This Ukrainian varenyky recipe with traditional potato filling calls for just a handful of ingredients. It makes for the perfect weekend kitchen project. (This dough recipe is adapted from Mamushka by Olia Hercules [Weldon Owen, 2015])
For the Dough
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ⅔ cup water (5 ounces)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 ⅔ – 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
For the Filling
- 2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 large potatoes), peeled and cut into ½” chunks
- Fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 medium onions, diced
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Unsweetened vegan yogurt or sour cream, to serve
- Make the Dough: In a large bowl, stir together the egg, water, and salt until fully combined. Gradually add about 2 ⅔ cups of the flour and stir to combine into a shaggy dough. Using your hands, gather the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough with the heels of your palms until it is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticks to your hands, sprinkling on more flour as needed, about 5 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl, loosely cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Cook the Potatoes: Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a medium pot with enough water to cover by about 2 inches and a teaspoon of salt. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer with the lid ajar until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, about 15 minutes.
- Cook the Onions: Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re dark brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Set the skillet aside.
- Finish the Filling: Reserve 1/3 cup of the potato cooking water, drain the potatoes, and return them to the pot. Mash until smooth and stir in the reserved cooking water and a third of the fried onions with their oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Let the potatoes cool to room temperature. (To cool the potatoes faster, transfer them to a shallow dish or baking sheet).
- Roll out the Dough: Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (keep the remaining dough in the bowl covered with the towel), using your hands, roll the dough into a thin log about 10 inches long and 1 inch thick. On a floured surface, cut the log into approximately 12 1-inch pieces (these should resemble gnocchi). Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll each piece into an approximately 3-inch circle; if the dough is sticking to the surface or rolling pin, dust it with more flour.
- Fill the Dough: Working with 1 circle of dough at a time, place a heaping teaspoon of the potato filling into the center. Gather the dough into a half-moon shape around the filling and pinch the top closed, then pinch both edges closed. Place the shaped varenik on a well-floured board or tray and continue filling the rest of the dough.
- Boil the Varenyky: Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Boil the varenyky in batches – you don’t want to overcrowd the pot. Cook them for 2 to 3 minutes – they are done when they’ve floated to the surface, the water returns to a simmer, and they’ve been simmering for about 30 seconds. Do not overcook, as the filling will escape the dough.
- Serve: Immediately after boiling, toss the varenyky with a bit of olive oil (See Note) and the remaining fried onions. Serve hot, with vegan yogurt or sour cream. Leftover varenyky are great reheated in a pan until crispy.
If dairy is not a concern for you, toss the varenyky in the more traditional butter instead of olive oil in step 8.
- Serving Size: 10 varenyky
- Calories: 450
- Fiber: 7.1 g
- Protein: 11.5 g