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Alanna's Nana's Peroghies

Alanna's Nana's Peroghies

Recently Alanna, of Veggie Venture by Kitchen Parade, and I were having a wide-ranging discussion by email and somehow we got on the topic of "carrying on the tradition" of family cooks and treasured recipes.

Alanna (who, in partnership apparently with her whole family, has published a cookbook based on her grandmother's cooking) mentioned her Nana's peroghies (Alanna's family uses the alternate spelling, peroghies, which is apparently Ukranian; for reference, the more widely-used spelling is the Polish pierogi)....I asked her if I could have the recipe and she generously sent it along. She also gave me permission to publish it, so her original MS Word file is available by clicking HERE .

I tried it this week and I have to say, even though two of my grandparents were born in a village on the Polish-Ukranian border, this was one of the more humbling experiences I've had in a kitchen. Alanna's recipe is quite thorough and filled with "get-it-right" tips, but still there were a thousand twists on this road! They were good to eat, in the end, but I don't think I made even one that looked exactly the way I think they should look.

I'm not a huge perfectionist in the kitchen, as you can probably tell from the pictures on this site, but there is a certain way these little guys should look: nice little half moons, not too big, nice and plump where the filling is and thin, delicate edges where you can see 6-8 depressions made by the assembler's fingertips. Without going into too much detail, none of mine achieved all of these characteristics at once.

It just goes to show it takes experience to do this kind of thing well, which is something that can't be captured in a recipe! I once lived next to Chinatown in Boston, and I would stop in one of the restaurants for tea at an off hour and find most of the staff sitting around a large table, relaxing and chatting...and turning out perfect wontons with their fingers, at a speed of what looked like twenty a minute. The day I tried wontons I made 6 good ones in ten minutes, maybe. I'm sure Alanna's Nana had it down like that, and never thought for a minute about what she was doing as she cranked out batch after batch of perfect peroghies for her family, year after year.

I'm grateful to Alanna for allowing me the chance to try the recipe, and I definitely enjoy eating them. But I think that, like sushi (which I love), I'll leave the making of peroghies to the pros from now on, because if I'm going to eat them (which I am) I'd like them to be perfect, and I just know I'm never going to make enough of them to achieve the skill level required to make them that well!

Thanks Alanna!


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Stephen -- Perhaps you're more'f a perfectionist than you know?! Your peroghies look exactly like Nana's! Please know that your excitement about this old family recipe will ever be a high point in my food writing experiences -- imagine if I'd been able to get a taste! From now on, please consider yourself an 'uncle' in the Shingleton family! Many, many thanks. Alanna

I adore pierogis, and have never attempted to make them on my own (luckily, there is a lovely Ukranian lady who sells them at our farmer's market), but these fruit-filled beauties may be enough of a reward to delve into the world of proper technique!

Hi Tara..ok, here are some tips if you want to try it...make sure everything that touches the dough is well-floured - otherwise they stick and get pulled out of shape...I found the dough needed at least a couple of minutes kneading...the cutter I used was slightly more than 2" in diameter and the dough was a little less than 1/4" when cut...the second rolling, to form the oblong shape, was done with an Atlas pasta machine (with Alanna's approval) for consistency, on notch #7, the thinnest I could go without having them tear upon was fun, but as I say in the post, I think I'm going to be looking for the Ukranian lady at the farmers' market for these from now on...

Thanks for your continued interest in!

I think maybe making the Martinis with Polish Vodka might have helped with the pierogi-making :) I'll bring back some "little old Ukranian lady" pierogis from PA next week and we'll have a "pierogi-off"!

It looks great !
Thanks :-)

Hi Stephen, my wife is Polish and makes pierogi a couple of times a year. She uses a mould she bought from a specialist kitchen supplier, puts the pastry and filling in, closes the mould and presto, perfect pierogi. Not as authentic as by hand, but if it's good enough for her...

I am Slovak/American/German and have made pierogi for years. My recipe for the dough is similar but my favorite filling is homemade saurkrautwith sour cream and little bits of crisp bacon. It must have been my dog's also because I had left a huge batch on my kitchen counter to dry a little before I cooked them and lo and behold my male black lab ate the entire bunch raw!!! He wasn't even ill but my family was quite upset!! I love your site.

Hi Stephen,

So glad you enjoyed my mother's peroghies. She and I made them many many times together over the years, just loved it. Not able to make them now (I'm 80 years young) but found a good place in Winnipeg where I can purchase them, including blueberry, always our favorite. In fact, we had these for supper last night at Alanna's Dad's.

Thank you for all your great support for my wonderful niece Alanna (this is my first time ever on the internet and she is typing but she really IS wonderful ...)

Happy 4th of July from a Canadian "cousin" ... maybe we shall meet some time.

Live Love Laugh,

Gloria Shingleton Miller

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