Soft Potato Pyzy with Fried Onions

Pyzy Ziemniaczane

After a long, hard day, there’s nothing quite like settling down with a hearty meal. And these Potato Pyzy (pron.: peezee, already plural) are the definition of comfort.

They’re soft, round dumplings, where raw grated spuds mingle with smooth potato mash. Bound together by an egg and a few spoonfuls of potato flour, they’re cooked in boiling water and served with omasta (topping) of your choice.

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

When well-made, Potato Pyzy make the most satisfying meal, even without any filling. But there are stuffed varieties as well, most commonly with meat (minced pork or poultry), twaróg or sautéed mushrooms.

Do you need any special ingredients or equipment?

Unfortunately, yes. The ingredient list is brief, but two items can be tricky to find.

ingredients for Pyzy potato dumplings

Starchy potatoes

This is crucial – we need spuds that have a floury, fluffy, and starchy texture. Good types are:

  • in Poland: potatoes labelled as “Type C” (for example: Bryza, Gracja, Ibis, Tajfun, Gustaw)
  • in the US: Russet, Idaho and Yukon gold
  • in the UK: Estima, King Edward, Maris Piper, Desiree

Potato flour

In this particular recipe, there’s no good substitute for it. 

In Poland, you’ll find it in nearly every major supermarket. Internationally, if you cannot find it in your local supermarket, enquire in health food stores (potato flour is a popular gluten-free product). Alternatively, you can order it online (for example, on Amazon).

Equipment-wise, you’ll need:

  • vegetable peeler
  • box grater or food processor/blender/meat grinder
  • gauze, cheesecloth or a clean kitchen cloth
  • potato press/masher (important!)
  • 5 quarts (5 litres) cooking pot
  • slotted spoon
  • skillet/frying pan

What to serve it with?

Pyzy are served either as a side, or as a meal on its own merit. Here are some serving suggestions –

As the main course: 

  • topped with melted butter or butter-toasted breadcrumbs
  • sprinkled with grated cheese, chopped fresh herbs (sage, thyme, parsley, dill)
  • sprinkled with fried onions, pork cracklings/scratchings, fried bacon lardons, fried chopped kiełbasa
  • with a sauce of your choice (e.g. mushroom, gravy, sour cream, béchamel, tomato etc.) 
  • with sweetened sour cream, citrus zest, sprinkled with icing sugar

As a side:

  • with thick stews, for example, Pork Gulasz
  • with ‘Pieczyste’, meaning: roasts, especially with poultry roasts (duck, goose, pheasant), roast beef, venison or pork.
  • with meat dishes, such as Schabowy, Mielony, Pulpety

In Varsovian cuisine, Pyzy used to be sold in jars, and were treated as a street food dish.

Can you cook it another way?

Yes, here are some ideas:

  • Stuff Pyzy with the filling of your choice. One of the most popular recipes is ‘Pyzy z mięsem’ (Pyzy with meat), but feel free to use any other filling of your choice. You’ll find some inspiration in these pierogi filling suggestions.
  • Change the ratio of the potatoes (raw versus cooked).
  • Some recipes call for regular all-purpose flour, you could try adding it in. Please note, that this will change the texture (pyzy will be much tougher).

What diets is it suitable for?

This recipe is suitable for vegetarians and those who follow a gluten-free diet.

How long can you keep it in the fridge?

Once you’ve put Pyzy out, ideally you should eat them within 3-4 hours.

To store any leftovers, allow them to cool down first. Move them onto a plate and cover with cling film. Alternatively, move them over into a container with a lid and refrigerate. Aim to consume within 2-3 days.

Can I freeze it?

Yes, Pyzy freeze very well. Once cooked, spread them out on a flat surface. Don’t grease them with any butter or oil. Allow them to completely cool down and dry out. 

Portion Pyzy into individual freezer-friendly containers or zip-bags, label with a description and the date, and place in the freezer. Aim to consume within 3 months.

How do I reheat it?

From chilled

Drop Pyzy directly into a pot with near-boiling water, then reduce the heat to a minimum. Cook for 3-6 minutes until hot throughout (time will depend on their size)

Alternatively, reheat them on a frying pan with a teaspoon of butter. Use a minimum heat and cover with a lid. Shake the pan from time to time and fry for a few minutes until lightly golden and reheated throughout. Again, smaller Pyzy will warm up much quicker than the larger ones.

From frozen

Drop frozen Pyzy directly into boiling water, and continue cooking on medium heat for 5-6 minutes (counting from the moment they start to float to the top).  

If you enjoy a crispy exterior, the next step would be to fry them up on a teaspoon of butter.

Pyzy - Polish grated potato dumplings

Recipe: step by step

Pyzy - Polish potato dumplings with fried onions

Soft Potato Pyzy with Fried Onions

Yield: 20-25 dumplings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

For pyzy

  • 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) potatoes, starchy kind, peeled, weighted after peeling
  • 1 medium egg
  • 3-4 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For boiling (per 1 liquid quart/1 litre)

  • 1 tablespoon potato flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Garnish (optional; more suggestions in the post above)

  • 2 medium onions (8.5 oz, 240 g); white or yellow
  • 3 tablespoons butter; can be replaced with canola oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh herbs (dill, parsley, sage); finely chopped

Instructions

Prepping potatoes

  1. Cook 1.1 lb (500 g) of potatoes for 20 minutes until soft.
  2. [As you wait for the potatoes to cook] Grate the rest (2.2 lb, 1 kg) of the potatoes using the smallest holes of the box grater. Alternatively, blend them in a food processor/blender; or push them through a meat grinder (using the smallest holes).
  3. Move raw potato mass onto a clean kitchen cloth, cheesecloth or gauze. Fold it and squeeze out the excess liquid (above a bowl!). Discard the liquid from the bowl, keeping the potato starch that has settled at its bottom. Add that retrieved starch to raw potato mass and set aside.
  4. While cooked potatoes are still warm, push them through a potato press, or mash thoroughly with a potato masher. If you have already used meat grinder for raw potatoes, you can use it again here.

    Warning: DO NOT blend cooked potatoes in a food processor/blender, they’ll will turn to mush and the Pyzy dough will end up very watery.

    Warning 2: Potato mash has to cool completely (important!) before adding it to the raw potato mass.
  5. Add one egg, 3-4 tablespoons of potato flour and a teaspoon of salt. Combine and form a dough ball.

Assembling pyzy

  1. Dust your work surface or a large tray with potato flour. Grease your hands with a drop of cooking oil and start rolling round balls. The size is up to you, but in general, we’re aiming for a size of a walnut. Once formed, place ‘Pyza’ on the flour-dusted tray and continue until you’re out of dough.
  2. Bring a large cooking pot of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt per quart/litre of water and stir.

    Pro tip: Adding potato flour to water will help Pyzy keep their shape.

    In a cup, whisk potato flour with a cup of cold water. The amount of flour will depend on how much water you’re boiling. Use 1 tablespoon of potato flour per quart/litre of water; whisk it with a cup of cold water, and pour it into boiling water.
  3. Drop Pyzy to boiling water one by one, making sure you’re not overcrowding the pot. For this number of Pyzy, I cook them in 3 rounds. Initially, Pyzy sink to the bottom, but with time, they’ll start to float.
  4. After dropping Pyzy in, wait for the water to boil again. Then, reduce the heat to low and cook Pyzy for 5 minutes (counting from the moment they start to float, so roughly 10 minutes in total, a bit longer for extra-large Pyzy). Repeat with the rest of the dumplings.

For the garnish

  1. Peel and chop the onions finely. In a skillet, melt the butter and add chopped onion. Fry until golden.

Finishing up

  1. Using a slotted spoon, retrieve Pyzy from the pot and divide them between plates. Garnish with fried onion, cover with melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with freshly chopped herbs and serve.

Notes

The recipe is adapted from Hanna Szymanderska's cookbook „Prawdziwa kuchnia polska”, Published by Rea, ISBN: 9788379934560

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 25 Serving Size: 5
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 151Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 920mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

Polish name:
Pronunciation: peezee
Cuisine: Polish
Region / Subregion: all-Polish
Other traditional or regional names: tertuny, goły
Also known as (including misspellings): knedle ziemniaczane, old fashioned potato dumplings, grated potato dumplings, potato kluski