Back in 2000-2002 my husband was able to serve a mission for our church in Kiev, Ukraine. Throughout our marriage he has reminisced about meals he during his time there. Unfortunately I have not been able to share in these food memories simply because there is not a local Ukrainian (or even Russian) restaurant down the street (or even in the state!). One time when we were dating Trent tried to make me some borsch, but sadly it burnt. However, I have had Mrs. T's Perogies form the freezer section of the grocery store. Not exactly authentic, but we still like them. Oh, and then the one time some friends of ours made some Russian dish (the husband is Russian), but I cannot even remember what it was.
Meanwhile, I have this awesome friend. We have been friends since my junior year in high school. She is one of those friends that could go years without seeing you, and still buy you a present that is so perfect that you start looking for hidden cameras in your house. For Christmas this past year she sent me a cookbook called "Russian, German, and Polish Cooking". Oh, my husband and I were so excited! We looked through the cook book together and my husband would shout out names of dishes and get all excited. I was so excited to try out several recipes, but the problem was I was pregnant, and really lazy. So fast forward 10 months, and finally had the time and energy to try one out!
The recipe I attempted was called Liver and Bacon Varenyky.
Did I just say liver?
Yah, if you noticed the title of my post, I had to change the recipe into Potato and Onion, because who in their right mind would go to the meat counter and ask for "roughly chopped chicken or lamb liver". (Also a sign that this cookbook is legit). This recipe was intense, and my husband was in awe when he got home that I even attempted it on my own. Apparently in Ukraine they spend the whole day making these bad boys. How did they turn out? Well the filling was perfect, the dough however was a little too thick. It was hard to roll it out just thin enough, Everybody lover it though, and it is worth making it again!
My favorite part? In the cook book it says " There is an old Ukrainian superstition that if Varenyky are counted, the dough will split and the filling will spill out". SO, of course the entire time I am making them and wanted to count them. It took every ounce of energy to NOT count those dang Verenyky. I didn't and guess what, not one split! I am a believer.
Potato and Onion Varenyky
1 3/4 c plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp butter, melted
beaten egg for sealing
1 tbsp sunflower oil (I just used canola)
For the filling:
t tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 small onion chopped
4 oz bacon, choppped
8 oz of potato, peeled, cooked, and mashed
salt and pepper
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center. Add the eggs and butter and mix to a dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Wrap in clear film and leave to rest for 30 minutes. For the filling, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove from heat and add the cooked mashed potatoes and stir until well combined. Put the mixture into the food processor and process until filling is finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper and compress a few more seconds. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until an 1/8th of an inch thick. Stamp out rounds of dough with a 2 inch cutter. Spoon a tsp of filling into the middle of each round. Brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg and fold in half to make half-moon shapes. Leave to dry on a floured dish towel for 30 minutes. Bring a pan of salted water to boil. Add the oil, then add the varenyky, in batches if necessary. Bring back to boil and cook them at a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, until tender. Drain well and serve hot. Garnish with sour cream and chopped chives.