Vareniki1.jpg
Mill City Cooks

UKRAINIAN VARENIKI

by Chef Nick Schneider

Dumplings are a near universal food in many places.  From China to Eastern Europe to Italy, many cultures have developed creative doughs with an almost infinite kind of fillings, from meats, to sweet fruits, to mushrooms, to cheeses and vegetables. They serve as edible celebrations for winter festivals and holidays, great street food or just tremendous warmth giving snacks during the coldest months.

This Ukrainian version dumpling is closely related to the Polish pierogi.  The egg and the sour cream functions to make the dough soft and pliable. Naturally soured dairy products are a feature of these central Asian and Eastern European food cultures.

Dough:
1.75 c AP flour
.25 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp veg oil
.5 c sour cream
Filling:

Cheese filling:

1 lb goat cheese – fresh chevre or semi soft goat cheese from Singing Hills Dairy.
.5 c.  sauerkraut from Kiss My Cabbage.  Regular, Coriander or Caraway Juniper.
Mince the sauerkraut. Drain slightly before mixing the goat cheese. Set aside.
Making the Dough:

Sift together the flour and salt. Mix together the sour cream, oil and egg.

Add this mixture all at once to the flour and mix with paddle for 3 min. or knead by hand for 5-6 min. If dough is sticky add extra flour.

Rest dough covered for 1/2 hour.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Using a metal cutter, cut into circles sized according to the size dumpling you want.  Fill each piece of dough with a little filling covering the center but leaving enough room on the edges to seal. Seal by pressing with tines of a fork or using fingers. Set on a floured tray before cooking.

Cooking the Vareniki:

Have a pot of boiling salted water ready.  I use 1 quart of water per serving, approximately. Add the dumplings, boil for 2-3 minutes or until the dumplings float – which won’t take long for a small batch.  Remove with slotted spoon to a sauté pan with melted butter and sautéed onions. Season, toss to coat and serve.

Other serving options:

Toss with diced, cooked beets and brown butter. Season with with a little toasted caraway seed or poppy seeds. Or steamed chiffonade of kale.

Makes a great first course, light lunch or accompaniment to a pork tenderloin or fish course.

Photo taken from: junglekey.com