Vareniki (Вареники)

September 8, 2010

Le Shana Tova

Happy New Year to all my Jewish friends. May this year bring peace and a world filled with happiness, laughter and love. Leshana tova tekatev v’techatem.

Healthier Vareniki

Healthier Vareniki

Tonight, for Rosh Hashana, I am serving Vareniki (варе́ники.)

Vareniki is the ultimate comfort food for me. Both my husband and I grew up on these to-die-for ravioli-style Russian dumplings, stuffed with mashed potatoes and caramelized onions.

I definitely know a good Varenik when I see one. Savory yet mildly sweet, tender but not too mushy, a good Varenik stands out in a crowd.

Admittedly, Vareniki are not the healthiest of foods. So, as tempting as it may be, I do not recommend eating a whole pot of them at once.  In addition to my recommendation to practice moderation, I have also tried to healthify the original recipe by eliminating the eggs, cutting down on butter, and replacing white flour with whole wheat.  I think that my prayers about not sacrificing too much of the taste were answered. These Vareniki are definitely reminiscent of those by Grandma Eva, who by far makes the best Vareniki in the world.

Vareniki (Вареники)

This recipe is dedicated to grandmother Eva, one of the best cooks that I know, with my sincere wishes for her fast recovery in this coming year.

Dough

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup potato water (from pot with boiled potatoes)
  • 1/2 small potato, cooked and mashed

Directions

  1. Mix flour with water. Add salt and mashed potato.
  2. Knead the dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Roll into 4 ball, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

Filling

Ingredients

  • 2.5 large potatoes (baking potatoes are a good size)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼-½ lb  75% reduced fat cheddar
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Sautee onion in butter over low-medium heat until lightly browned (about 30 minutes.)
  2. Add mashed potatoes. Mix well.
  3. Season with salt & pepper.

Rolling the dough

Rolling the dough

Cutting the dough

Cutting the dough

Cutting the dough

Cutting the dough

Dough circles

Dough circles

Dough circle

Dough circle

Filling Vareniki

Filling Vareniki

I am showing my daughter how to seal Vareniki with my fingers

I am showing my daughter how to seal Vareniki with my fingers

My daughter is sealing Vareniki

My daughter is sealing Vareniki

Vareniki are ready to be boiled or frozen

Vareniki are ready to be boiled or frozen

A close-up of Vareniki

A close-up of Vareniki

Final product

Вареники - ready to eat!

Putting it all together

  1. Roll out the dough so that it is very thin (1/8”)
  2. Cut out circles with a wide water or wine  glass
  3. Fill each medallion with about 1 tablespoon of the filling
  4. Fold dough over to make half moons. Press around edges with a finger, and then with a fork. Make sure that the filling doesn’t ooze out
  5. At this point, you can either freeze Vareniki or boil them
  6. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil; add a pinch of salt
  7. Add Verniki into the pot, one by one
  8. Boil for 4 minutes. Cooked Vareniki will float to the surface when done
  9. With a slotted spoon, fish out the Vareniki and place them on a plate
  10. Top with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese or drizzle with olive oil and caramelized onions

Wine… excuse me, Vodka pairing

For Rosh Hashana, we are planning to have these with a few shots of Russian Standard Vodka

Vareniki

Vareniki

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