Monday, February 4, 2013

Varenyky (Ukrainian Dumplings) with sauerkraut

This post is from last year, 2/4/13, when I made these dumplings in honor of my Mother's Ukrainian heritage. I am making them again this year to share with my family as we all give our best attempt at Ukrainian food. My brother is making Holopschi and my sister is making Borscht. Not sure what else we might have but it will be fun!

Today I am making Ukrainian dumplings with a sauerkraut filling in honor of my mother. She was a first-generation American born to Ukrainian immigrants in Philadelphia. It would have been her 96th birthday today, but she passed away 8 years ago.
In researching these little dumplings, I found that varenyky and pierogies are pretty much the same thing, only pierogies are Polish. I have seen frozen pierogies in the grocery store. They were a traditional Christmas food and were made without meat for Christmas Eve. Fillings vary but most often include mashed potatoes. I could use my red new potatoes from the box, but I have other plans for those babies.
I found a website that not only had the greatest dough for it using sour cream, but also has step-by-step photos to help you out. I already had an open package of deli sauerkraut, so I decided on that for a filling instead of the more popular cheese and potato filling. I mixed the dough this morning and put it in the frig. Then I mixed the drained sauerkraut with sauteed onion and shredded carrots and a dollop of sour cream.
I got out my Mom's marble pastry board and proceeded to make the dumplings.
I split the dough into two portions and rolled them into a rope about 3/4 of an inch thick. Then I cut the ropes into section at one inch intervals, making about twenty chunks of dough. I rolled each chunk into a ball and then rolled it out on a floured board with a wooden rolling pin until it made a 3 inch circle. I put about a teaspoon full of the sauerkraut mixture into the center of the dough round, folded it over and pinched the edges together.
Then the dumplings were ready to boil. The pot was already on the stove, and as soon as the water was at a full boil, I carefully lowered each dumpling into it, swirling the water to keep them from sticking to the bottom. The dumplings began to float after about 3 minutes, indicating they were done. I lifted them out with the slotted spoon and set them on a broiler pan to drain and cool. You can eat this right away, but everyone seems to like them best fried in butter and onions, so that's how I am going to do it.
Meanwhile, I finished my potato salad using the lovely red new potatoes from the box. I cut the boiled potatoes into quarters and mixed in some homemade Ranch dressing with dill that I had just made today. Then I added some chopped dill pickle and hardboiled eggs and sliced cucumber, as well as a bit of sliced olives that I had leftover from taco night. New potatoes are so flavorful and make a very nice salad, I think. While I was at it, I steamed some broccoli and carrots, just to make sure we had our share of vegies tonight.
I also sauteed some onions and mushrooms for a Stroganoff-style meat dish using the leftover trip tip roast from Saturday. A little sour cream stirred in at the last minute finished off the dish and I had my trial dinner prepared for Lee to sample. Next weekend I have invited the family over to make Varenyky and we are having a Ukrainian feast!

3" rounds of dough with about a teaspoon of filling
a platter full of dumplings, all ready to boil
putting the dumpling into the boiling water
when they float to the top, they are done
Varenyky draining and cooling on a broiler rack. They are good to eat right now, but then next step is to fry up some onions and brown the dumplings in butter. Sounds decadent, doesn't it?

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