Number 4 of our '5 key ingredients for a Ukrainian Christmas' is a varenyky recipe, which no-one can live without.
Varenyky are one of our members favourite Ukrainian dishes, so it was only right to have our last recipe on this much-loved dumpling! Like most other Ukrainian recipes, there are several different fillings you can substitute our potato recipe with. Some of our other best-loved fillings include cherry, sauerkraut, and cottage cheese!
For the dough:
For the filling and to serve:
A bag of Maris Piper potatoes.
1 block of cheddar cheese.
2 blocks of rich, crumbly cheese. We find that either Lancashire or Wensleydale are tastiest!
2-3 onions, depending on how many people are eating.
Part 1: Making the filling:
1. Cooking the potatoes: wash, peel and chop the potatoes, before placing them in a large pan filled with salted boiling water. Cover, bring to the boil, and then simmer for around 15 minutes. The potatoes should be soft enough to easily pierce with a knife, but not too mushy as this will make your mash too sloppy!
2. Once cooked, drain the potatoes and mash until smooth. Whilst still hot, grate in the cheese and allow it to melt in. Transfer the filling to a separate bowl and allow to cool completely.
Part 2: Preparing the dough:
1. Whilst the filling is cooling, we can begin to prepare the dough. Take one glass-full of flour. We usually find that an average-sized glass provides a sufficient amount.
2. Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl and gradually add cold water as needed to get the correct consistency. Knead the dough for around 5 minutes on a floured surface until it is smooth and does not stick to your fingers. Once finished, place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a loose tea towel, allowing it to rest for around 30 minutes.
Part 3: Assembling your varenyky: Filling your varenyky can prove a little difficult, so we thought it is best explained through a video. Try not to worry if yours are not perfect straight away - it takes a little practice!
1. To assemble your varenyky, we find it is easiest to break off a small ball from the dough and expand this from the middle out - almost as if you are creating a mini pizza base!
2. Once you have a large disk, add some of your filling into the centre of the circle, moulding it into a rough circle.
3. Fold over the bottom side of the disk so it meets the top, and pinch the sides together to seal the filling in. To create that well-known varenyky shape, you can bend the dumpling slightly.
Part 4: Cooking your varenyky:
1. Whilst boiling your varenyky, simultaneously sauté finely diced onions in butter until golden brown.
2. Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to the boil. Gently drop between 7-10 dumplings in at a time, depending on the size of your pan. They usually take between 3-5 minutes to cook, and will rise to the top once done. Remove and place in a colander to drain, repeating the process until all are cooked. 3. To serve your varenyky, top with the fried onions and a generous dollop of soured cream.
Try not to have your dough too thick before adding the filling to the varenyky, as these will take longer to cook and will taste stodgier.
We've seen many of our members use a varenyky cutter to help them achieve the perfect shape.