Usually prepared when you have some leftover mashed potatoes – but can be made ‘from scratch’, starting with real raw potatoes. In such case you should boil potatoes in salted water, mash them, and then measure the amounts to achieve the balance.
Served as an accompaniment to meat with sauce, or as individual dish with sauce, with veggies, or with bread crumbs sautéed in butter. Kopytka are excellent when served ‘refried’.
Good candidates for freezing and reheating when needed. In such case you must pre-boil them (see below) and cool in a single layer on flat surface (large platter) so that they cool down without sticking to each other.
Basic ratio of ingredients:
- 2 cups of mashed potatoes (room temperature)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg
- some chopped and browned onion (optional)
- on dry, clean table sprinkle some flour
- on floured surface build volcano with potatoes (a mountain with a hole in the centre)
- add egg(s) and salt to the volcano, and, if desired, the onion
- gently mix the stuff with your fingers, adding flour as required and as possible; it is very messy, should remind you of those happy years of cooking in the mud puddle.
- work in the flour, but gently, patiently folding and gathering rather than forcibly squashing it as you would with the regular pasta pastry
- when most of the flour is in, scrape and wash your hands.
- put the big pot filled with water on the stove, add some salt to water, bring it to boils as soon as possible
- while water is heating up, cut a chunk of the dough
- place it on the floured surface and start rolling into a long snake. The snake diameter should be somewhere around 2-2.5 cm (1 inch). It can be smaller or larger, but should be even all along the snake.
- when snake looks ok, flatten it a bit with the flat surface of a large knife. You can, but do not have to, decorate the flattened surface with frequent shallow cuts of the knife, making a kind of checkered pattern… some people do it instinctively, but it does not influence the taste of the final dish
- cut the snake is small pieces (about 1.5 cm (½ inch) wide?), attacking the snake not with perpendicular cut, but with slanted cut, so that kopytka come out longer than wider, with trapezoidal shape..
- when water boiling, gently pick up your cut pieces and immerse in boiling water.
- stir the pot gently with the wooden spoon
- now you can return to point 8, until the whole dough is gone, but must check the pot frequently.
- when kopytka start showing up at the surface of the water, they are ready for freezing (see noted above). otherwise you let them boil (simmer) for a few minutes. Take one out to test for doneness (must taste cooked!).
- out of the pot they will come quite sticky and will want to retain very close contact with their brothers and sisters. you prevent it by applying some greasy substance (melted butter, bacon fat..) or by placing them far from each other on a flat surface. the latter method must be used when kopytka are to be frozen instead of being served immediately.