Ukrainian Recipes
VARENYKY

Potato and Mushroom          Potato and Sauerkraut        Potato and Cheese

Recipes for Varenyky Fillings

These are the fillings that we like. Actually what you can use for your filling is only limited by your own culinary imagination. In Ukraine, we have dined on all of these fillings as well as cabbage, pork, fresh blueberries and strawberries. Count on several hours from start to finish on most of these fillings. If you have room in your refrigerator, make your fillings the day before and it will shorten the final preparation.

MUSHROOM AND POTATO

Everybody's favorite. Savory garlic and mushroom flavor.

INGREDIENTS 
3 to 4      Large Real Potatoes
8 oz      Canned Mushrooms bits and pieces
1 Clove       Real Garlic 
1      Large Yellow Onion- Diced
3 Tblsp      Vegetable or Olive Oil
Spuds in a bucket Peel  your potatoes
 
 

Any type of potato will do, but for heaven's sake don't use instant potatoes.  I like the large russet variety. The larger the better. Who wants to be peeling a gazillion small potatoes? Unless you have children. What better way to introduce them to helping out in the kitchen? Boil the potatoes until  you can easily push a fork all the way through. Drain thoroughly in a strainer until cool. 
 

Tip: Keep your potatoes under water until you boil them and they won't turn brown.

Mash  your potatoes
 
 
 

Using a hand masher,  thoroughly smash the potatoes.  Don't add any butter, milk or use a mixer. You want to keep them thick, not lumpy or runny. Lumpy  potatoes will poke holes in the dough and runny potatoes will leak out. Either will  leave you with nothing but large pieces of dough at the bottom of a pot of boiling water. 

 

Season the Oil
 
 
 
 
 

Slice the garlic as thin as possible, placing  in a large skillet with the oil. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, press and break up the garlic. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes on high heat. 

 

Add the  Onions
 
 
 

Add the diced onions. I chop them by hand because I hate to clean out the food processor for  a couple of onions.  Yellow onions seem to hold their flavor more in the cooking process and don't turn to mush. Fortunately, they are also the least expensive onion in the produce isle. Stir it well, coating it in the garlic oil.

 

Watch those pinkies! Drain the Mushrooms
 
 

The mushrooms are in cans full of water. Usually more water than mushrooms. You need to get as much water as possible out.  You can drain them, but they are like sponges and still retain most of the water. What I do is cut the lid completely off the can. Place the can in the sink  and push the lid down as far as you can into the can. This will squeeze more water out. BE CAREFUL! There are plenty of sharp edges to cut on.  There is no problem if the mushrooms are still full of water. It will just take longer to cook. 

 

Oh Man, do these smell good! Add the Mushrooms and Cook
 
 
 
 
 

Add the drained mushrooms to the onions in the skillet. Cook on high, stirring frequently.  In about 20 to 30 minutes, the mushrooms will turn a golden brown.  I like mine a little crispy, but you can cook it to suit your taste. Also, you might want to add a little salt or pepper. However, keep in mind if you are giving these as gifts, some people may be on a low salt diet. 

 

Combine with the Mashed Potatoes
 
 
 
 

Dump the mushroom and onion mixture into the potatoes. Mix thoroughly and allow to cool.  Cover and refrigerate until you are ready  for the final preparation.  You will find that the mixture good enough to eat by itself.

 


SAUERKRAUT  AND POTATO


INGREDIENTS
1      14 oz can of sauerkraut
1      Large Yellow Onion - Diced 
3 to 4       Large Real Potatoes
3 Tblsp      Vegetable oil
Spuds in a bucket Peel  your potatoes
 
 

Any type of potato will do, but for heaven's sake don't use instant potatoes.  I like the large russet variety. The larger the better. Who wants to be peeling a gazillion small potatoes? Unless you have children. What better way to introduce them to helping out in the kitchen? Boil the potatoes until  you can easily push a fork all the way through. Drain thoroughly in a strainer until cool. 
 

Tip: Keep your potatoes under water until you boil them and they won't turn brown.

Mash  your potatoes
 
 
 

Using a hand masher,  thoroughly smash the potatoes.  Don't add any butter, milk or use a mixer. You want to keep them thick, not lumpy or runny. Lumpy  potatoes will poke holes in the dough and runny potatoes will leak out. Either will  leave you with nothing but large pieces of dough at the bottom of a pot of boiling water. 

 

Add the  Onions
 
 
 

Add the diced onions. I chop them by hand because I hate to clean out the food processor for  a couple of onions.  Yellow onions seem to hold their flavor more in the cooking process and don't turn to mush. Fortunately, they are also the least expensive onion in the produce isle. 

 

Watch those pinkies! Drain the Sauerkraut
 
 

The sauerkraut are in cans full of water. Usually more water than cabbage. You need to get as much water as possible out.  You can drain it in a strainer, but it still retains most of the water. What I do is cut the lid completely off the can. Place the can in the sink  and push the lid down as far as you can into the can. This will squeeze more water out. BE CAREFUL! There are plenty of sharp edges to cut on.  There is no problem if the sauerkraut is still full of water. It will just take longer to cook. 

 

kraut is a fryin Add the Sauerkraut and Cook
 

Add the drained sauerkraut to the onions in the skillet. Cook on high. Press it down like a hashbrown, then every 3 to 5 minutes, stir it up and press it back down again.  In about 20 to 30 minutes, the mixture will turn a speckled  brown. Cook to your liking.  Also, you might want to add a little  pepper. No need for salt, there is plenty in the sauerkraut. 

 

Combine with the Mashed Potatoes
 
 
 
 

Dump the sauerkraut and onion mixture into the potatoes. Mix thoroughly and allow to cool.  Cover and refrigerate until you are ready  for the final preparation. 

 

POTATO AND CHEESE

INGREDIENTS
8 oz      Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 to 4      Large Real Potatoes

 
Spuds in a bucket Peel  your potatoes
 
 

Any type of potato will do, but for heaven's sake don't use instant potatoes.  I like the large russet variety. The larger the better. Who wants to be peeling a gazillion small potatoes? Unless you have children. What better way to introduce them to helping out in the kitchen? Boil the potatoes until  you can easily push a fork all the way through. Drain thoroughly in a strainer until cool. 
 

Tip: Keep your potatoes under water until you boil them and they won't turn brown.

Mash  your potatoes
 
 
 

Using a hand masher,  thoroughly smash the potatoes.  Don't add any butter, milk or use a mixer. You want to keep them thick, not lumpy or runny. Lumpy  potatoes will poke holes in the dough and runny potatoes will leak out. Either will  leave you with nothing but large pieces of dough at the bottom of a pot of boiling water. 

 

CUTTING THE CHEESE
Cut the cheese into small cubes, roughly 1/4 inch in size. Sharp cheddar is the best, it tends to keep its flavor after cooking.  The cubes provide a nice concentration of cheese in each Varenyky. You may use shredded cheese, but it doesn't quite deliver the taste. Below is a guide on how to cut your cheese. 
Use a wire slicer 
if you have one and
cut 1/4 inch wide
slices
Stack the slices
Using a knife, make
1/4 inch cuts down
through the entire stack
As you make each cut, line
them out on the cutting board.
Then make a 1/4 inch cuts
(roughly)
End result is a pile of
cheese cubes. Mix them up
to break them apart.
 Add the Cheese to the Potatoes
 
 
 

Make sure your potatoes have cooled first!. If you don't, you'll have a gooey mess. Mix the cheese cubes thoroughly with the potatoes.  Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to prepare the varenyky. 
 
 

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Lets go home to eat