Ukraine: Varenyky

ukranian varenyky

My family LOVES pierogies.  I can’t remember the first time we tried them, but I’m guessing it was in the Chicago area when visiting my grandmother.  We found a Polish market that sold fresh pierogis and always loaded our cooler up with them before heading back to Minnesota.  When my grandmother passed away and we no longer visited that area, I figured out how to make homemade pierogies that tasted pretty much the same (if not a tad bit better).

Last night, we tried the Ukranian version, known as Varenyky.  According to AllThingsUkranian they are, “One of the twelve traditional dishes for the Sviat Vechir (Christmas Eve Holy Supper).”   Since I’ve now made both, I’d say the main difference was in the dough.  Varenyky recipes use some sort of milk or cream in the dough, while pierogies contain potato in the dough and no dairy.  The end result, however, is nearly identical.

Like pierogies, Varenyky are kind of time-consuming to make.  If you’re going to make them, make a double batch to save for later.  The frozen ones can go directly in the skillet without thawing.  I was going to freeze the rest of mine for another meal, but my family liked them so well they wanted me to cook them up instead.  I’d say that was a clear indication of their success.  The kids gave them two thumbs up.

Don’t have a 3″ circle cutter?  A wine glass works well.

Ukraine: Varenyky
 
Ingredients
  • DOUGH:
  • 5 C. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1¼ C. evaporated milk
  • ¼ - ½ C. water
  • FILLING:
  • 6 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • ½ C. butter
  • 1¼ C. Cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the butter and evaporated milk. Stir until combined. Begin to knead dough, adding water only as needed. When dough sticks together, place in a greased bowl and set aside while you make the filling.
  2. For the filling, place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes, until tender. Drain. Melt ½ cup butter in a medium skillet. Saute onions in butter until tender. Add the potatoes back in, along with the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roll dough to ⅛" thick (if you have a pasta roller, it works well). Cut 3" circles. Add 1 teaspoon of the filling to the center of the circle and seal shut.
  4. Over high heat, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add varenyky and boil 4 minutes. Drain. Saute varenyky in a skillet with butter until golden brown. Serve with sour cream.

 

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This recipe was adapted from AllRecipes.com

Austria: Schinkenfleckerl

schinkenfleckerl

Schinkenfleckerl is quite a mouthful…. literally!  It’s a simple family-friendly Austrian casserole that quite literally means ham and noodles (In German, schinken means “ham” and fleckerl is a type of Austrian noodle).

I first heard about schinkenfleckerl on the Mommysavers Forums.  One of the members said it was her family favorite, and it sounded like something easy my family would enjoy.  Traditional schinkenfleckerl uses a broad type of noodle, but really anything you have at home will work.  Egg noodles are a good choice.  I think for this to have been more authentic, I could have broken the egg noodles slightly.

After we tasted it, it reminded me of a dish my grandmother made when I was little, which stands to reason since she was German.  We would definitely made this again.  It’s simple and the kids also liked it.

Schinkenfleckerl
Cuisine: European
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1½ C. sour cream
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • ½ lb. cooked ham, cubed
  • 2 C. dry egg noodles, cooked and drained
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Bake @ 350 (covered) for 25 minutes. Sprinkle w/ parmesan cheese & bake for 20 minutes more.
Instructions
  1. In a big saucepan, combine flour and butter. Make a smooth sauce over medium heat. Take off heat and cool slightly. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  2. Add the egg yolks to the cooled butter and flour mixture. Stir in sour cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  3. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Combine the cooked and drained noodles and sour cream mixture. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
  4. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 25 minutes or until cheese starts to brown.

 

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