Place of origin
|Dough; mashed potatoes, quark or cottage cheese, meat, mushrooms, fruits, cabbage, sauerkraut, or hard-boiled eggs|
Varenyky are square- or crescent-shaped dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed with mashed potato, sauerkraut, cheese, cabbage, meat, hard-boiled egg (a Mennonite tradition) or a combination of these, or with a fruit filling. Varenyky are very popular in Ukraine and Russia.
During preparation, the filling is wrapped with dough, boiled for several minutes, and then covered with butter or cooking oil. The name varenyk, in fact, simply means "boiled thing", from the adjective varenyy. In certain regions of Ukraine they do not boil varenyky, but steam them instead. Varenyky are typically topped with fried salo bits (shkvarky) and onions and accompanied with smetana. Left-over varenyky may be fried. Sweet, fruit-filled varenyky are served with sour cream and sugar. Raw varenyky (with the dough uncooked) can be stored frozen, then cooked in three minutes, which makes them a convenience food.
Other preparation methods include the Latvian tradition of glazing with egg white, baking, and serving with soup; the Mennonite tradition of baking and serving with borscht; and the Polish tradition of boiling, then frying in butter with onions.
Varieties of varenyky
Varenyky come with a wide variety of either savory or sweet fillings. Here is a list of varenyky served in a restaurant specializing in national Ukrainian dishes:
- Potatoes and mushrooms
- Cabbage (pre-roasted sour cabbage)
- Cabbage and mushrooms
- Cottage Cheese (Canadian Mennonite and Canadian Ukrainian variations)
- Sauerkraut (sautéed)
- Salty white cheese
- Fish (salmon and pike-perch)
- Meat (pork and beef mixture)
- Meat and cabbage
- Liver (beef)
- Liver and potatoes
- Offal (mixture of beef lung, heart, liver, "Old Ukrainian style")
Savory varieties are usually topped with melted butter, sour cream, fried salo, and fried onions. In the case of the Canadian Mennonite cottage cheese variation, these varenyky are usually topped with a savory cream sauce called schmauntfat.
- Fresh white cheese (Russian: domashniy syr ("домашний сыр"), Russian: tvorog ("творог"))
- Bilberry, or blueberry in North America
Sweet varieties are usually topped with melted butter, sour cream, and sometimes raspberry jam. Ukrainian cherry varenyky is often topped with honey.
There are also alternative ways to make varenyky and even in some cases they are filled with kiwi or mango.
Lazy varenyky (Ukrainian: книдлі, ліниві вареники, Russian: ленивые вареники) in Russian and Ukrainian cuisine are gnocchi-shaped dumplings made by mixing tvoroh (curd cheese) with egg and flour into quick dough. The cheese-based dough is formed into a long sausage about 2 cm thick, which is cut diagonally into gnocchi, called halushky in Ukrainian, galushki in Russian, or kopytka in Polish. The dumplings are then quickly boiled in salted water and served with sour cream or melted butter. The name "lazy varenyky" faithfully reflects the very quick preparation time of the dish: it usually takes ten to fifteen minutes from assembling the simple ingredients to serving the cooked dumplings. Lazy varenyky differ from standard varenyky in the same way that Italian gnocchi differ from ravioli or tortellini: these are fluffy solid dumplings, not stuffed pockets of dough. A similar dish in Polish cuisine is called lazy pierogi (Polish: leniwe pierogi or kopytka).
A monument to varenyky was inaugurated in Cherkasy, Ukraine in September 2006. The monument erected at the entrance to a hotel shows Cossack Mamay (a Ukrainian folklore hero whose fondness for varenyky was narrated by both Taras Shevchenko and Nikolay Gogol) eating varenyky from an earthenware pot, with a huge crescent-shaped varenyk behind him.
- Vareniki from the menu of Korchma “Taras Bul’ba” (Russian).
- Lazy vareniki: recipe, preparation, and serving suggestion.
- A monument to vareniki in Cherkasy, Ukraine (Russian); also see a news item on gpu.ua, 27 September 2006 (Ukrainian).
- A monument to halushky in Poltava, Ukraine.
- "Giant ''perogy'' in Glendon, Alberta". Bigthings.ca. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- "Artist hopes a pierogi will rise in Northeast". Startribune.com. 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
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