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Slovak Canadian Cuisine

I read someplace that Slovakia is not real well known for the perogy. This statement startled me greatly - after all, it was, if not a staple in our house growing up, certainly closely tied into our identity as a family. In all of my fondest recollections of my Baba (Grandmother), I can never recall going to her house and Not having a perogy feast. That's just what we did when visiting her. Years later when she came to visit me in Eastern Ontario I honestly could not separate this experience - in fact, shortly after disembarking from the air I requested a meal of perogies. (I know, she was my guest - in theory as host I was supposed to be feeding her, but when a master cook comes into your home....). We went to the store so that she could point out the correct ingredients and then I drove her home so I could be taught the art of perogy making.

I'm going to call these Slovakian Canadian perogies. Cooked on Canadian soil with mostly Canadian ingredients, but a recipe hailing from what my grandmother would call the old country. She schooled me in the art of making these delicious dumpling delicacies filled with prunes, cottage cheese and potatoes mixed with cheese. A very different version from some of the Eastern European varieties one might find on the supermarket shelf. Upon asking her what the difference was I believe she said it was the addition of milk to the dough.

Here is her version - sort of. I measured as she prepared the feast, because honestly I wondered if this dear lady had ever bothered to use a proper measuring cup or spoon before (indeed, she laughed till tears filled her eyes at my persistent questions on measurement - saying she just "knew" how much of this and that belonged!)

So here we go "Slovakian Canadian" circa 1925 Perogies:

5 Cups white flour and a dash of salt. Mix in about 1.5 cups of lukewarm milk/water. Add 2 eggs. Add about 1 to 2 Tbsp mazzola corn oil (and yes, she was rigid concerning the brand) and mix with your hands. Add a bit more water to the mixture and it should be sticky. When going to roll out the dough, one can use a bit of flour to make it less sticky and workable. The point is, sticky is good (her words, not mine). :-)

Now create the fillings.  Pitted prunes, boiled with a sprinkling of sugar on top. Another mixture is mashed potatoes with some cheese in them and one can even add a bit of fried onion to it.

Roll out the dough, adding flour whenever it gets too sticky. Roll it out to about 5 mm in thickness. Make 2 inch squares and fold a bit of filling into each square. Gently pinch together into the shape of triangles.

Boil water in a pot and drop the perogies carefully into the water boiling for 8-10 minutes. Strain, and rinse under lukewarm water. Drain. Serve with a bit of fried bacon pieces and butter and sour cream. Delicious!

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