Kopytka (Polish gnocchi) with bacon and mushrooms

Ren Behan's kopyta recipe is served with bacon and mushrooms for a lovely autumnal twist. Often called 'Polish gnocchi', kopyta are simple to make and incredibly comforting to eat. Extracted from Wild Honey and Rye by Ren Behan, published by Pavilion. Photographs by Yuki Sugiura.

First published in 2017
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Kopytka translates as ‘little hooves’ and they are sometimes described as Polish gnocchi because they are similar to Italian gnocchi. Some Poles also call these paluszki, which means ‘little fingers’.

I sometimes experiment with gluten-free flour and I like to make these with almond flour. These can be served sweet, too, with melted butter and a sprinkle of sugar, drizzle of honey or maple syrup – even for breakfast. If you add twaróg, Polish soft cheese, to the dough, you end up with leniwe, ‘lazy dumplings’. In the Ukraine, these are made simply with cheese, egg and flour and called halushky.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Kopytka

To serve

Method

1
Boil the potatoes in a large pan of salted water until very soft. Drain and set to one side to steam dry. Once cool and very dry, mash until smooth. Leave the potatoes to cool completely or chill in the fridge
2
Place the cold mashed potato in a large bowl. Add the flour, beaten egg and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Using a metal spoon, bring the mixture together, then tip it out onto a lightly floured board or work surface and knead until all the flour is incorporated into the potato. The dough should be fairly soft and springy, but not too sticky
3
Sprinkle a little more flour onto the board and cut the dough into quarters. Roll each piece into a long cylinder and cut the dough at an angle into 2.5cm/1in pieces. Repeat until you have used up all the dough
4
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and drop a few dumplings in at a time – it’s best to cook them in batches. Gently boil for 3–4 minutes; they will rise to the top once cooked. Take them out with a slotted spoon, drain in a colander and continue until you have cooked all the dumplings. Set them to one side.
5
Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and cook the onions for 4–5 minutes until soft. Add the bacon and fry until golden and crisp. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Add the kopytka to the pan, stir everything together and cook until the kopytka begin to turn golden, then serve
First published in 2017
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Ren Behan is a mum of two and a lawyer turned food writer.

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