Potato & Onion Verenekes

While I call this vereneke filling, it’s the same filling I use in blintzes and knishes. Caramelized onions and potato wrapped in doughs are inexpensive, filling foods that my eastern European and Russian ancestors brought to Canada. At some point they changed from peasant dishes that easily fed the family to something we all cherish and associate with holidays.

For one batch of filling, I make 2 batches of dough. But I don’t think I ever make a single batch of filling — if I’m going to the trouble of making these, I’m making a lot of these. They freeze well and it’s nice to have a few dozen tucked away in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp canola or other light oil
  • 1 lb yellow onions, peeled and diced small
  • 3 lbs red potatoes, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally,until soft and golden brown, about  20 minutes. Remove from  the heat and let cool.

While the onions cook, put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, 20–30 minutes.

Use a colander to drain  well.

Return the potatoes to the pot, add the cooked onion and seasonings and mash with a potato masher OR use a potato ricer to rice the potatoes into a bowl and add the onion and seasonings, mixing until well combined. Let cool slightly and start assembling the verenekes. You can find the recipe for the dough here and you’ll probably need two doughs for this recipe (depending on how much filling you use in each one).

Place a scoop of filling on each of the dough rounds (1-2 Tbsp, depending on the size of your rounds — I used a 2-inch cutter for these with a heaping Tbsp of filling).

Make sure it’s pinched well along the whole edge so that it doesn’t open when boiling.

Once filled, place on a lightly floured baking sheet lined with parchment.

Bring a large pot with plenty of lightly salted water and a splash of oil to boil over high heat.

Place a bowl with a colander in it and a slotted spoon next to the stove.

Carefully add verenekes to the pot, being careful not to overcrowd them. They should start rising to the top of the water almost immediately — give them a stir. When all of the verenekes have risen to the top, let cook another minute.

Carefully lift the verenekes out of the water with slotted spoon/lifter and transfer to the colander.

Drain well. You can eat right away or transfer to a bowl and drizzle a little oil over the verenekes and gently toss to coat.

Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and arrange in a single layer. Freeze.

Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw and heat in a covered dish in the oven or brown in a frying pan with oil or butter.

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