Perogy Casserole (no “cream of” soup)

My normal perogy dinner consists of boiling them (don’t shoot me), slapping some butter on them and some sour cream and calling it good. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll chop an onion & caramelize it and perhaps toss some chopped up kielbassa or farmer sausage in with it. I rarely fry the perogies because the blessed things always, always, always stick to the bottom of the pan and I end up with scrambled mashed potato with weird pieces of dough mixed in. This is purely the fault of me – I am impatient and just found out you should let them dry out a little after boiling…so they don’t stick. Weird.

I found a bag of perogies in the freezer the other day, and let me just say right now, if you can get them, the brand at Costco, in the big box with 4 or 5 bags in it….AMAZING. Best I’ve ever had (sorry Chimo). There’s only one choice at Costco and I believe it’s potato (no kidding) and white cheddar. They are so good….even just boiled, like I do.

I poked around on the interwebs and found plenty of recipes for perogy casserole with cream of something soup in there – even if I didn’t dislike cream of soup just on general principle, they are so full of sodium, they’re actually hazardous for me to eat. Also, having dropped so much sodium from my diet, salty stuff tastes really bad to me…unless it’s chips or french fries…those taste good no matter what! 🙂

Eventually, I did find a recipe (in my email, of all places) from South Your Mouth for a Cheesy Perogy Casserole, which lets you make your own creamy sauce/soup type stuff. Winner!

Recipe:

  • 2lbs of perogies (I had 1.6 lbs and it worked fine)
  • 1 lb kielbassa (I had none so I cut up some leftover ham and two chicken breasts)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 TB vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or a whole lot because it’s good for you)
  • 2 TB butter (I used margarine)
  • 1/4 cup flour (whichever kind you prefer)
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth (or water with bouillon)
  • 3/4 cup half & half (I used 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup heavy cream)
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used 2 and a bit ounces because that’s what was left of one brick and I was too lazy to open another brick of cheese) You could use another kind of cheese if that’s what you have – perogies like cheese.

Directions: toss the olive oil into a frying pan and cook the chicken breast. When mostly done, toss the onion and ham in to get the onion translucent and the ham heated up (it was in the freezer). When really close to done, add the garlic.

When they’re done, put into a holding dish or the casserole dish you’re going to bake this in.

Melt the butter (or margarine) in the now empty pan, and add the flour to make yourself a roux. Add the chicken broth, mix until nice and smooth. Add the milk & heavy cream. Taste. I ended up adding a pinch of salt, a load of fresh ground pepper, some mustard powder and some paprika (about 1/2 tsp each of the mustard powder and paprika). Could have added a little cayenne, just for fun.

Pour the sauce/soup in with the meat mixture, add the perogies and stir gently to coat everything with the sauce (gently so as not to break up the perogies, not quite so necessary when they are frozen, but absolutely necessary when they are thawed or fresh). Spread evenly in the dish, sprinkle the cheese over the top and pop into a 350 (F) degree oven for about half an hour.

When the half hour was up, I made sure the cheese was melty (otherwise, just what is the point) and the sauce was bubbly. I took it out, and set it aside for 10 minutes to stop being quite so lava hot. While it was reaching a temperature more suited to eating, I chopped up a quarter of a green cabbage into thin slices (token green vegetable, right here), tossed into a clean frying pan with some olive oil, put a lid on top and let it heat up on low-medium heat til the 10 minute timer went off to tell me the casserole was cooled.

It was good. It was creamy and filling – far fewer perogies are required to fill your tummy this way. It may be my new & preferred way of serving perogies. Although, I won’t lie, if I’m in a hurry, I’ll still just boil them…..creature of habit, what can I say!

:S

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