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.
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.
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.
- 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
- Mix flour with water. Add salt and mashed potato.
- Knead the dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Roll into 4 ball, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
- 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
- Sautee onion in butter over low-medium heat until lightly browned (about 30 minutes.)
- Add mashed potatoes. Mix well.
- Season with salt & pepper.
Putting it all together
- Roll out the dough so that it is very thin (1/8”)
- Cut out circles with a wide water or wine glass
- Fill each medallion with about 1 tablespoon of the filling
- 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
- At this point, you can either freeze Vareniki or boil them
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil; add a pinch of salt
- Add Verniki into the pot, one by one
- Boil for 4 minutes. Cooked Vareniki will float to the surface when done
- With a slotted spoon, fish out the Vareniki and place them on a plate
- 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