When I moved to Toronto it was the first time I was on my own. Being a vegetarian at the time my university’s meal plan was one to be desired. I had the option of wilted salad, pasta covered in cheese, and a veggie burger that tasted like a deep fried sock. It wasn’t long before I gave up on the cafeteria and began ‘cooking’ my own meals. I found myself so busy with assignments that I often just picked up a bag of cheese perogies for dinner. I think I single handedly kept the perogie manufacturers in business that year. By Christmas I had to give up being a vegetarian. I had put on a lot of weight and lacked energy due to my carb only diet. It was too difficult to maintain a healthy vegetarian lifestyle with my meal plan and busy schedule. I was feeling nostalgic for my college days and decided to whip up a batch of fresh perogies. These are much better than the frozen store bought variety!
For the Dough
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ Tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. melted butter, salted
1 ¼ cup plain yogurt
1 Tsp. vegetable oil
For the Filling
2 – 3 Large potatoes
3 slices bacon
2 shallots, finely sliced
½ green apple, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp walnuts, finely ground in food processor
2 Tbsp. cottage cheese
1 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup Sharp white cheddar, shredded
¼ cup gorgonzola, crumbled
In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine butter, yogurt, eggs, and oil. Whisk until smooth and fold into the flour mixture. Stir the mixture until the flour is fully combined and a light and sticky dough forms.
Cover the bowl with a cloth and let stand one hour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
For the filling start with the potatoes. Peel and boil them until tender; about 15 – 20 minutes depending on the size. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot or dutch oven cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from pan, chop into small pieces and set aside.
Add olive oil to bacon fat and heat over medium high. Sauté shallots in oil for one minute, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until they begin to caramelize.
Add diced apple to the pan and continue to cook on low heat until shallots are caramelized and apples are tender. Remove from heat.
Return bacon and potatoes to the pan and mash until the shallots, bacon and apples are equally distributed throughout the mash.
Add cottage cheese, milk, butter, ground walnuts, white cheddar and gorgonzola and continue to mash until almost smooth and fully combined. Set aside.
To assemble the perogies, flour a large workspace and roll out the dough until it is ¼ of an inch thin.
Using a round cookie cutter or the top of a wine glass, cut rounds of dough and place 1 tablespoon of filling the the middle. Wet the edges of the dough and fold over pressing the sides to seal in the filling. I like to use a fork to press down the edges so the filling is securely inside.
Place the perogies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer for two hours. Once they are frozen move the perogies to a freezer bag and keep them frozen until they will be used.
To cook perogies, place them in a large bowl of hot water. In the meantime warm olive oil over medium heat and sauté some onions and garlic. Add perogies to oil and fry until they are hot and golden brown. Serve with sour cream or gorgonzola cream sauce.
Yield 24 perogies