According to PotatoPro.com, “The Polish King John III Sobieski is credited with having introduced potatoes – known initially as amerykany (from “America”) – to his countrymen in the mid-1600s, after a visit to Vienna.
Thus began a love affair that was to make Poland one of the 20th century’s giants of potato production.” The area of Poland we lived in was known for potatoes.
They even have their own word for potatoes, pyra, which is also a nickname for people from Poznan. So it’s no surprise that we have Kopytka – Polish Potato Dumplings in addition to Kluski Śląskie.
Kopytka literally means hooves; the little diamond shapes are supposed to resenble cloven hooves. The recipe is basically the same as Italian gnocchi. The difference is in the shape and the toppings.
As for the toppings, you can go with Polonaise (the French term meaning in the Polish style, which is topped with buttered breadcrumbs), gravy, pan drippings, or fry the dumplings and serve them with gulasz. You might even top them with sugar.
The potatoes we’re mashing for Kopytka need to be on the dry side. So don’t use leftover mashed potatoes that you’ve prepared with milk and butter. Start off with plain potato that’s been cooked in the skin, or jacket as the Brits would say, or in its uniform as they say in Poland.
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Tender little potato dumplings
1 pound potatoes
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
With the skins on, boil potatoes until tender, cool and then peel
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
Mash the potatoes thoroughly or process with a potato ricer
Stir in the egg and salt
Add enough flour to create a smooth dough, stirring just enough to incorporate the flour, overworking will make for tough dumpings
Take a small amount of the dough and roll on a floured surface to form a rope about 3/4 inch in diamter
Slice the rope on the diagional about 1/2 inch apart
Boil in salted water about 4 minutes without over crowding the pan, you’ll do multiple batches
Remove from the water with a slotted spoon
Serve topped with buttered bread crumbs, pan drippings, gravy or sugar
You can place kopytka on a cookie sheet before cooking and freeze, then place the frozen kopytka in a plastic bag to cook later, the dumpling equilavent of a brown and serve roll.