Family Recipes

We invite you to send us your ancestral recipes. Of course, we are not promising to publish everyone's submissions, and please remember that this is not a secure site - anyone in the world can access it. So, do not send anything that you would not want the world to see or read.
Food is a very large part of our cultural heritage but over time the recipes are lost as our elders pass on and our new/adopted culture and cuisine becomes the norm. This is unfortunate as Galician cuisine was nothing short of spectacular, a unique blend of Austrian, German, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Hungarian and Russian dishes. As most of our ancestral settlers were relatively poor, they took particular care to turn very ordinary ingredients into delicious meals. Of course, to a large extent, we are partial to the foods we are used to and certainly some of these dishes are acquired tastes.

Perogies (also known as Perhohe, or Varenyki)

Perogie Recipe #1 :

(Courtesy of the Lang family) The Lang family, in its larger form includes such surnames as Reiss, Kampert, Hinger, Hartl, Schindelka, Turber, and many more. These recipes are provided by Jim Lang, who visited the former Galicia in 2003 and found that even after more than 100 years and several intervening generations, the tastes were nearly identical to those his mother served up in Saskatchewan. Jim comments: "I invite Ukrainian and Polish recipes for this dish, as my own is quite Austrian and is quite a different dish. The main difference is that this recipe does not involve eggs, and the filling usually does not contain potatoes whereas the dough does. So, please, traditional perogy-makers, send your family recipes in!"

Austrian-style, sauerkraut or cottage cheese perogies:


This dough is based on the premise that eggs (protein) tend to make dough tough, whereas oil and mashed potatoes tend to create a softer more tender dough.


(Note: It's always amazed me that most people do not realize that sauerkraut is meant to be cooked, and not eaten raw. Cooked with some ham or bacon and onions it is a mild and delicate dish and not the harsh salty chewy stuff that comes raw from a can.)

Sauerkraut: Drain medium-sized can, or jar of sauerkraut. Chop quite fine. Dice one onion and a few slices of lean bacon and sautee both a little butter, until the onions are clarified. Add the sauerkraut, a quarter teaspoon of caraway seeds, some black pepper (no salt is needed) and cook for several minutes, stirring often. If necessary, add a little water but ensure there is very little liquid left over. Optional: Stir in a tablespoon or two of sour cream. Set aside and cool.

Cottage cheese: Try to find some dry-curd cottage cheese. If you can't find any, some dry ricotta will do nicely. Creamed cottage cheese will not work. Add some chopped green onions (not too many, just enough to add a little colour and taste) and an egg, some salt and pepper (to taste) and stir.Set aside.

Method: Dough: Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and mashed potatoes to milk, blend thoroughly (hand blender works well). Add liquid to dry ingredients and make a dough. It should be quite soft and sticky. Work it with flour if it's too sticky, and add a little more liquid if it's too stiff. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into rounds with a drinking glass. The dough should be very thin, perhaps an eighth of an inch; if it's too thick, give the rounds another pass with the roller. Our perogies are relatively large, about twice the size of most Ukrainian or Polish style perogies. To fill: take a tablespoon or so of the sauerkraut filling and try to form a ball about the size of a walnut. Hold a dough-round in one hand and place the filling in the centre of the dough. Dip a finger in some water and lightly brush the edge of the round, then fold one edge over and press tightly around the edge until the dumpling is sealed. This takes a bit of practice, but is easily learned. Set the filled perogy on a floured surface. For cottage cheese, do the same, but expect it to be perhaps a bit messier.

To cook: Have a largish pot with five or six quarts of lightly-salted water at a rolling boil. Drop in perogies six or eight at a time, and boil until they float to the surface. Remove, and place in a colander to drain. Toss them gently with a little oil to prevent them from sticking to each other. Continue boiling until all are cooked, Keep cottage cheese perogies separate from sauerkraut as they will look the same when they're cooked.

Sauce: We always had our perogies with a sauce or with a gravy of some sort and they were served as a main course, not as a side dish. So, make a white sauce, and thin it with sour cream; or, my favorite, sautee some wild mushrooms and make a mushroom sauce.

Final preparation: sautee the perogies lightly in a saucepan with a little butter and breadcrumbs. Remove, pour a few tablespoons of sauce over them and enjoy. Served best with ham or smoked sausage. Short of this elaborate method, you can use the Ukrainian method which also works very well. Just serve up hot perogies with some diced onions saut'ed in butter, and garnish with some sour cream.

Perogie Recipe #2 :

(courtesy GGD member Kathy Enders)

"The dough was basically just flour, salt and water. Only in later years did my mother occasionally use the method of adding mashed potatoes. The method would be similar to what you mention.

I only attempted making them on my own two or three times, but I learned a valuable lesson the very first time. It is essential to let the dough sit for quite a while to let the gluten soften the dough, and not try to make the perogies and cook them right away. The first ones I made.... the term "shoe leather" comes to mind! Perhaps your dough recipe leads to a softer dough, but the basic water, salt and flour dough requires a resting period before using.

Our filling was made up mainly of mashed potatoes, to which we added dry curd cottage cheese. The proportions would have been about 3/4 potato and 1/4 cottage cheese. <

The method was to cook them in boiling water until they floated to the top, which meant they were fully cooked. I still prefer to eat them after they have been done this way, served with sour cream on top. Another thing that could be done to these, either right after cooking in water, or to the leftovers, is to fry them in a pan in butter, perhaps with sauted onions if desired. They are eaten again with sour cream. The sour cream is an absolute essential in the eating!"

Cabbage Rolls (also known as Holubtsi, Holupzi, Krautwickel or Golompkies)

Holubtsi is a Ukrainian word meaning "little pigeons". In addition to being a popular family dish, Holubtsi are an essential part of the Ukrainian Christmas Eve meal. Filling for these cabbage rolls vary, but the most popular remains a meat and rice combination topped with tomato sauce and sour cream.

Sauerkraut Style Cabbage Rolls

(courtesy GGD member Kathy Enders) " Because rice was the main ingredient, we called them RICE ROLLS, rather than cabbage rolls. We didn't measure the ingredients, but "winged it" when making them, using as much as needed at the time to fit the occasion. Therefore I haven't included any actual hard measurements. You'll have to just try it out, and adjust according to your tastes and needs!" -----

Cabbage Rolls Recipe #2

(courtesy GGD member Murray Gauer)
"My family also "winged it" when we made "Holopchi" (sic) but for those of you who need a exact recipe here is a version of cabbage rolls from my collection. I didn't learn that there was anything "special" about Holubsti and Perogies until I was well into adulthood. I just thought everyone ate like we did. :-)"
12    lg. cabbage leaves
1     lb. ground meat (1/3 lb. beef+1/3 lb. veal+1/3 lb. pork)
1     tsp. salt
1/2   tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cup cooked rice
1     egg
1     sm. onion, chopped fine
1/2   tsp. poultry seasoning or thyme
2     tbsp. cooking oil
2     (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1     tbsp. brown sugar
1     tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar

Cover cabbage leaves with boiling water and let stand 5 minutes or until limp; drain. Combine ground meat, salt, pepper, rice, egg, onion, and poultry seasoning. Place equal portions of meat mixture in center of each leaf. Fold sides of each leaf over meat, roll up and fasten with toothpicks. Brown in hot oil. Pour in tomato sauce, sugar, water, and lemon juice and stir. Simmer 1 hour or bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. May add 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of milk in the meat mixture.

Cabbage Rolls Recipe #3

(courtesy L. Mayer) Available in German at this link (an archived version of, with pictures!)

Plum dumplings

(Courtesy of the Lang family.  Don't make too many of these, as they're quite filling and you may find your family doesn't share your taste for them)


Dumplings:(all quantities are approximate. Remember, our grandmothers' words, 'a little of this, a little of that;' well, this is just a small improvement over those vague recipes!)

- twelve or so, nicely ripe prune plums
- two cups flour
- two-thirds cup finely mashed unseasoned potatoes
- three or four tablespoons cooking oil
- quarter teaspoon salt
- one cup milk
- two or three tablespoons sugar
- tablespoon or so of sweetened condensed milk (optional)
- egg (optional. It tends to make the dough tough)


- three or four tablespoons butter
- two tablespoons flour
- milk, as needed
- two or three tablespoons honey
- condensed milk (optional)


Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and mashed potatoes to milk, blend thoroughly (hand blender works well). Note: using mashed potatoes in the dough is an old family secret. The dough is essentially the same as for perogies - but without sweetener-and stays soft even if you happen to overcook it). Add liquid to dry ingredients and make a dough. It should be quite soft and sticky. Work it with flour if it's too sticky, and add a little more milk if it's too stiff. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into rounds with a drinking glass. The dough should be quite thin, perhaps a quarter of an inch; if it's too thick, give the rounds another pass with the roller.

You can use whole plums with pits and just a bit of sugar, but I prefer to "Butterfly" the plums, by cutting them half open and removing the pits. Fill the pit-holes with some butter and brown sugar or honey(this part is my own invention). Put plums on dough rounds, wet edges of dough with water (just dip your finger into a dish of water and rub it around the edge). Squeeze the dough up and around the plums, and seal them so that they are fully contained. Roll the balls between your hands to ensure they are covered evenly. Don't worry if a bit of purple is just barely be visible through the dough in spots. Remember, the dough should be quite thin (most people who don't like these things always say there's too much dough!)

Sauce: Make a roux with the butter and flour, add milk and honey to produce a fairly thin, sweet sauce. You can also just use condensed milk with regular milk: mix the two, add some melted butter and voila.

Have lots of water at a full boil and drop the dumplings in for about four minutes. Some may bleed a bit -don't worry about it. Option one: Remove, cut in half on a dessert dish, add a tablespoon or two of sauce and serve. Option two (my favorite): boil for just three or four minutes, then remove and place all dumplings in glass dish. Pour sauce over all the dumplings, so that all have been coated and there's about a half inch of sauce in the dish. Cover and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or so. To serve, put dumpling on plate, slice open to reveal the cooked plum. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of sauce over the dumpling and serve hot.

More traditional, optional method: Do not pit plums. Do not sweeten the dough. Add an egg. Coat plum thickly (half inch) Boil for several minutes until cooked. Rollin bread crumbs, sautee' in butter, cut in half, sprinkle on some sugar and serve hot or cold. Personally, I think this version gives you a much heavier dumpling and less dessert-like, but suit yourself.


(Courtesy of the Lang family)

This is a most unfortunate name for a very nice dish, which ought to be called pork in aspic.

To any of you who's only experience with headcheese is the store-bought type, be assured: this is not the same dish at all. The way I make it (very much like the original) it is simply pork in aspic, or, jellied pork. In the old days they'd use whatever was left over from the butchered pig, and that could be kinda off-putting. This recipe is actually very lean.

Just take a three or four raw pork hocks and throw them into about three litres (quarts) of water. Add an onion or two (quartered is fine), salt, pepper, and a clove or two of garlic. Then boil the heck out of the hocks for about two or three hours. The meat should be falling off the bones when it's done, and the liquid should be reduced to two or three cups.

Remove the hocks, discard all the bones and fat (messy, but necessary), and lay the meat in bite-sized chunks in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with more pepper. Get a fine-meshed strainer or cheesecloth; strain the liquid and pour it over the hocks until they are completely covered. Place in fridge or cool porch overnight. The liquid should set in a firm gel, and any fat will have risen to the top where you can easily scrape it off. You're left with some lovely jellied pork, or <grimace> headcheese.

To serve: cut a square, pour a couple of tablespoons of vinegar over it and eat. You'll be amazed how good it is. Note: the vinegar really is important.

German Onion Pie

(Courtesy of GGD member Betty Wray)
4 thick slices of bacon, diced
2 cups peeled and chopped yellow onions
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute bacon. Drain most of the fat from the pan. Add the onions and saute until clear. Do not brown. Set aside to cool. Beat the eggs and sour cream together in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle the flour over the top and beat it in. Stir in the salt and pepper. Prick the bottom of the pie shell several times with a fork. Spread the onions and bacon over the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the sour cream mixture over the top. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes or until pie is golden brown. Serve hot!

Onion Pie Recipe #2

Prepare short-crust pastry without kneading it too much. Chop up 250 g of onions, then saute them until golden in 70 g of butter or cooking oil. Cut 100 g of bacon into thin strips and blanch. Make a white sauce and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add in the bacon and the onion. Line the pie dish with the short-crust pastry and pour in the mixture, spread evenly to halfway up. Bake in a hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Blood Sausage and Metzel Soup

See the attached file

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