it will scramble the egg. It's okay if your potato water is warm - just be sure to whisk everything together as soon as you add it, since gradually warming the egg will prevent it from scrambling.

Add 1 cup of flour and mix it with a fork until combined. Add another 3/4 cup and start kneading with the dough hook. At this point, switch to a spoon and start adding your flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. If you add too much flour, the dough may be too dense, but not adding enough flour will also pose a problem and result in sticky unworkable dough. After you have observed the dough is no longer sticking to the bowl, mix it with your hands a couple of times (stop the mixer first,) ensuring it's not sticky, and when you are satisfied knead on low (speed 2) for about 2 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Do not over knead. The amount of flour needed will generally vary between 2 cups and 2 1/4 cups, sometimes even humid weather outside can affect the exact amount of flour needed.

You can easily do this step by hand! You may need to knead for a bit longer if doing it by hand.

3

Let the dough rest on the counter, tightly covered with plastic wrap for 30-60 minutes. This is very important in order for the glutens in your dough to relax and for the dough to be soft and easy to work with.

4

Roll the dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/8" thickness, or just under; 3-4mm. With a 3" cookie cutter cut the dough into rounds. Remove scraps, if you plan to re-use them to roll more perogies, gently knead them back into smooth dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15-30 minutes. Figure out how much filling you can comfortably get in the middle of each dough round while still being able to seal it - it will likely be about 1 or 1.5 teaspoons. The goal is to add a generous amount of filling, while still being able to pull the dough over it and seal it; if the filling gets into the edge - it won't seal properly. So find the maximum amount of filling you can use without jeopardizing the seal.

Perogies

5

Roll the filling into balls. It helps to roll the filling, as this way it won't get all over your fingers and get into the edge of your perogie rounds, making it difficult to seal.

Perogies

6

Turn each dough circle over. Think about it - the top of it is starting to dry out and it would be nearly impossible to seal while the side touching your counter space is nice and sticky. Place a ball of filling on top of your inverted dough circle.

Pull the edges of each perogie round together and pinch to seal. At this point, you are not crimping the edges, that will come later. Manipulate the filling and the shape of the perogie into the crescent shape. Set aside. Finish with the remaining dough circles.

Perogies

7

Now, that the edges of each perogie firmed up a bit, the gluten in them has relaxed and they even dried a bit - crimping the edges into a decorative pattern will be very easy to do. So proceed crimping each perogie with you index finger and your thumb in a pinch and twist motion. You will quickly get a hang of what looks good!

Proceed to the next step or flash freeze perogies by placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freezing for an hour or two; after that point transfer them to a large freezer bag or freezer-safe container.

Perogies

8

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add perogies to the pot. Once they float and the water returns back to a boil - cook them for 3-5 minutes until they are cooked through and the dough is tender. Serve them with your favourite garnishes. Traditionally these are served with some butter, sautéed onions and bacon.

In addition, after boiling, you may also fry your perogies on each side until golden. Enjoy

Perogies

NOTE:
9

Potato water is very important as the potato starch in it will help the dough spread out easier and make it softer and easier to work with. Feel free to mash a good chunk of boiled potato into the water, to make the potato starch even more concentrated. Look at the picture attached. I separated my potato water - the starchiest water will be added to the dough.

This filling amount is a bit more than needed. You can probably get away with 2 potatoes, however, I always make 3 and just snack on leftovers. It's better than going through all the work and ending up not having enough.

Don't re-roll your dough more than once. The gluten will become quite overworked and your dough won't be as tender.

Get creative with your filling. My go to is cheddar cheese. But sometimes I use half white cheddar cheese and half mozzarella. I find the colour of white fluffy filling quite appetizing. Make sure to make your filling taste good - this is the star of your perogie. Ensure to add enough salt to it. Bland filling will result in a bland perogie. Sour cream adds a nice zing, so does cream cheese - so add enough to get a flavourful filling with the right texture.

Perogies

Ingredients

For the dough:
 2 cups flour, plus more as needed
 1 tsp kosher salt (half as much if using fine table salt)
 1 egg
 2 tbsp sour cream (you can use oil instead if you don't have sour cream)
  cup potato water
For the filling:
 3 medium Russet potatoes
 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
 ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
 salt and pepper, to taste
 optional: add a small splash of milk, softened cream cheese, sour cream or combination of these things, as needed to get the right consistency, see step 1
 1 tsp onion powder
For serving:
 1-2 yellow onions, chopped
 butter, for sauteeing onions and dressing perogies
 salt, to taste
 sour cream, for serving
 Any other garnishes of choice - bacon, dill, green onions, etc.

Directions

For the filling:
1

Peel potatoes and chop into 1.5 inch chunks. Place in a pot of cold water, add some salt. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes until very tender. Drain the potatoes reserving the potato water (SEE NOTE.) Cover the drained potatoes and let them sit for a minute or so. They will steam a bit for lighter texture. Gently mash the potatoes with a potato masher until very smooth.

Gently fold in some butter, shredded cheese, onion powder and some salt (remember, cheddar cheese is quite salty so you may not need a lot of salt.) You are looking for smooth texture that you can roll in a ball. You don't want your potatoes too firm, but you also don't want them too runny. They should be soft yet hold their shape to be rolled into a ball. Add a smalls plash of milk milk, sour cream or cream cheese, if needed to reach the right texture. Handle the potatoes gently while mixing to retain their fluffy texture and avoid gumminess. Cover your potatoes with a lid slightly ajar to cool them slightly yet avoid drying them out.

2

In a bowl of your stand mixer, mix egg, salt, sour cream and reserved potato water until well combined.

Make sure your potato water is not hot or it will scramble the egg. It's okay if your potato water is warm - just be sure to whisk everything together as soon as you add it, since gradually warming the egg will prevent it from scrambling.

Add 1 cup of flour and mix it with a fork until combined. Add another 3/4 cup and start kneading with the dough hook. At this point, switch to a spoon and start adding your flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. If you add too much flour, the dough may be too dense, but not adding enough flour will also pose a problem and result in sticky unworkable dough. After you have observed the dough is no longer sticking to the bowl, mix it with your hands a couple of times (stop the mixer first,) ensuring it's not sticky, and when you are satisfied knead on low (speed 2) for about 2 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Do not over knead. The amount of flour needed will generally vary between 2 cups and 2 1/4 cups, sometimes even humid weather outside can affect the exact amount of flour needed.

You can easily do this step by hand! You may need to knead for a bit longer if doing it by hand.

3

Let the dough rest on the counter, tightly covered with plastic wrap for 30-60 minutes. This is very important in order for the glutens in your dough to relax and for the dough to be soft and easy to work with.

4

Roll the dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/8" thickness, or just under; 3-4mm. With a 3" cookie cutter cut the dough into rounds. Remove scraps, if you plan to re-use them to roll more perogies, gently knead them back into smooth dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15-30 minutes. Figure out how much filling you can comfortably get in the middle of each dough round while still being able to seal it - it will likely be about 1 or 1.5 teaspoons. The goal is to add a generous amount of filling, while still being able to pull the dough over it and seal it; if the filling gets into the edge - it won't seal properly. So find the maximum amount of filling you can use without jeopardizing the seal.

Perogies

5

Roll the filling into balls. It helps to roll the filling, as this way it won't get all over your fingers and get into the edge of your perogie rounds, making it difficult to seal.

Perogies

6

Turn each dough circle over. Think about it - the top of it is starting to dry out and it would be nearly impossible to seal while the side touching your counter space is nice and sticky. Place a ball of filling on top of your inverted dough circle.

Pull the edges of each perogie round together and pinch to seal. At this point, you are not crimping the edges, that will come later. Manipulate the filling and the shape of the perogie into the crescent shape. Set aside. Finish with the remaining dough circles.

Perogies

7

Now, that the edges of each perogie firmed up a bit, the gluten in them has relaxed and they even dried a bit - crimping the edges into a decorative pattern will be very easy to do. So proceed crimping each perogie with you index finger and your thumb in a pinch and twist motion. You will quickly get a hang of what looks good!

Proceed to the next step or flash freeze perogies by placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freezing for an hour or two; after that point transfer them to a large freezer bag or freezer-safe container.

Perogies

8

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add perogies to the pot. Once they float and the water returns back to a boil - cook them for 3-5 minutes until they are cooked through and the dough is tender. Serve them with your favourite garnishes. Traditionally these are served with some butter, sautéed onions and bacon.

In addition, after boiling, you may also fry your perogies on each side until golden. Enjoy

Perogies

NOTE:
9

Potato water is very important as the potato starch in it will help the dough spread out easier and make it softer and easier to work with. Feel free to mash a good chunk of boiled potato into the water, to make the potato starch even more concentrated. Look at the picture attached. I separated my potato water - the starchiest water will be added to the dough.

This filling amount is a bit more than needed. You can probably get away with 2 potatoes, however, I always make 3 and just snack on leftovers. It's better than going through all the work and ending up not having enough.

Don't re-roll your dough more than once. The gluten will become quite overworked and your dough won't be as tender.

Get creative with your filling. My go to is cheddar cheese. But sometimes I use half white cheddar cheese and half mozzarella. I find the colour of white fluffy filling quite appetizing. Make sure to make your filling taste good - this is the star of your perogie. Ensure to add enough salt to it. Bland filling will result in a bland perogie. Sour cream adds a nice zing, so does cream cheese - so add enough to get a flavourful filling with the right texture.

Perogies

Perogies

These happen to be Vegetarian. Just ensure to omit the bacon.

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