Some people have a book list. That list of “to-read” books that is forever growing. I have a “to-cook” list. New recipes and ideas are always being added and perogies have been on the top of that list for years now. I have always put off making perogies because they were so intimidating to me. It must be the Russian in them.
I finally got up the guts to make perogies last night for a celebratory dinner with Chris (it was a good business day for us). I tried to go traditional(ish) with the filling and stick with cheesy potato. I also threw some spinach in there to get some kind of nutrients from the meal. You can fill them with whatever you please though, they can be made sweet or savory. I now have it in my head to make a blueberry filling with a burnt butter sauce… oh sweet god I need to make that dessert. Don’t let me forget!
For the dough you will need:
½ cup water
½ cup soy milk
½ cup cream cheese, I use Tofutti
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup melted butter and 1 tablespoon for cooking, I use nuttlex
2 cups plain flour, extra flour for rolling and dusting
1 tablespoon no egg, I use Organ
For the filling you will need:
three large potatoes
1 garlic clove
1 handful of spinach, chopped or torn into small pieces
2 tablespoons butter, I use nuttelex
2 tablespoons cream cheese, I use Tofutti
1 cup noosh
¾ cup soy milk
salt, to season
Start off by peeling and washing three large potatoes.
I love potatoes with the dirt still on them. They are so earthy and lovely. I can pretend that I have just picked them from my garden, I feel proud of my big dirty potatoes
Chop the potatoes up and pop them in a big pot of boiling water to cook.
While the potatoes are boiling get the dough prepped.
In a deep bowl combine the water and ¼ cup soy milk.
In a cup combine the remaining milk with the cream cheese and give it a stir around until there are no lumps. Traditionally you would use sour cream but this is my little trick. I love the flavour that the cream cheese gives to the dough. (Plus my local organic shop was out of the Tofutti Sour Cream. But let’s stick with the flavour thing, yeh?)
Add the cream cheese mix to the water/milk
Add in the salt
And the melted butter. Make sure that the butter isn’t boiling just slightly warm.
Give it all a whisk until the mixture combines.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and no-egg.
Create a well in the centre of the flour and slowly add in the wet mix until it becomes too stiff to stir. Then get in there with your hands. It’s the fun part!
You could use a mixer with a hook attachment for this part but I like to get in there and get my hands dirty. I think you have more control over the consistency and feel of the dough. Also I don’t own a hook attachment. Or a proper mixer for that matter.
When the dough comes together in the bowl drop it out onto a floured surface and knead it for a couple of minutes. You don’t want to over work the dough, just enough that it all combines and has a slight stretch to it.
That photo is the result of giving the camera to Chris. Not one close up of the dough but lots of my messy bench and my scowling face. Thanks love!
Once your happy with the dough roll it into a ball, wrap it in some glad wrap and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes or until you are finished making the filling.
By now the potatoes should be boiled so take them off the heat, drain the water and mash them up.
Fill the pot back up with water and put it back on the boil. You will need it shortly.
Once the potatoes are mashed leave them to the side to cool while you make the rest of the filling.
Dice an onion
And the garlic.
Fry the onion and garlic with some olive oil. Once the onion is starting to soften throw in the spinach and let the spinach fry down for two minutes.
When the spinach is cooked remove the mix from the heat and add it to the bowl with the mashed potato.
Add in the cream cheese, nuttelex and noosh.
Mix it all up until you have a thick creamy paste. Season if you need it.
Once you are happy with the filling leave it to the side and pull out the dough again. Give it a quick knead.
Now there is a bunch of different ways to roll out the perogies.
One way is to roll the dough out and cut the rounds out. Another is to roll the dough into lengths, cut it into squares and then roll the rounds individually.
Or you can pull the dough into balls and then roll them out individually. I tried these last two ways and wasn’t really happy with the shape of my perogies. Next time I will go with the first way, I think that will make the perogies more consistent in their shape and thickness.
To form the perogies, roll the dough into rounds of 5cm diameter. Place a tablespoon of the filling in the centre and fold the perogies in half. Press the edges with a fork to seal. If the dough won’t stick together it just means that there is a bit too much flour in the mix, simply run a bit of water or soya milk around the edges and it should seal.
To cook the perogies, plop them into the pot of boiling water and boil them until they start to float it should take around eight minutes.
A couple of tips with this step, first up, put a few drops of oil in the water. This will stop the perogies from sticking to each other and the edges of the pot. Second, make sure the water is boiling when you put the perogies in so that they keep moving. And lastly, keep stirring! The last thing you want is for the perogies to sink to the bottom and stick to the pot. You didn’t just work your butt off for perogie flavoured water!!
Once the perogies are floating take them out of the water with a slotted spoon (or a spatula in my case) and place them on some hand towel.
Now for some reason I don’t have any photos of this part but take my word for it, K?
Heat the fry pan back up with the remaining butter and a dash of olive oil. Fry the perogies for a few minutes on each side or until they start to brown.
Serve the perogies on a bed of fried onion and cabbage or with a side of sauerkraut or simply with some sour cream.
Now for these dessert perogies…