This is another way my mother had of using boiled potatoes – I do not remember her boiling the potatoes especially for these – she would make them with leftover boiled potatoes. (Not that she did not know how many to potatoes to cook for a meal – she would often cook more so she had some for a different use the next day.)
I have given approximate weights below – once you have made them you will know what to expect – I do not think my mother ever weighed out the quantities – just went by eye and consistency.
This will make around 12 croquettes
500g of starchy potatoes – such as King Edward or Maris Piper
20g of melted butter
1 beaten egg
2 to 3 tablespoons of plain flour
Vegetable oil such as sunflower for shallow frying.
Mash the boiled,cold potatoes so that they are smooth and without lumps.
Add the slightly cooled, melted butter and the beaten egg and mix together.
Add the flour and mix to a soft dough – not too much flour as a soft dough gives a more fluffy croquette.
Divide the dough into 4 manageable pieces and roll out into a long sausage shape and divide them into 3. You are aiming for equal sizes of around 3cm deep and 4cm wide by 10cm long.
Shallow fry the croquettes in hot vegetable oil in a frying pan, turning them over so that both sides are golden and crispy.
Potato Croquettes – A Variation
The above is how my mother made these croquettes, whilst looking through my Polish cookery books I came across the following variation also which I tried out & I like these as well.
Method – as above – but instead of just melted butter, fry till golden, half a finely chopped onion in 20 -30g of butter.
Leave this to cool before adding it to the potato mixture.
My mother called these grube kluski – fat noodles but on my recent visits to Poland I have had these under the name kopytka, this means little hooves, which I think describes their oval shape very well.
They are very much like Italian gnocci made with potatoes rather than semolina. (The Italian word comes from either nocchio – a knot in wood or nocca – a knuckle). I think the usual size of gnocci is smaller than the kopytka.
These were often made with boiled potatoes which had been left over from another meal. I do not remember my mother boiling potatoes especially to make these as the potatoes have to be boiled and then left to go cold. I always hoped that she would peel lots of potatoes so that there would be some left to make these, as I just loved to eat them.
We had them served with either melted butter or skwarki (crisp, fried, small squares of bacon). Recently in Poland I was served these with a creamy mushroom sauce*.
I often boil potatoes the day before to make these as the potatoes need to be cold. The exact amounts are not critical but you must use starchy potatoes. When you have made these once you will have a good idea of the amounts involved and I am certain that my mother never weighed out the ingredients, just judged this by eye and consistency.
600g of starchy potatoes – such as King Edward or Maris Piper
1 egg & 1 egg yolk
200g of plain flour
Peel the potatoes cut them up into pieces and boil them in salted water.
Drain the potatoes and then mash them so that there are no lumps. I have a ricer which is very good for this. Leave the potatoes to cool.
Use a large bowl and put the cold potatoes into the bowl.
Lightly beat the egg and the yolk together and add this to the potatoes.
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.
Serve as suggested above with melted butter, bacon bits or with a sauce.
Placki (the plural of placek) are any sort of flat cakes usually round in shape – baked or fried – sweet or savoury.
These fried potato pancakes are so wonderful and although they take a bit of time to prepare it is worth it.
I tend to make these in the winter months as they are best made with older starchy potatoes.
They are best eaten straight from the frying pan – more a family dish than fine dining.
They should be thin and slightly crispy at the edges.
My father said he used to have them for breakfast in Poland.
My mother served them with fried eggs and bacon; one of my aunties serves them with curd cheese and chopped spring onions or with sour cream, in some parts of Poland they are eaten with sugar or jam!
I think this recipe crossed the Atlantic and is one of the origins of Hash Browns – but I prefer these!
In Poland a large breakfast size plate pancake topped with gulasz – goulash is known as –
placek po węgiersku – Hungarian pancake.
4 large starchy potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper.
1 medium or large onion
1 egg or just the egg yolk
salt & pepper
oil for frying
Peel the potatoes then grate them using the fine size of the grater into a large bowl, this is the part that takes time – I have tried using the coarse grate but they are not as good.
Leave to stand for a few minutes and the water from the potatoes will rise to the surface. If the potatoes are very watery pour of some of the water. The easiest way is to tip up the bowl slightly over the sink and hold down the potatoes with the palm of your hand.
Peel the onion and also fine grate it and add to the potatoes. This is the part that would often result in the grating of my knuckles as I tried to use every last bit of onion – I now often use some form of electrical mini-chopper to get a pulp of onion.
Add the egg, salt & pepper.
Add enough plain flour so that the mixture is thick.
Heat some oil in a frying pan, a thick cast iron one is ideal, place large spoonfuls of the mixture onto the hot oil and flatten them out with the spoon or spatula. A pan should be able to hold 3 or 4. Fry till golden on both sides. They should be thin and slightly crispy at the edges.
Do not have the pan too hot or they will burn on the outside and be raw in the centre.
Do not have the pan too cool or they will end up too greasy and not crispy.
Serve immediately or keep them warm in the oven on a low heat whilst you make more.