Saturday, December 22, 2007

Homemade Pierogi (Pedeha)

Last year, my grandma decided her pierogi (pedeha if you are Ukrainian like us and from now on what I will call these things) making days were over.

Being that this is something my mom has little interest in making, the task soon fell to me. Being I'm a family-history, make-things-from-scratch kind of gal, I embraced this (at least I did last year when Grandma came over to help and teach me) Well we were supposed to have a repeat performance of that but because of schedules and a nasty flu I caught (I'm better now thanks!) I was flying solo last night when I made them myself.

I made about 62. It took me 3 hours from start to finish. (OMG! I completely appreciated all the years my grandma made about 100 of these!) He's a secret. I don't even really like these things. I find them heavy and eat 1/2 of one each year. My mother-in-law told me that since I had been sick I should just hightail it over to the polish store and buy some. I couldn't do it! My dad and Brother LOVE these things. I couldn't host a Christmas Eve without having these for them. Mine don't have a fancy edge like the ones in the photo. But having homemade pedeha for my family IS a beautiful thing and I'm glad I did it. It was also really cheap (hence why poor Slavic countries have made them staples!) I would post the recipe but I don't think any of you will be making these any time soon! (If I'm wrong let me know and I'll post it!)


Unknown said...

I'm glad to hear that you're feeling better! And what a loving daughter and sister you are.

I'm only one fourth polish, but I think pierogis are mana from the gods. I love them, and I've never even had them homemade. I bet they're fabulous.

In my own efforts to preserve our holiday traditions, I tried to make my aunt's gnocci one year... what a pain. And I am the only one in the family that will attempt my grandmother's calamari. My mother always insists that it's "close, but not quite" but I don't see her doing it!

Christine said...

Well the way I see it, someday it will be "my" pedeha and "your" calamari so they can taste however we like them to and our moms can deal with it. Since the pedeha are from my dad's side he is more likely to say "almost, but not quite" but he was mum when I brought him a few today.

We also have calamari for Christmas eve (how does your grandma make it?) as we have both Ukrainian and Italian traditional foods (makes for an interesting looking plate!) My MIL makes a cold calamari salad which is to die for and some stuffed whole calamari in a red sauce that they call torpedoes. (just a nickname from Will's family)

I'm thinking maybe next year I'll use the doubled recipe and make like 120 of these babies and freeze them and then when you visit (if ever!!!) I'll share so you can taste the real homemade thing and I can surprise my dad for his birthday (in July) or something like that.

You really need to try them homemade! My family serves them with sour cream and literally 5lbs of onions that my grandma cooks in butter all day long. (The onions are the best part I think!)

The Fine Art of Motherhood said...

I'm envious of your family traditions! My family is all from the British Isles -- not known for their cooking, back in the day... The closest thing we had to a traditional Christmas Eve meal was ham, but my grandmother would get so stressed out (not sure why, ham is already COOKED... Just basically heat it up -- what could be more simple?) and my grandfather and aunt forbid her to do that again. So the next year she started making what she called "Company Turkey Casserole" -- pretty much turkey, gravy, I believe the frozen mixed veggies, and maybe stuffing on top or something... WAY more involved to make, I would think, and not really what I would serve to company, but maybe that's just me... The one thing that I do want to learn from her is how to make her homemade caramels -- a recipe that was passed on from her best friend -- they are melt in your mouth delicious, and it only occurred to me recently that I have never made them and don't have the recipe! I'll be recitfying that this year!

Christine said...

Oh I bet your grandma would love to make caramels with you! I remember them! They are delicious! Don't wait!

That's funny about the ham-You're right-All she had to do was heat it up! I love how all things that have names like "Company Turkey Casserole" are rarely anything you would ever server to company. Makes me glad I was never anyone's dinner guest from the 50's-70's I HATE recipes that have that kind of title.

tom short said...

I have read your blog on the net regarding pierogi's. If you don't mind I'd like to see the recipe. Reason being is that in Syracuse/Auburn New York Area the Slavic churches make them only 2 times a year and I'd don't like the taste of them after they have been frozen. The only other place I can get them fresh is where I work in New York City USA at the "Ukranian Home" on the lower east side. From Where I work that's about 8 miles of traveling through hell traffic to get there and my long hours and changing weekly schedule due to o.t. make it incovenient to take the drive. My last shift ends on a fri. night and by that time their closed and even if they were open fri. night in NYC is a nightmare. The store frozen brands are nothing to the real deal. tom short

Christine said...

Hi Tom!

Yes, I will post the recipe as a new blog entry!

It's funny that you mentioned that you don't like them frozen. My Dad said the same exact thing to me on Christmas Eve as some years we make them a few weeks in advance and freeze. From now on I will have to make them right before Christmas! And they were great!!!! All 62 were gone by the end of the night!

SteveGaylo said...

Dear Christine: I enjoyed reading your comments on Slavic staples. As a third-generation Ruthenian, I was puzzled by your use of the term "pedeha" as the Ukrainian word for the filled dumplings. Is that, perhaps, an approximation of your grandma's vocalization? In my family, the word is "piroxha" which of course is much closer to the Polish and other Slavic languages term for the little pies. Anyway, if you think the labor involved in making piroxhi is intensive, try making halupki (pigs in blankets). All the female members of my family would spend days on that production. I remember several years ago my aunt screaming bloody murder at me when she discovered that I had defiled tradition by taking a short cut around the recipe by just tossing all the ingredients into a large pot and leaving it on low simmer for about eight hours, instead of tediously rolling cabbage leaves and carefully measuring the dozen other ingredients. Tasted the same to was just goulash instead of neatly wrapped pigs.

Christine said...


It is quite possible and altogether probable that my pedeha is my great-grandma's vocalization of your piroxha. We have just never known how to spell it. It makes sense to me. (although I have seen the spelling other places)I have a family friend who would be considered of Bolshivik descent and she calls them venereke.

I recently went to the local Ukranian church when they had a food sale and got 2 dinners for my parents. Everyone agreed my pedeha were better than the ones the little old Ukranian women made! (most likely mine were the closest to what we all know as the one we like!)

My mom (who is of German descent) , who will NOT make the Pedeha/Piroxha will, for some reason make halupki. I have not ventured there yet. When I was a little girl she would make them with buckwheat then a buckwheat/rice mix. Since I actually like buckwheat better than rice I keep thinking I need to try it out sometime soon.

That is comical about your aunt getting all worked up over everything in one pot and nothing rolled in cabbage! Please tell me you at least used cabbage in the recipe!!!!

My grandma makes kyshka at Easter but got sick of having to stuff all the casing so now she makes it in a big casserole dish! (I'm sure her Mother-In-Law is turning over in her grave) I need to learn this one as well and I'm thinking that I want to do it with the casing this year so it will be just like my childhood memories.

Thanks for stopping by and I am going to send your prioxha comment to my dad who will be interested in that spelling!