What Are Kopytka And How Do You Make Them?

Move over, gnocchi - we've found something ready to rival the red sauce and potato combo of your Italian food dreams. Meet kopytka, a little-known Polish delicacy made up of the same core ingredients: Potatoes, flour, and an egg.

Kopytka has been a staple in Polish culture for as long as potatoes have been – and trust us, potatoes have been synonymous with Poland for some time. Affectionately known as "pyra" by locals, potatoes went on to be produced on a massive scale in the country after they were first introduced in the 1600s, says Polish Housewife.

The potato dumplings may be the same base as your standard gnocchi recipe, but there are a few distinct differences that set this entree (or app!) apart. Typically, kopytka are shaped into almost hoof-like diamonds. The shape is actually where the food gets its name – "kopytka" literally translates into "little hooves," the outlet notes.

The other main character is in the sauce – or, well, the lack thereof. Kopytka aren't just tossed in a runny gravy (though, gravy can also be added to them). Instead, they're often sprinkled with hearty breadcrumbs and butter or drizzled with a savory topping (like one made up of mushrooms, onion, or bacon). They might even be topped with jam, sugar, or cinnamon for a sweet take on the classic (via Polonist).

Here's how to make your own kopytka at home

Want to make your own potato dumplings from scratch? Skip the leftover mashed potatoes in your fridge. While they might be great to incorporate into another dish (did someone say Shephard's Pie?), they're the wrong consistency to yield a perfect kopytka base. According to Kitchn, you want to work with Russet potatoes, since they're dry; If you use creamy potatoes from last night's dinner, your dough may be too wet to shape.

Kitchn lays out the kopytka law, starting with the most crucial rule: Bring your potatoes to a boil in some salted water, but don't over (or under) cook them. You want them to be just tender enough, but any more might make your dough runny. Any less, and you might have some lumpy dumplings. Similarly, don't over-knead the dough. 

Once your dumplings are cooked to perfection, it's up to you how to serve them. One of the most traditional ways is topping them with hearty simmered mushrooms mixed with breadcrumbs for texture, notes Curious Cuisiniere. You can store away uncooked kopytka for up to 2 months. Make a batch and freeze some for an easy and versatile future dinner!