They may look like pierogies, but they’re not. They’re pockets of goodness to tickle your tastebuds. Why the name change? I’ve decided that I shouldn’t call anything I make by its original name because that makes it too easy for picky eaters to say they don’t like it. So you may have had pierogies, but you’ve never had pockets of goodness! Changing the name changes the whole food. Given my strong feelings about always trying new things, I would consider it a personal insult if you refused to try my pockets of goodness on the basis that you don’t like pierogies, because clearly, these aren’t pierogies. Perhaps you’re wondering why I would ever have to change the name of something as delicious as pierogies, because surely, everyone loves pierogies, right? Well let me tell you a little story…
Once upon a time there was a Ukranian Princess who, contrary to all of her culinary heritage, hated pierogies. This hate of pierogies was completely irrational, (as a hate of any food is) and stemmed from one bad childhood experience. Unfortunately, when the Princess was still a little girl she fell ill shortly after eating some delicious pierogies. And although the pierogies were not to blame for the illness, they became inextricably linked to being sick. Ever since that time the Princess has refused to eat pierogies in any way, shape or form. In fact, it’s been so long since she’s had one that she doesn’t even remember what they taste like or even what they’re made of. But this is one stubborn Princess and no one has been able convince her to give pierogies another try. However, the palace chef has confided to me that the Princess likes all of the individual elements of a pierogi and should therefore love the sum total. This is the real reason why I have changed the name of my pierogies to pockets of goodness. It’s all in the hope that I can persuade the Princess to take just one bite and realize what she’s been missing all of these years. Wish me luck.
If you happen to have a Ukranian Princess, (or any other Princess for that matter) who needs to be convinced that pierogies are worthy of their time, then give this recipe a try. The only thing that I changed was the cooking method. I began by frying up a slice of homemade bacon and then removed the bacon from the pan, drained off some of the grease and fried the boiled pierogies in the bacon fat to crisp them up a little. I served the pierogies with the reserved bacon and some sour cream and they were fit for a Princess.
Potato and Cheese Perogies
(Adapted from Bozena Srubarek, Business Class Catering,
2 cups all-purpose flour (500 ml)
1/2 tsp salt (2 ml)
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vegetable oil (10 ml)
1/2 to 3/4 cup hot tap water (125 ml to 175 ml)
Potato Cheese Filling
2 medium potatoes, peeled, cut in chunks
1T sour cream (15 ml)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (250 ml)
salt and pepper, to taste
Place flour on counter or wooden board. Sprinkle salt on top of flour. Make a well in centre. Place egg yolks and oil in well. Using the tips of your fingers, stir in circular motion, working from middle of flour mixture out and adding water with other hand, a little at a time, as you go. You have added enough water when dough begins to hold together and so just slightly sticky. Form into ball, scraping up and adding any bits that stick to counter
Knead dough, adding a little more water if necessary, 20 to 25 times or until soft and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
Potato Cheese Filling
Add potatoes to medium pot of boiling salted water. Cook until soft. Add sour cream, yogurt or milk. Mash with potatoes masher or ricer. Stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
To fill perogies, divide dough into 3 to 4 pieces. I used a pasta machine to roll out the dough, but the original recipe tells you to do the following: Using hands, shape into logs about 1- inch in diameter. Slice each log into pieces 1-inch wide. Dust each piece lightly in flour. Using hands, shape each piece into a round disc, then pull gently as you would pizza dough to make the disk thinner. When dough is thin, place a rounded tsp. of filling in centre. Using your fingers, gently pull dough over filling to form half-moon shape. Pinch edges together carefully but tightly, crimpling as you go, to seal. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
To cook the perogies, bring large saucepan of salted water to boil. Reduce heat so water simmers and does not boil rapidly. Add perogies, one at a time, taking care not to over crowd the pan. Cook uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and gently with wooden spoon to loosen from sides of saucepan. Drain.