Friday, October 14, 2011

Polish Potato Dumplings – Country Style

Witamy!  October is Polish Heritage Month, and a thoughtful way to showcase our heritage is to give the gift of authentic recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation.  Christmas is coming soon and our book makes a great gift for younger generations who may not have the old recipes passed down the family tree, or who would appreciate a little guidance and pictures to show what the dish should look like.  One of our friends just bought ten copies for all her friends, and we just met another gentleman during the Festival at Czestochowa who bought six copies for each of his kids, to help them preserve their heritage. Sure, this is a shameless plug, but the fact is that that everyone who has flipped through the pages, and laid eyes on Matthew’s gorgeous photography absolutely loves it.

As long as I’m plugging, the young man who photographed our book is a very talented extreme sports photographer.  He also has a passion for food and loved tasting every dish captured by his camera lenses.  We now have a convert to beets!  Check out his work:  He’s based out of Long Island NY right now, but if you know anyone who needs a professional photographer, Matthew is willing and eager.

Potatoes have always played a large role in shaping classic Polish cuisine – especially comfort foods that originated in the country and on farms.  We recently met a lady who swears that Polish potatoes taste so much better than Baltimore potatoes - because of the dirt they were grown in.  Okay, I believe her, but I haven’t found any Polish potatoes at the farmers markets we frequent, so we’ll have to go with Idaho spuds...or whatever is available. 

Here is a very classic, old timey recipe for a potato-based side dish that really goes well with braised meats.

Potato Dumplings
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups peeled and grated uncooked potatoes  (in a blender or food processor)
2 cups ground boiled potatoes (in a blender, food processor or ricer)
1 egg
¾ cup flour
3 slices of crisp bacon, diced
1 small to medium onion, sliced

Drain the uncooked potatoes in a colander or strainer and press them well to extract the moisture.  In a bowl combine all the potatoes, about a half teaspoon of salt, and the egg.  Form into small balls, about ¾ to 1 inch across.  Gently roll each in the flour.

The uncooked dumplings will be quite delicate...lower them carefully into a large pot of lightly boiling salted water.  Cover, bring back to a low boil.  Cook uncovered on high heat until they float – about 5 minutes or so depending on their size and density.  (Hint:  with a spatula nudge and release any that are stuck to the bottom of the pot;  2nd hint:  test one of the 1st floaters to see if they are cooked through).  Drain and transfer to a warm serving platter.  Sautee the bacon with the onions until the bacon is crisp and onions are golden.   Pour over the dumplings.  Garnish with a bit of sour cream if desired and dill sprigs for color.  Serve with braised or roasted meats.  Smacznego!
PS:   Tell us how they came out – we love your feedback.

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