Enjoy old-time favourites from around the world

Canada’s winter festive season is as diverse as its people. From Diwali to Hanukkah to Christmas, Orthodox Christmas and Chinese New Year, there is no lack of reason to put on a feast during these wintry days.

Many recipes are handed down from generation to generation and it is often a challenge for the modern home cook to follow some of the original family recipes.

Take perogy dough as an example. My Ukrainian friend, Linda, and I set out to translate her baba’s recipe for perogy dough. The recipe was written as a juice glass of this and a medium bowl of that without measurements in cups or litres. We went through my kitchen to find bowls and glasses of the size Linda hoped she remembered. And as she did that, I measured.

Perogy Dough

Unbleached flour is important in this recipe and any recipe that requires elasticity in the dough. With-out it, the dough will break when stretched.

  • 9 c. all purpose flour 2.25 L
  • 3 c. unbleached bread flour 750 mL
  • about 4 c. warm water 1 L

Mix and knead and divide into two or three balls and let rest for five minutes. Dust rolling pin and counter top with flour and roll dough out to 1/8 – 1/4 inch (4-6 mm) thick. Cut into circles about two inch (5 cm) diameter. Roll each again a little more to make an oval.
Put a tablespoon (15 mL) of filling into each. Use a little water on the edge before closing and pinch together to seal. Continue until all dough is made into perogies.
Boil perogies in a large pot of generously salted water, until they float, about eight minutes.
Serve with sauteed diced onions, butter and sour cream.

Blueberry or Saskatoon Perogies

Mix one cup (250 mL) of sugar with three tablespoons (45 mL) flour. Place five to seven berries and one tablespoon (15 mL) sugar mixture in each perogy. Close and pinch the seam together.

Potato and Cheese Filling for Perogies

  • 4 – 6 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 c. grated medium cheddar cheese 125 mL
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. butter 37 mL
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 3 1/2 T. processed cheese spread 47 mL
  • salt to taste
  • milk to thin, if necessary
  • pinch of pepper

Boil potatoes and drain. Mash with the rest of the ingredients until it reaches a pureed texture. Put one tablespoon (15 mL) in each perogy.

Taco Perogy Casserole

Thick dough perogies work best in this recipe. Thin dough perogies may break apart.

  • 35 oz. pkg. bacon flavoured 1 kg perogies
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef 500 g
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 green or red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning (recipe follows) 30 mL
  • 1/2 c. beef stock 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. sour cream 125 mL
  • 2 – 3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese, grated 250 mL
  • 2 green onions, cut on the bias

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook perogies until warmed through. Drain and set aside.
While perogies are cooking, brown ground beef in a large pan that has been lightly oiled.
After meat begins to brown, add onions and peppers and cook until the beef is completely cooked. Stir in taco seasoning.
Add beef stock and cook until slightly thickened, about five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and tomatoes.
Assemble by lightly oiling a nine x nine inch (22 cm x 22 cm) baking dish. Put half of the perogies on the bottom and top with half of the beef mixture.
Top with half of the grated cheese. Repeat with another layer of perogies, ground beef and grated cheese. Broil until cheese melts. Garnish with green onions and serve.

Taco Seasoning

A well stocked spice cabinet does not require any seasoning mixes.

  • 2 tbsp. chili powder 30 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne 1 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano 2 mL
  • 1 tsp. paprika 5 mL
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin 15 mL
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. flour 30 mL

Mix thoroughly and store in a container with a tight fitting lid.

Classic Apple Strudel

This is a classic Serbian Orthodox New Year sweet. The dying art of stretching dough is not impossible to learn but patience is key. Stretch the dough, rest it, then stretch again. The dough is thin enough when you can read a newspaper through it.

  • 3 c. unbleached bread flour 750 mL
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. soft, unsalted butter 60 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1 c. cold water 250 mL
  • vegetable oil
  • flour
  • 3/4 c. coarse white bread crumbs 175 mL
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted 125 mL
  • 1 1/2 lbs. peeled, cored and thinly sliced Granny Smith, Pippin or other cooking apples 375 mL
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar 75 mL
  • 3/4 c. dark raisins 175 mL
  • 3/4 c. coarsely crushed nuts 175 mL
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon 10 mL
  • 1/2 c. firm, unsalted butter 125 mL

Make dough by adding flour, egg, soft butter and salt to the bowl of electric stand mixer. Mixing with dough hook on low speed, add enough cold water to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about five minutes. Form dough into a ball and coat it with oil. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about one hour.
Make the filling by combining sliced apples, sugar, raisins, nuts, ground cinnamon and half of the bread crumbs. Cut the firm butter into chunks and gently toss together with the apple mixture.
To assemble, cover a work surface approximately four feet by four feet (1.2 m x 1.2 m) with a clean piece of cloth. The cloth is used to facilitate rolling the dough.
Dust cloth lightly with flour and place rested dough in the centre. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a large, thin rectangle. When dough is as thin as it will go with the rolling pin, it is time to begin stretching and pulling.
Place your hands under the dough and using thumbs and the back of your hand, gently begin pulling and stretching until it is a rectangle approximately 3 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet (1m x 1m).
Be careful not to tear dough. After it is pulled to the proper size, let it relax on the table for a few minutes. Place apple mixture along the long edge of the dough closest to you, then form the filling into a thick log. Brush some of the reserved melted butter over the remainder of the dough. Sprinkle remaining bread crumbs over the dough.
Using the cloth to help lift dough, roll strudel like a jelly roll, starting from the filling side. Place the strudel, seam side down, in a horseshoe shape on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with melted butter.
Bake in a preheated 375 F (190 C) oven for about 35 minutes. Just before serving, dust with icing sugar and slice strudel into individual servings. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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