These are something I only rarely make, and honestly, I make them more in the Winter. My only reasons for making them so infrequently are 1. I’m afraid of overdoing my carb intake and 2. it is really, really easy to eat too many of these. They are amazing in their versatility, and delightfully thrifty. They feel like a treat but are so very simple to make. Known as lazy vareniki, halushky, lazy pierogi or kluski, they combine all the ingredients of a cheese filled pierogi or vareniki into a dough rather than a complex noodle-package. They are common throughout Eastern Europe… from Russia, all the way to Poland.
I always prefer home-made pasta and dumplings, and will spend hours stuffing pierogi or stretching out egg noodles, but these require mere minutes of effort, and if you plan ahead, it feels like even less.
Here’s the deal with halushky – They can be sweet. They can be savory. Breakfast. Dessert. side dish. Main course. Soup. Stir fry. Leftovers are amazing. Fresh, they are Amazing.
If you prepare them with half whole wheat flour, they become slightly sweet and nutty; top those same dumplings with fresh fruit or sour cream and honey or yogurt and maple syrup and you have dessert or breakfast.
If you toss them from boiling water into butter or olive oil they are a savory pasta side dish. Throw in chopped green onions, grated carrot (cherry tomatoes?) and a touch of strong stoneground mustard and you have a pasta salad lunch.
Saute onion, mushrooms and green cabbage and throw leftover halushky into the mix and you wind up with a cheap but decadent dinner.
Throw them on the side of a bowl of borsch if you didn’t have time to make bread.
They really do fit in so many places.
This recipe can make enough lazy vareniki to last one person a few meals, or to serve 3 people one meal. A single serving (1/3 the recipe), if tossed in butter after boiling, has 33g of carbohydrates, 12.8g fat and 11.27g protein. It holds 297 calories.
1/2 cup of cottage cheese, quark or tvorog
1/2 tsp salt (plus a pinch in the water when you boil)
1 cup (give or take) of unbleached flour
2 tbsp. Butter or olive oil
3 bay leaves
(optional) sour cream
You can do this two ways….
Throw together the egg, salt and cottage cheese. Start your water boiling with salt and bay leaves in it. (bay leaves are optional on sweet dumplings, but I was really proud when I realized the difference this makes in flavor.)
Slowly add enough flour to make a stiff dough, and knead this dough until it is not so stringy and sticky. Add more flour if you must.
Split the dough in two, and roll each lump out until you have a long skinny rope as thick around as a fat thumb. slice at 1 cm intervals.
If using butter, melt some over low heat in a sauce pan.
When your water is boiling, turn off the heat and put in the dumplings. Return the heat to high and stir occasionally until the dumplings have floated to the top.
When the dumplings are floating, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the melted butter. Alternately, put them in a bowl and toss in a small amount of olive oil.
To serve, add 1 tbsp. sour cream. Chopped herbs (dill or parsley or chives) are also a nice addition.
Method two is my favorite, as I like to allow the acidity of dairy to mildly ferment the dough .
The only difference is that you mix your dough the night before, and store it in the fridge in a covered bowl or Tupperware. This allows lactic acid in the cottage cheese to begin breaking down some of the phytates in the flour. Aside from increasing nutrient availability, you also get a more complex flavor.
When it’s time to cook, all you do is roll out your dough, and proceed as usual!