☃ LG,BE’s 12 Days of Christmas☃
So story time: the plan was to make Babcia’s pierogi this year. I set my mind to it at the beginning of November when I started thinking of what recipes I wanted to post this year for my 12 Days of LG,BE and pierogi were at the top of my list. But listen here guys, life got reaaally busy!!
I wrote the majority of these blog posts in advance throughout the month of November and I wasn’t expecting that it would be the busiest month of the year! But to be fair, I thought ‘What is something easier than pierogi, good enough to cure a holiday hangover, and just as satisfying?’ Kopytka, that’s what.
Kopytka translates to “little hooves”. Essentially, for those common folk out there, they’re basically the Polish version of gnocchi: still made out of potato and still made with love.
My Babcia W, who I have talked about before on this blog, made these a few times for me when I was growing up. Being a lover of all things potato, the pillows of fluff were straight up comfort food when sauteed in butter until they were crispy and golden brown. Drool.
For the Kopytka:
- 2 cups of mashed potatoes, cold (about 2 russet potatoes)
- 1 tbsp of unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup of all purpose flour + extra
- 1 pint of cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 10 Brussel sprouts, shredded lettuce style
- 1 6-inch piece of a smoky kielbasa (Sikorski Village Sausage does the trick)
If you’re not a fan, replace with crispy bacon or pancetta.
- 3 tbsp of unsalted butter
- 2 tsp of white wine vinegar
- Fresh dill for garnish
Start by creating a batch of mashed potatoes – fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Peel the russet potatoes and drop them in once your water is boiling. Once cooked through and the potatoes are soft, mash them without any lumps as much as possible. Season with salt and butter and let cool completely.
During your wait time, you can begin prepping the brussels sprouts, cremini mushrooms, and kielbasa/the meat product of your choice. Next, in a medium frying pan on medium heat, sauté all of these ingredients separately, ensuring to season each one to taste.
By doing this, you control the cooking on each ingredient to your liking – I typically try to achieve crispy kielbasa, nutty seared mushrooms, and slightly softened sprouts. All three will be the added ingredients to this dish and all sort of reassemble the flavours of traditional Polish cuisine: a smoky meat, a cabbage tasting element, and lastly an earthy undertone of the ‘shrooms. Set aside these ingredients until you assemble the rest of the dish.
Next, boil a pot of medium water and season it with salt. Add the egg and flour in batches to the already mashed potatoes until a loose dough forms. Once this happens, dump it out onto an already floured surface and begin to form a ball. Cut the dough into quarters.
Working with one quarter at a time, form an even as possible rope with the dough, being sure to add flour to prevent it from sticking to the surface you’re working on as well as to keep the dough off of your fingers. Be mindful of how much flour you use though, as too much on the outside will dry out the dough.
The traditional shape of kopytka is a diamond, so use a knife to create mini diamonds out of the rope of potato dough. Drop these in the boiling water and allow them to cook until they float to the top. Drain them of excess water before placing on a lightly oiled dinner plate to prevent them from sticking to each other and the plate.
Next, within the same saute pan you used for the other components, add the 3 tbsp of butter and allow to sizzle before you add the kopytka to the pan. We essentially want to cook them until they have browning on both sides and have become glossy while cooking within the eventual brown butter you will be creating within the pan. Usually takes about 5-10 minutes if working on a low-medium heat.
When the dumplings are almost ready, add the rest of the ingredients and bring up to temperature, and finish off with a touch of white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. You will immediantly notice that a lot of these flavour profiles are rich, fatty…and basically scream ‘comfort food’, so a little acid added to the dish will go a long way!
Garnish with some fresh herbs like parsley or fresh dill (Polish parmesan lol) and serve warm. Smacznego!