An Ode to Pyrohy

Perogies, or in Ukrainian Pyrohy, are called Varenyky in many Slavic countries.  Varenyky actually translates to English as “boiled things” which is typically how these dreamy little packages are cooked.
Fillings include fruit, often sour cherries or blueberries (the antioxidants!), poppyseed (tricky to contain), sauerkraut (acquired taste?), cottage cheese and potato (classic), and the beloved potato, onion and cheddar (pure heaven). You can lean over the border into Poland with fantastic mushroom fillings, get hot & spicy with southwestern flavours like chipotle and beans, or venture into fusion cuisine with curried-potato pyrohy.
 
All of them are delicious. 
 
Pyrohy have taken on mythical proportions in Ukrainian-Canadian kitchens and continue their dominance across Ukraine.  They even took their place as political commentary in the 1858 Stepan Rudansky poem Varenyky-Varenyky in which a Russian soldier is asking a Ukrainian countrywoman to cook pyrohy for him. However, he cannot bring to mind the word "varenyky", while the woman pretends not to understand him.
Taras Shevchenko and Mykola Hohol (Nikolai Gogol) both wrote about the enchanting pyrohy. In Gogol’s short story Christmas Eve, taken from his collection Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, Gogol pens a scene where a Cossack eats magical pyrohy that fly down into a basin of cream and then into his mouth.
There are monumental statues of these delicacies in many
places around the world, including an 8.2m version in
Glendon, Alberta (watch the CBC story here).
Our own Dovbush Dancers have even performed a
light-hearted ode to the pyrohy called “Shchedrivochka”
(check their Facebook page for more) by renowned
choreographer Anna Kanevets.  Click on the video image
to start playing a clip of their 2016 performance at Mosaic.
Are you missing the Hall’s famous Pyrohy Lunch, and craving a plate of delicious potato dumplings?  Now might be the time to try learning a new culinary skill and make your own at home!  Since we can’t see you this year and serve you this delicious treat, we’ve put together a family-friendly pyrohy recipe you can make yourself, and fill your freezer to enjoy while you stay safe at home. Give it a try - and see you at the next Pyrohy Lunch!  The recipe we use to make our famous pyrohy would give you enough to “feed an army” so we are also sharing the Beck family's pared down recipe which will make enough for a few family meals or a small freezer supply.  Enjoy your homemade pyrohy adventures!

Click here for the recipe courtesy of the AUUC Vancouver
Click here for the recipe courtesy of Janice Beck

Click the gallery above to see more photos from the Beck family's three-generation pyrohy-making session. You'll also find a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Hall's famous pyrohy.

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