The first few times I came across a recipe for pierogi on American recipe websites, I was surprised to discover what the Russians call vareniki in the place of actual pirogi, or pies. If this was a case Imperial Culinary Snobbery (as in, me believing that anything that sounds Russian must refer to an actual Russian dish), it was totally unconscious, and I’m sorry for it.
Anyway, January – and the winter months in general – are a great time to master the hearty Russian recipes for all kinds of pirogi. So here we come, with a round-up of three at once! The filling I have used for these recipes is classic stewed cabbage, but there are obviously a variety of traditional fillings you can use. I love a hard-boiled egg and chives filling, or some minced meat with onions, or fish and rice, and you can experiment with those, especially since you’ll have plenty of different doughs to try out.
All that said, today’s recipe is for stewed cabbage – and for three kinds of pirogi. One is fried pirozhki, made from a kefir-based dough, the second is a classic yeast-dough, kulebyaka, and the third is made with a short pastry of sorts, taken from the 1961 book for young housewives that was gifted to my mother 45 years ago by her mother-in-law.
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