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 Vareniki 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 Eastern European food cultures.
- 1/2 cup sauerkraut (regular, coriander or caraway juniper from Kiss My Cabbage)
- 1 pound goat cheese (fresh chevre or semi soft goat cheese from Singing Hills Dairy)
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (from Sunrise Flour Mill)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Mince the sauerkraut and drain it slightly before mixing in the goat cheese. Set aside.
To make the dough, sift together the flour and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, oil and egg. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Mix with paddle for 3 minutes or knead by hand for 5-6 minutes. If the 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 until cooking.
To cook 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.