Pyzy are potato dumplings, usually stuffed with meat and then boiled.
Traditionally they are served with some skwarki – crispy smoked bacon bits or slightly charred onions, a mixture of the two or just melted butter poured over them.
There are many recipes, some made with raw potato, others with boiled or steamed potatoes and some using a mixture of the two.
I have found that using a 50:50 mixture of fine grated raw potatoes and boiled potatoes gives the best results.
You will need some flour, which can be wheat flour, potato flour or a mixture of the two (I prefer just wheat).
You also need eggs or egg yolks – around 1 egg to 1 kilo of potatoes.
For the filling you needs some cooked meat such as from a klops – meat loaf, cooked kotlety (meat balls/burgers) or meat filling for pierogi.
My mother never made pyzy and I must admit the first time I had them in Poland, I thought they were much too big & heavy! Since them I have tried out many different version and have liked them very much.
In Gvara, a restaurant in Gdańsk, I tried a soup with some pyzy in it. It was utterly delicious.
Dried mushroom consommé with thin sliced mushroom carpaccio* and pyzy filled with pork & shrimp.
* Usually thinly sliced raw meat or fish -named by Giuseppe Cipriani (1900 – 1980) bar owner in Venice, because of the colours used by the Venetian Painter Vittore Carpaccio.
750g of raw potatoes
750g of cold boiled potatoes
1 egg and 1 yolk
1-2 tablespoons of plain flour & extra for dusting
Grate the raw potatoes using a fine grater.
Place the potatoes on a clean tea cloth.
Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Mash or use a ricer to get the boiled potatoes smooth and lump free.
Mix the two sorts of potato together in a large bowl.
Add the egg and the yolk and mix together.
Add enough flour to make a stiff dough.
Add some salt.
Ingredients – Filling
250g of cooked and then minced or finely chopped meat(usually pork)
such as from:
I wrote about kopytka – Polish potato dumplings a good while back.
Since then I have tried another version which uses cheese as well as potatoes.
Traditional recipes use twaróg – Polish curd cheese – I have found that crumbly, white, mild, English cheeses such as: Cheshire, Lancashire or Wensleydale are also good.
Whilst looking at many recipes, I saw that the proportions of boiled potatoes to cheese varied greatly.
I have gone for roughly equal weights of boiled starchy potatoes to cheese.
The exact amounts are not critical but you must use starchy potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper.
Serve with either melted butter, à la Polonaise(buttered breadcrumbs) or skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon) or a hot sauce such as mushroom.
300g of boiled starchy potatoes
300g of twaróg (curd cheese) or white, crumbly cheese such as Lancashire
2 egg yolks
160 – 200g of plain flour
Oil to add to water for boiling
Use a large bowl and put the cold boiled potatoes into the bowl.
Crumble the cheese and add it to the potatoes and mash them both together.
Add the yolks to the mixture.
Add a little salt.
Weigh out the flour to give an idea of how much is needed; this will depend on the type of potato and the size of the eggs. Add the flour and mix first with a wooden spoon and then by hand, you might not need all the flour or you may need more. Mix until you have a soft dough.
Divide the dough into quarters and using a floured board shape the dough and roll it with you hands until you have a long sausage about 3cm in diameter. If the dough sticks to the board then you need to add more flour.
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into pieces, make the first cut at a diagonal and make the thickness about 1 to 1.5cm. You will get a sort of oval shape.
Repeat this with the rest of the dough.
Fill a large pan with water, add some salt and bring this to the boil.
When the water is boiling, add the dumplings one by one, do not over fill the pan or they will stick together. I tend to do this in 4 batches.
As they cook they will float to the surface, give them about another minute and then remove them with a slotted or a perforated spoon and put them in a colander. I have a colander sitting in an empty pan by the side of the large pan in which I am boiling the dumplings.
I find that the maximum from putting them into the water to taking them out will be 3 minutes, if you cook these too long they will start to fall apart.
Served on –
Royal Douton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998
J & G Meakin – Topic – around 1967
Wedgwood – Chelsea garden – early 21st century.
Here served as suggested above with melted butter, with skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon) and a gulasz.
Salted herrings are very, very popular in Poland, they have been a staple in Northern Europe since Medieval times as this was the way to preserve and transport fish – usually in barrels.
Śledź is the Polish word for herring.
Matjes herrings (matjasy in Polish) are young herrings which are caught throughout May and June before they start spawning in July.
The way that they are prepared originated in The Netherlands and the name comes from the Dutch word maagd which means maiden(because they are young fish).
Often you will see the phrase à la matjas – this means that they are in the style of the matjes herring but they will be a slighty older fish and not as expensive .
Salted herrings need to be soaked, often for up to 24 hours, in water to remove some of the salt.
I have used already prepared à la matjas herrings and I think they are stilltoo salty – so I take the fillets out of the oil they are packed in and put them in milk for 10 to 15 minutes (you can do longer) and then pat them dry and slice them.
These herring salads are often served as an hors d’oeuvre (zakąska in Polish – something to bite after), appetizer, entrée or starter.
They are usually one of the dishes served at Wigilia (Christmas Eve).
Thinly sliced onions are a must to serve with the herrings!