Peroghy/Pierogi/Pyrohy (Stuffed with Mashed Potatoes, Chicken & Gravy)


FINALLY. I have been looking forward to this moment for a week and a half. Honestly, how can anyone be expected to lose weight when things like hand-made peroghies with caramelized onions and bacon exist in the world? Particularly when you go to the store and they don’t have any sour cream so you are forced to buy a container of Liberte crème fraîche instead? (It’s like sour cream extreme – without the tanginess.)

So let’s lay the groundwork here. Peroghies – I am a fan. But they make a prime example of something that can be very, very good or very, very bad, and those whiter-than-white ice-crystalled wads of dough you can buy dozens of for two dollars in the freezer section of the grocery store give them a bad rap. To be honest, I’ve always felt a little ripped off that I didn’t inherit any generations- old peroghy recipes from my Ukrainian in-laws. Or cabbage rolls, even. (Or anything food related besides packs of Dentyne and bags of Bits n’ Bites at Christmas.) After all, the history that comes with them is a huge part of the peroghy experience.

So I’m happy to have fallen into a friendship with a new generation Ukrainian Baba – sure, she’s only a mama now, but she has potential. And she learned her peroghy-making techniques from her own Baba, who used to be the type to wait up with a pot of water on the boil and throw some handmade dumplings in the minute you walked in the door. Hell, I’d have married her.

It’s not so much the peroghies themselves I have trouble with – rolling and filling a dumpling is easy enough – nor the fillings; mashed potato makes a great starchy canvas to add any number of ingredients to. But the dough. I want a good, tender dough. More than that, I want one that didn’t come out of a magazine, but from someone’s Ukranian Baba who has hand rolled thousands of from-scratch peroghies in her lifetime. You can’t get much more expert than that. Even on Food Network.

So I went to C’s house the week before last – a quicker in-and-out than I would have liked, but we did squeeze in a few dozen peroghy, and it reminded me how much I like being in the kitchen with someone, chatting and wiping doughy hands on aprons in the sunny patch by the window. And how rare it is these days. It used to be how women socialized – early multitasking as they caught up on the whats what while nimbly filling and shaping hundreds of peroghy. Now we meet at Starbucks or get the news about friends having their babies when it’s posted on Facebook.

You don’t need a recipe for fillings. Seriously. Plain old mashed potato counts. Cottage cheese is common, as is cheddar and onion, but you can do whatever you like with a peroghy. I made a filling of mashed potatoes with caramelized onions and sharp cheddar, and another using up the last of the chicken and gravy from my chicken and dumplings; finely chopped and stirred into some mashed potato with garlic. C’s toddler cooed and played in her high chair with diced pears while we worked, providing inspiration for caramelized pear and ricotta filling C made after I ran off to do an interview.  I can’t wait to try those. Perhaps hot and crisped up from the skillet, over vanilla ice cream.

[cooked-recipe id="21474"]
(recipe not found or in draft status)

To make your peroghy, roll the dough out fairly thin and cut into rounds with a glass rim or round cookie cutter – or not. C rolls her dough into a long rope, cuts off 1″ sections and then rolls each ball into a rough circle, thus not wasting any dough nor needing to reroll scraps, which can make dough tough. However you do it, fill each with a small spoonful of filling and fold over, pinching the edges to seal. You don’t need to brush them with water or egg wash or anything – the dough is soft enough to stick together well. (This dough, by the way, is the dough I’ve been searching for all my life.)

Once assembled, freeze them on cookie sheets – you can get away with two layers with a tea towel between them to keep them from sticking – then transfer to freezer bags. Boil from frozen until they float to the surface, then give them another minute – C serves hers like this, but I like to brown them first in the pan that I have just finished cooking bacon and caramelizing onions in. (Chop a few slices of bacon and thinly slice an onion; cook them together in a skillet until the bacon is cooked through and its rendered fat helps caramelize the onions to a deep golden.) DIVINE.

It’s a good thing we all have the ability to piecemeal together families for ourselves. Now all I need to find is a good Italian bunch who feeds large groups homemade pastas on Sunday afternoons.

One Year Ago: Thick Fried Noodles with Chicken and Ginger Beef (not a recipe – sorry)



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38 comments on “Peroghy/Pierogi/Pyrohy (Stuffed with Mashed Potatoes, Chicken & Gravy)

  1. Lisa
    April 5, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Thank you! I live in Scotland and have been missing even those cheap bags of frozen perogies from the No Frills in Canada. But an authentic Ukranian recipe will be even better.

  2. Kate
    April 5, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Love the finished dish photo, but there is something that conjures up contentment just looking at knowing hands work pillows of tender dough into works of art.
    Glad to know this dough has the Julie stamp of approval and will be worth the effort.

  3. Vivian
    April 5, 2009 at 6:32 am

    I too have been patiently waiting for you to “get these little treats together”. Funny how almost every culture has some version of the stuffed dough pocket going on. I, like you, prefer a touch of crusty brown crunch on the bottoms, like gyoza! Thanks for the research on the perfect, authentic dough.

  4. Nicole
    April 5, 2009 at 6:35 am

    When I was a little girl my family would travel to Edmonton (we lived in a small northern community) and stay next to the Kingsway Garden Mall (Pre WEM days!). The HIGHLIGHT of the foodcourt experience for me was to visit the peroghy stand which I’m convinced to this day was run by Ukranian’s. So these were the real thing. I didn’t even bother to consider the call of the fast food stand of whatever franchise that was available. What makes this even more interesting to me is that my mom would make us peroghy’s just like a ukranian mama (no ukranian blood in our family) quite often….I must have REALLY loved peroghy’s back then. I’m feeling inspired to give it a go for my own family now!

  5. ladyloo
    April 5, 2009 at 7:01 am

    There is a distinct lack of baba’s here in Mississippi, or Ukrainians in general. I was actually really excited to find a tiny box of frozen perogies in the freezer case down here.

    But this recipe! Oh my. If I can’t smuggle pergoies from the Bearspaw Farmer’s Market in my suitcase, at least I have this recipe to tide me over.

  6. Jasmine
    April 5, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Can the dough rest for a couple of hours? I just made the dough-fully inspired by your pictures and words. Then realized that my leftover mashed potatoes will not be enough, will have to head to the store to get potatoes and aged cheese and other things for the week. Hoping that will work. This is one of my very favourite food blogs ever. Only discovered you a couple of weeks ago and have been telling everyone about it. Thank you!!

  7. gwendolyn (Patent and the Pantry)
    April 5, 2009 at 7:52 am

    This is exactly why I should not read your blog when I have no groceries in the house. The bacon and onions. Oh god, the bacon and onions. Drool.

  8. mister worms
    April 5, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I LOVE pierogi! I have got to try this dough. Everything I’ve used a recipe for so far has been godawful. And I have one of those polish babcias who never measure while they cook so it’s near impossible to copy her in my own kitchen.

    Coming up with fillings is so fun. One of my favorites is broccoli/cheese/onion/potato. I’m fond of more traditional fillings, too, like mushroom & cabbage, sweet farmer cheese and blueberry. mmmm.

  9. Cheryl
    April 5, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Because I’m on here and it is my Baba’s recipe, I’ll answer your question Jasmine. Yes, it should be fine to have the dough sit, as long as it’s covered. It can take a while to get through all the dough if you are making them by yourself so the dough can sit that whole time. You just don’t want it to dry out.

    Great post Julie! I’m glad to have passed on a treasured tradition and recipe.

  10. Cheryl
    April 5, 2009 at 10:14 am

    PS I would be remiss if I didn’t point out my Baba’s apron in the above photos – her cross-stitch and everything. Julie refused to wear one.

  11. Melanie
    April 5, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. Cheryl is so lucky to have this. It really makes me miss my baba so much (who I was missing anyways a lot today – don’t know if it is because of it being Easter or what)…
    I remember asking my baba for her pie dough recipe. Of course it was a little of this and a little of that and some farm cream and then you just “mix it till it feels right”… Babas are the best!!!

  12. Sue (London)
    April 5, 2009 at 11:03 am

    How funny it is that we’re all excited about this recipe. I love the idea of getting together with friends and making food together and I can see that making peroghy is the perfect vehicle for that. Yum. I’m going to make them with my 18 year old son, who loves the frozen ones from No Frills. We’ll likely never want those again! Thanks Cheryl & Julie!

  13. rea
    April 5, 2009 at 11:27 am

    thank you for sharing the recipe and reminding us of important things, like community.

  14. Lee Anne
    April 5, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Yum, I’ve got a little drool puddle forming at my computer desk just thinking about them. Love that you pan fry them and serve with sour cream, onions and bacon. That’s our favorite way to eat them.

  15. Sarah
    April 5, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    this makes me very excited for easter – homemade pierogi time! we make sauerkraut/cottage cheese. mmmm

  16. JulieVR
    April 5, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Cheryl – refused to is a little harsh! (I stripped down to my sloppy T-shirt – let’s just say gathered tie-around-the-waist aprons do not flatter me.)

  17. Maria
    April 5, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Thanks, I can’t wait to try these. I have such fond memories of the time our dear friend (who has since moved to Edmonton) invited us over one Easter to make her baba’s peroghy recipe, and decorate Ukranian easter eggs. It was so much fun getting together, making, and eating the food.

  18. Denise
    April 6, 2009 at 6:10 am

    This is the first time I’ve read through the blogs, interesting. In the picture of your end results the peroghies sitting on the carmelized onions or are the onions part of the filling? I haven’t tried any recipes yet, I’m more of a recipe junkie, I have tons of them knowing darn well that I will never use them. They are my reading materials. I may try this recipe though. How might I have the recipe since there is only one egg. There is only 2 of us here most of the time.

  19. Lana
    April 6, 2009 at 7:36 am

    John’s fav restaurant is a Polish place called the Wilno Tavern and they have local Babas make the pierogi, cabbage rolls and sausages for the menu.
    SO, to impress him when first we met, I made them homemade from a Canadian Catholic Women’s League Cookbook’s ethnic section. So much effort but so good. Twelve years later, (and just a few months ago) I taught our two daughters how to do it to surprise Daddy.
    I guess we’ll make them again for Easter weekend! Perfect for Good Friday. Thank you for sharing such a treasured recipe.
    I, too, love working together in a sunny kitchen with my sisters and Mom, my daughters or with friends.
    Maybe I’ll plan something soon….

  20. brilynn
    May 20, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I love love homemade pierogies! So good!

  21. Katie
    May 21, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    potato stuffed dumplings… i mean really. if there were ever a more perfect food, i’d love to hear about it. these look gorgeous. i like the crimping you did. so neat. looks aside, the ingredients sound wonderful. when i decide to give these a shot, i’ll definitely credit you on my blog! =D

  22. Sweinhardt
    July 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    We used this dough for gyoza-style pot stickers and it worked great!

  23. Jeff
    July 28, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Hi, I am anxious to try this, I am just wondering what would happen if I eliminated, or reduced, the oil. Other recipes I have seen don’t call for any so I am just wondering what you think, as I am on a strict, low-fat diet. Thanks!

  24. Lasha
    November 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I used your recipe this morning, as I needed a reminder of how much water to flour. perfect soft dough with just enough stretch. The only thing I did different is my Baba always taught me to use the water from when you boiled the potatoes. The little bit extra starch helps keep the dough pliable.

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    December 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    THANK YOU FOR AN AMAZING RECIPE! I am able to teach young people a traditional dish and easy recipe for the kids to follow! everyone got perigees for christmas!

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