These are NOT your grandma’s perogies… they are my mother’s… okay maybe some of you have made meat perogies but I’ve never heard of them or seen them except in other cultures, Jews, for instance, make kreplekh (not with pork of course), and they are similar but a little different, most people are surprised to find that my perogies are filled with meat and that makes them a little….truly only a little… less of a guilty pleasure!
Perogies were not indigenous to my familial Czech background but when we came to Canada we were in company of many people who fled from the Ukraine and Poland and perogies are very popular in those areas. They may have been in the Czech Republic as well, just not at my house. My mother has always been the kind of person who tastes everything, believes that ANYTHING can taste good as long as it’s been cooked properly or well and often upon having something tasty planning to recreate it… I didn’t fall too far from the tree… 🙂
But I digress, my mother endeavored to make these little gems and as the story goes had one heck of a time getting it right. She has always prided herself in never making anything bad enough that it actually got thrown away and the same is true of her attempts at making these. The first time she made them she says, and I don’t remember this, they were terrible. The dough was tough and just not great. She worked the night shift at the time and went to work and told everyone … of course they talked about food cause that’s where she gleaned the recipe… that they turned out badly. Having been a chef my father had a spark of genius after my mom went to work. As my mother tells it she had just finished telling everyone how her perogies were awful and shortly thereafter my father showed up to her work with a batch to share with everyone… she was initially annoyed wondering why he had brought these little losers to her work but he had… of course… deep-fried them… And ANYTHING is tasty deep-fried!
And that’s how the story goes, my mother of course perfected her recipe and could stop deep frying them… and thank goodness for that because I would have had to give them up a long time ago if that was the only way I could eat them.
These perogies have become a signature of my mom’s ever since and really if you’re looking for something to do on a cold dreary day and want to make them in bulk to bag and freeze for rushed dinners that’s really the best. Rolling, scooping, pinching… all these things can make for a therapeutic and meditative morning or afternoon.
I don’t often measure these but I did my best to pay attention when I made them this time so here goes.
Your choice of meat roasted with seasonings… this can be turkey, chicken, pork whatever you like. I’ve never made them with beef but anything else works and I’ve often used the pork. I pick up a 3 kg pork shoulder and roasted.
I roast the meat the night before, with lots of onions, garlic, salt and pepper and caraway seeds… the caraway seeds are the clincher for me and they go really, really well with any of the above mentioned meats… you can almost not overseason here.
Once your meat, is roasted and cool enough get out your grinder and run all the meat through it, then place back in the big roasting pan if you can (where all the good drippings are) fry it up and OVER season it, AGAIN and SOME MORE… adding more garlic, salt and pepper and if you’re like me, more caraway seeds. At this point you can add any leftover meat that you have???? Turkey leftovers maybe… ABSOLUTELY… or any other meat that may have been left behind in the back of the freezer for a little too long.
Add a bit of water because the meat may be a little dry. I know I keep repeating myself but you can (and should) over season the meat because the dough is pretty bland and the meat has to work a little harder to make an impression. Taste and taste again, I ground in all the meat and fat… yes the fat… I know…. It’s not good for us… but hey… have you had any sausages lately… not good either… I also added in LOTS of garlic, and threw in leftover turkey AND leftover gravy from Christmas… and the meat was Mmmm Mmm good.
The meat will be almost pasty and that’s a good thing. Then set aside and make the dough.
- 4 Cups Flour
- 2 ½ – 3 Cups Sour Cream
Mix until you have a nice dough consistency – I kid you not… it’s that simple… not cheap and not fat free but easy and perfect every time!
Roll out the dough about ¼ inch thick and cut out circles, I use a water glass, usually one of the bigger ones I have available. Place about a teaspoon, I actually use a teaspoon and grab a heaping amount of filling and that way they are all pretty similar. Fold them over and pinch them closed and repeat… pinch them really good so they don’t open up when you cook them. Repeat until you have used up all the dough and filling.
This time when I made them I made two rounds of dough and had just enough filling to use all the dough. That kind of sync doesn’t often happen, so sometimes the last few perogies will get made with leftover apples or berries or some other kind of filling in order to use up the last of the dough and if I have a little bit of leftover meat I either freeze for next time or taste some more…. 🙂
This amount of dough makes about 90 perogies.
Now, when my mom and I would make these we would also boil them and then rub them down with oil to keep them from sticking to each other and freeze in packages of about a dozen. They can be done that way but you can also freeze them before they get boiled, just bear in mind that you’ll need to boil them before you eat, pan fry or deep fry them…. Okay I haven’t deep fried them in many many years…. But they are good that way… just sayin’… Serve with fried onions and bacon (why not…) and a nice dollop of sour cream.