Organic Yellow Potatoes – 3 pounds
Smoked Sausage – 500 grams
Onion – 2 medium size
Lean Smoked Bacon – 500 grams
Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon
Ground Black Pepper – 3 teaspoons
Sea Salt – 5 teaspoons
Pyzy – Europe’s love affair with the potato began centuries ago, when the Spanish explorers introduced the potato to Europe. Potatoes are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and are an essential ingredient in many European cuisines. A multitude of delicious potato-based dishes await the visitor in Europe, particularly the traveler visiting Poland and Lithuania. In the Lithuanian cuisine, the potato is the key ingredient in an array of dishes, among them the potato sausage, potato pancakes, grated potato balls and potato dumplings, called “Cepelinai”. Lithuanian “Cepelinai”, are oval-shaped potato dumplings, traditionally filled with minced meat and served with sour cream and bacon sauce. Podlasie, the northeastern region of Poland, is a convergence of different cultures and ethnic cuisines. Kartacze are traditional potato dumplings made in Podlasie, similar to the Lithuanian “Cepelinai”, filled with minced meat, white cheese or mushrooms. Pyzy are smaller in size and round-shaped potato dumplings, traditionally filled with minced meat. In my family, Pyzy are stuffed with smoked sausage and onions, and topped with sautéed bacon and onions. The potato-dough is a mixture of grated raw potatoes, mashed cooked potatoes and salt. We choose organic yellow potatoes for their high starch content and low moisture. At European delicatessen store in the US, we select a Polish smoked sausage with a smoky flavor and an aromatic lean bacon. Our delectable Pyzy are a culinary surprise for the potato lovers.
Step 1 – Cut the sausage and the onion into small cubes. Prepare the stuffing by mixing the sausage, onion, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.
Step 2 – Cut the bacon and the onion into small cubes. In the frying pan, sauté the bacon with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden. Add the chopped onion and 1 teaspoon of black pepper, then sauté for a few minutes and set aside.
Step 3 – Clean and peel the potatoes. Boil 4 medium sized potatoes until tender, then mash them with the potato masher. Grate the remaining potatoes with the electric potato grater or by hand using the small grating surface of a grater box. Place the grated potatoes in a cotton cloth, make a bundle and squeeze the water out. The grated potatoes should be lightly moist (the majority of the water shall be squeezed out). Note: The quantity of boiled potatoes should be no more than 1/3 of the potato dough to insure that the dumplings do not fall apart while boiling.
Step 4 – Combine the grated potatoes, mashed potatoes and 2 teaspoons of salt, and form the potato dough by hand. Make medium dough balls, push in the center of each ball and put 2 tablespoons of the sausage stuffing. Seal the edges and form medium size balls.
Step 5 – In a large pot, bring water with 2 teaspoons of salt to boil, then gently place pyzy in the boiling water. Once the potato dumplings float to the surface, reduce the heat to medium and boil them for 15-20 minutes. Serve the pyzy with the sautéed bacon and onions on the top.