ethnic foods 

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Pierogi

Pierogi are a kind of dumpling also known as perogi, perogy, piroghi, pirogi, or pyrohy. Most English-speakers treat these forms as singular and form the plural by adding -s, but a few consider them plural and form the singular by removal of the -i or -y. In Swedish however, the singular form is pirog and the plural form is created by adding -er at the end. Pierogi is the plural form of the Polish pieróg. The word itself comes from the Old Slavic "pir" (festivity).

Pierogi are of virtually untraceable Central or Eastern European origin; claims have been staked by the Poles, Romanians, Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Slovaks and Rusyns. Similarity to dumplings found in the Far East such as Chinese potstickers fuels speculation, well-founded or not, that the Mongols and Tatars brought the recipe to the West.

Pierogi are semi-circular dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed with sauerkraut, twaróg, mashed potatoes, cabbage, onion, meat, hard-boiled eggs (the last is rather Mennonite-specific), or any combination thereof, or with a fruit filling.

They are typically fried, deep-fried or boiled until they float, and then covered with butter or oil; alternatives include the Mennonite tradition of baking and serving with borscht, and the Polish way of boiling, then frying in butter. They are typically served with plenty of sour cream, and the savoury ones are topped with fried bacon or onions. The most popular of the Polish variety are savoury pierogi ruskie, stuffed with farmer's (aka dry cottage) cheese, mashed potatoes, and onion. Varenyky or vareniki (from varyt, "to boil") are the Russian or Ukrainian version of pierogi. One variation of the pierogi are the meat-filled, boiled dumplings called pelmeni, originating in Siberia, are very popular throughout Russia and in other parts of the former Soviet Union.

Perogy
2 eggs 
½ cup oil
2 cups flour
½ tsp. salt

Mound flour on breadboard and make a hole in the center.  Drop eggs in hole and cut into flour with  knife.  Add salt and water and kneed until firm.  (Dry flour on hands and breadboard prevent sticking of dough to these surfaces,)  Let rest 10 minutes covered with a warm bowl.


Divide dough in half and roll thin.  Cut circles with large biscuit cutter.  Place small spoonful of filling to one side of round dough.  Fold over and press firmly pinching together.  Make sure they are sealed.  Drop into boiling salted water.  Cook gently for 3-5 minutes or until they float to the top.  Lift out with slotted spoon and coat with melted butter to prevent them from sticking.


Filling:  Boil and mash potatoes adding a slight amount of milk to the potatoes.  Add sautéed onions, ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, grated cheddar cheese or 8 oz. of Cottage Cheese.  Mix thoroughly.  Can use different fillings.

Piroshki

Piroshki are of indeterminate origin and their existence goes back hundreds of years, with many claims to their origin from the Russian, Polish, Ukrainian and Latvian nations. They were chiefly prepared and eaten by Slavic peasants and the food was enjoyed greatly for its variety of fillings and pastries. The fillings would have been mainly potatoes and cabbage for peasants, and meat, chicken and duck for the wealthier land barons.

Australia's introduction to the piroshki would most likely have been with the arrival of immigrants from Eastern Europe in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. They would have been home-made by these people for private consumption and for special occasions and religious festivals. Throughout the years people made these little tart like delights using various fillings such as apples, saskatoon, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc.

Russian Piroshki (Sweet Tarts)
4 cups thick cream or sour cream
3 eggs
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
5 cups flour

Beat eggs and cream; add flour, baking powder, salt, sugar.  Stir gently.  Add more flour if needed to make very soft dough.  Refrigerate approx. 1 hour to make the dough more workable.  Cut dough the size of an egg, roll into round circle.  Put in filling of choice.  Pinch edges together in pleats.  Bake at 400 degrees until lightly browned.

Bannock

Bannock is a truly Canadian food and all Canadians should have the experience of making it. Our country was settled by many different ethnic groups therefore there isn't a single traditional recipe. Flour was a luxury item in the early days of the fur trade. It was used to thicken pemmican style soup, rubbaboo or occasionally to make galettes. Galette is the name used by voyageurs of the North West Company for an unleavened flour-water biscuit made by baking in a frying pan, or in the ashes of the campfire. The Selkirk Settlers referred to their flour water biscuit as bannock.

Eventually bannock became the name accepted and recorded in journals and diaries throughout the western interior of Canada. By the mid 1800s the original flour-water mixture became more elaborate with the addition of salt, suet, lard, butter, buttermilk, baking soda, or baking powder. Bannock acquired other names, too: bush bread, trail bread, or grease bread. The traditional way to prepare bannock was to mix the ingredients into a large round biscuit and bake in a frying pan or propped up against sticks by the campfire. The frying pan usually was tilted against a rock so that it slanted towards the fire for part of the baking.

Basic Bannock (Fried or Stick-cooked)
1 cup flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt 
3 tbsp margarine/butter or Lard) 
2 tbsp skim milk powder (optional)

Sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles a coarse meal (at this point it can be sealed it in a zip lock bag for field use). Grease and heat a frying pan. Working quickly, adds enough COLD water to the pre-packaged dry mix to make firm dough. Once the water is thoroughly mixed into the dough, form the dough into cakes about 1/2 inches thick. Dust the cakes lightly with flour to make them easier to handle. Lay the bannock cakes in the warm frying pan. Hold them over the heat, rotating the pan a little. Once a bottom crust has formed and the dough has hardened enough to hold together, you can turn the bannock cakes. Cooking takes 12-15 minutes. If you are in the field and you don’t have a frying pan, make a thicker dough by adding less water and roll the dough into a long ribbon (no wider than 1 inch). Wind this around a preheated green, hardwood stick and cook about 8 inches over a fire, turning occasionally, until the bannock is cooked. 

Prince Edward Island Baked Bannock
2 cups flour 
3 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
2 tsp brown sugar 
1/2 cup shortening or lard
3/4 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening and then stir in milk. Form a ball of dough using flour to prevent sticking to hands. Roll into a square approximately 2” thick. Mark with squares (by making shallow cuts into the dough so cutting is easier after it is baked) and bake at 350°F for about 1/2 hour. 

Shiskliki

As we know it there is no official history of shishliki.  Our local historians indicate shishliki originated during the war times in Russia.  Along their travels they would “borrow” a lamb, and marinate the meat to preserve it.  Shishliki is a huge part of our local sports day events in our communities.  The recipe is passed down through the generations.  Every family claims they have the best recipe.  Different variations can include the addition of lemon, vinegar and oil to the existing recipe.  Shishliki can be cooked like any other meat at any time of year.  Pork, chicken and beef are used to make shishliki but the all time favorite is the traditional lamb.

5 - 8 lbs meat of your choice 
3 - 4 large onions (chopped)
Pepper 
Salt 

Cut meat into 1 ½ inch cubes. In a 4 litre ice cream pail, place a layer of onions.  Upon the onions place a layer of meat.  Sprinkle 1 ½ tablespoons of salt, one teaspoon of pepper.

Continue layering in this manner ending the very top layer with onions. Cover with the lid and put in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Stir mixture thoroughly and place back in a cool place. You will have to stir this mixture every day. The marinating process usually takes about 4 days or until the onions are clear. Prior to cooking, separate the meat and the onions. If there is meat left over you can freeze in a plastic bag for future use. For the best results, barbeque over wood coals.