by Diane Galambos The Hamilton Spectator
Every cuisine that makes a pasta makes filled dumplings, and in Poland they’re called perogies (with spelling variations). The word itself is Polish, although several East European countries also claim it as core to their customs. A country comfort food, perogies are boiled and/or pan-fried and traditionally served with sour cream and onions.
Modern vendors are recognizing it as a versatile pasta adding creative flavours as stuffing and/or toppings. While you can buy them frozen or from markets, they are now also appearing in restaurants.
Stuffed. Handcrafted Perogies
Right now, look for the Schmidt family at Connon’s Winter Market and at monthly dinners at the Dundas Royal Canadian Legion Hall. At the market, choose from their frozen products. At the Legion, diners enjoy a tantalizing plate of cheddar cheese potato perogies, a cabbage roll, sausage, sauerkraut and cucumber salad.
“Team Perogy,” as they call themselves, is comprised of Chef Mike, father Mike, mother Barbara, sister Michelle and nephew Darius. Michelle describes Mike as the mastermind behind the business. A trained chef, he registered the business in 2013, with most of the action happening in the last three years.
In 2019, they acquired a customized trailer that appears at events, but is actually their year-round mobile kitchen. Picture them in the trailer with dad scooping the filling, Mike rolling the dough, Michelle and her mom “pinching,” while Darius fills in wherever needed. As Michelle says, “Everything is handmade … much more labour intensive to prepare but completely worth every second for the taste.”
Their perogies replicate the recipe passed down from their maternal Polish great-grandmother, and grandmother. Their many fillings include innovative options — Horseradish Cheddar (Mike’s favourite), Bacon Blue Cheese, and Vegan Cheesy Potato. I biased my taste test by choosing perogies that included bacon. They were divine.
They have won many awards — most recently at SoupFest for their Dill Pickle Soup. Once the weather improves, their mobile kitchen will be back to offering their full menu that includes Perogy Poutine, The Snakebite, Fully Loaded Perogies and Deep Fried Pickles.