Peroghies are a prairie staple – these little dumplings have been feeding families affordably for generations, and are the epitome of comfort food around our house.
W recently pointed out that most peroghies are more potato than cheese, and nowhere near as cheesy as they could be. I can see his point – unlike other dumplings, peroghies tend to be more starchy and potato-heavy, when in fact the potato should act more as a carrier for other ingredients. I sometimes transform leftover roasted chicken, gravy and potatoes into peroghies, but it’s cheese that goes best with the bacon and onions (which, let’s face it, are the best part), and so I set to making a batch of extra cheesy peroghies using chunks of the Alexis de Portneuf cheeses currently residing in our fridge.
The beauty of a peroghy is that you can add just about anything to the filling – it’s a great way to use up the last of the cheese ends. I generally use aged cheddar or Gouda, but there are no limits when it comes to cheese – if you love blue, crumbled blue cheese in a peroghy would be divine. Ditto a mild goat cheese like semi-soft Paillot de Chèvre or firmer Caprano chèvre, or even a super creamy brie, La Sauvagine or Sir Laurier – any cheeses that go together on a plate would definitely get along nestled in mashed potatoes and wrapped in dough. (Depending on where you live and what’s available, Pacific Rock is a hard ripened cheese with rich, nutty, buttery flavour – and if you’re a fan of smoked Gouda, its creamy texture and smokiness is surprisingly fantastic in a peroghy – try adding some sautéed mushrooms and a pinch of rosemary to the mix, too.)
This lovely dough is a smaller scale version of one I inherited from my friend’s baba Nettie – it can be easily doubled for a larger batch, or if you’re inviting a few friends over for a peroghy bee around the kitchen table. Measurements for the filling are pretty flexible – for maximum cheesiness, just make sure you have about as much grated/crumbled cheese – any combination you see fit – as you have mashed potatoes. Grated cheese will take up more space than crumbled cheese or soft cheeses like Brie that you can cut into pieces and just stir into the mashed potatoes – use your best judgement, erring on the side of too much cheese (which we all know is impossible).
If you want to make a big batch and freeze your peroghies, lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet, and transfer to freezer bags once they’re frozen. They can be tossed into boiling water straight from the freezer, and will only take an extra minute or two to cook. I like to have a big skillet of cooked, crumbled bacon and onions at the ready, so I can transfer just-boiled peroghies with a slotted spoon right to the pan to brown them a bit and coat them in those tasty bacon drippings – the smoky bacon, sweet caramelized onions and creamy cheese is completely divine. Truly – does it get any better than this?
Thanks to Alexis de Portneuf for supporting this site by asking me to come up with delicious uses for wonderful Canadian cheeses.