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Vereneke and Ham Gravy

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

Is it possible to “take a bite of history?” That’s what we like to think we’re doing when we serve Vereneke and Ham Gravy. This Low German dish enjoys a long history with our Mennonite ancestors. Pasta dough pockets filled with a dry cottage cheese mixture are boiled and fried, then topped with a rich ham gravy. Yep! It tastes a little bit like history!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE DOUGH:
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 4 whole Egg Whites
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 7 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 2 pounds Dry Curd Cottage Cheese
  • 4 whole Egg Yolks
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Pepper
  • FOR FRYING THE VERENEKE:
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter, Or As Needed
  • FOR THE GRAVY:
  • ¼ cups Butter
  • 5 cups Cubed Ham
  • ½ cups Flour
  • 1 quart Half-and-half
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 2 cups Milk

Preparation

For the dough:
Mix together eggs, egg whites, milk and vegetable oil. Add flour, baking powder and salt a little at a time until everything is mixed well. Knead briefly. Dough should be fairly soft.

For the filling:
Mix ingredients well.

To assemble vereneke:
Take approximately 1/6 of the dough and roll out thinly, 1/8 inch or less. You want it thin, but not so thin that the filling breaks through. Using a cookie scoop or spoon place about 2 tablespoons of filling on the dough.

Pull the dough over the filling, then cut each vereneke into a semi-circle using a tuna can. Make sure the seams are sealed. If necessary, use your fingers to crimp around the edges. With a toothpick, poke a few holes in the vereneke. Vereneke can be refrigerated or frozen at this point until needed.

To prepare the vereneke:
Into a pot of boiling water, carefully place several vereneke. If they are frozen, it is not necessary to thaw. Don’t crowd the pot and allow to boil for several minutes until the vereneke rise to the top. Using a slotted spoon, remove carefully and allow to drain. Then, fry in butter until golden brown.

To prepare the gravy:
In a large frying pan, melt butter. Add ham and fry slightly. Add flour and mix well to make a roux. Slowly add half-and-half, sour cream and milk and mix well. Heat until gravy thickens.

Serve vereneke and ham gravy separately.

Recipe adapted from the Central Christian Cookbook, possibly published in the 1970’s, contributed by Helen Adrian (mother of Lowell and Marlin).

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