Russian Friday – dumplings

Yesterday was our book club gathering.  Naturally, a bowl of fresh Aspirin seemed like a perfect breakfast choice this morning.  Ohmmmm… Instead I went for one of my favorite Russian dishes – farmers cheese dumplings, called “vareniki”.

More often than not vareniki are made with a bit of sugar, but I prefer a savory version.  To prove my husband (who says Russian food is bland) wrong, I added a little zing with garlic and red pepper, and used lots of dill to maintain that unique Russian flavor.   The result is a whole a lot of yum!

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FARMERS CHEESE DUMPLINGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt

FILLING:

  • 450 g farmers cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper, ground
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 stalks of green onion
  • 1 bunch of dill, hard stems discarded

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the filling: combine all the ingredients and blend in a food processor to reach a smooth consistency.

Prepare the dough: in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together.  Once incorporated, dump the dough on a floured surface and knead with your hands.

Roll the dough into a 1mm-thick sheet and cut out circles (about 3 inches in diameter) with a cookie cutter. Since we don’t have one, I used a wine glass, which worked just fine. Place about a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each circle, and fold the dough in half, pinching the ends.

Make ahead: at this point you can freeze the dumplings.  Arrange them on a floured cutting board and leave in the freezer for about 30 minutes.  After that, transfer frozen vareniki to a zip-lock bag and keep frozen for up to 3 months.

To cook: boil some water, add salt to taste.  Dump the vareniki in, and cook for about 8 minute till they float up to the surface.  Remove with a perforated spoon.

Traditionally served with butter and sour cream.  I sprinkled mine with aspirin! Crazy delicious!

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