Instant Pot Studenetz – Head cheese – Jellied Pork Meat

If you’re a vegetarian – look away and head over here now. Studenetz is a Ukrainian version of head cheese – with garlic. Studenetz is a staple all year round but mostly pops up at Easter.

A traditional recipe takes way over four hours to cook on the stovetop plus assembling time – but less than half that time in the Instant Pot. It’s not “instant” but end-to-end I made this recipe in 4 hours total (then refrigerated everything overnight). This recipe uses the same ingredients as my baba’s recipe.

You either love studenetz or don’t touch it.

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Instant Pot prune filling for varenyky or pyzirhky

Now that we’ve made pyzirhky (or perishke) with farm cheese, potato and dill filling, this is a sweet option for the baked perishke [pear-eesh-keh].  This needs the dough for pyzirhky.  If you’re making both sweet and savory at the same time, just double that dough recipe.

The Instant Pot makes this filling basically the easiest thing ever. Throw everything into the Instant Pot while the dough rises and you’re done!

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Instant Pot bread dough for pyrizhky – baked pyrohy

Pyrizhky were one of my grandfather’s favourites.  He loved the portability of these tiny buns with cheese, potato, onion and dill filling. And, he’d advise me to keep a few in my pockets to have a snack at hand later.  Sound advice.

This recipe will take you from the dough through filling then shaping and baking.  These are delicious – even better with a creamy dill sauce poured over top. Pyrizhky freeze well. The Instant Pot makes the dough rising more reliable but admittedly not faster.

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Instant Pot Ukrainian Farm Cheese – Dry Curd Cottage Cheese

It’s easy to make your own dry curd cottage cheese.  This recipe makes a cottage cheese with small curd – perfect for nalysnyky (Ukrainian cheese crepes) or Easter cheese babka.  My homemade Instant Pot dry curd cottage cheese is destined for perishke (or pyrizhky, basically a bread-based baked perohe or pyrogy)

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Instant Pot Ukrainian Compote – Stewed fruit

With all of the hectic activity around the holidays, it’s nice to have something that’s super easy.  On Christmas Eve, a fruit compote (or stewed fruit) made with dried fruit is a traditional end to the meal.  The Instant Pot makes the dish amazingly easy and much less time consuming than soaking the fruit overnight.

I use prunes, dried apricots, dried apple rings and raisins.  But, you can use any combination of dried fruits.

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Baba’s best perohe-varenyky-pyrogy dough

What would make a woman who made pyrogy (peroghies, perohe, varenyky, and so on) change the recipe that she had used for over fifty years?  Here it is – the best dough recipe ever.  Or at least my baba thought so.

This is a soft dough that’s easy to roll out and shape.  It’s just the right ratio of everything – and a cup of butter or margarine can’t hurt.  The dough doesn’t use the Instant Pot but the fillings will.

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Instant Pot Braised Red Cabbage

For Christmas Eve, I like to make braised red cabbage.  It’s not a Ukrainian recipe – but what Ukrainian doesn’t like cabbage?  (Ukrainians are allowed to not like cabbage)

This braised red cabbage is colourful and easy to make ahead of time.  Just refrigerate and reheat when you’re ready to serve it.

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Instant Pot Traditional Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is one of those things that’s special for everyone.  This is the way that my baba would serve her chicken noodle soup.  First off, she made her own noodles from scratch.  But, you can get great egg noodles that have that rustic feel at the store.

The key is that she served the noodles separately from the soup.  Everyone could add that they wanted at the table.  Plus, serving cold noodles cooled down the soup for kids.

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Mushroom Vushka – Dumplings for borscht

These beautiful little boiled dumplings (also known as tiny varenyky and ooshka) are filled with tasty mushrooms and dill.  The first recipe I’m adding that doesn’t use the Instant Pot! Boiling isn’t recommended in there.  But, we’ll save time by using pre-made dumpling wrappers.

These boiled Vushka (вуха) are meant to look like pigs’ ears.  They are served inside a bowl of borscht and make the Christmas Eve dinner of Sviata Vecheria special.

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Vegetarian / Vegan Instant Pot Borscht

Як ви готуєте борщ? (yak veh ho-too-yet-eh borsch) I’ve been learning Ukrainian with Duolingo.  It’s been fun and sometimes frustrating.  If you’d like to try it out, you can use this link which would give me a free week of the “pro” version.  The other day, the lesson asked me Як ви готуєте борщ? How do you cook borscht?

Here it is.  This is a vegan borscht with a lot of flavour, and it’s pretty straightforward.  I save time by using pre-cooked beans and pre-cooked onions.  A quick steam for the beets makes them easier to peel.  And, dill and beet leaves (or swiss chard) adds a fresh flavour in the middle of winter.

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