Tuesday, March 28, 2017
   
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Tavern Pan Sinkers: A Delicious and Easy Alternative to Kopytka

Here's a recipe from Michael J. Baruch's cookbook, The New Polish Cuisine. Michael says: I love Mom and Pop taverns, you know, the ones that are full of tchotchkes, and that serve (help-yourself) lunch at the end of the bar. Years back, I helped a few ailing local joints boost their lunch sales by creating Tavern Sinkers, a great alternative to the laborious Kopytka. Potatoes, bread, and seasoning are combined, quickly poached, then sauteed in melted butter and covered with savory topping to produce a real working man's gut sinker. Trust me, cops and yuppies love them!

Chef's Tip!

I cannot stress to you enough the importance of using sea salt in the poaching liquid. Using regular table salt will make your sinkers take on an unpleasant aftertaste.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry mashed potatoes, chilled
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 thick slice homemade white bread, crumbled
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Large dash of Tabasco
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or 1 teaspoon Polish spice, see p. 251 in the cookbook)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Large dash of nutmeg
  • Large dash of garlic powder
  • Large dash of onion powder
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 recipe Savory Polish Topping (see below)
  • 2 quarts lightly salted water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation

Heat 2 quarts of lightly salted water to boiling, and add the olive oil, then reduce to a slow simmer.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, flour, bread, egg, butter, Tabasco, and desired seasoning, and using your hands, mix the dough until well blended.

Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead the dough until it becomes semi-stiff to the touch. (It's okay to add a little more flour to the dough, but not too much. The mixture will always feel pasty.)

Using floured hands, pinch off about a walnut size piece, and roll it into a ball. Now place the ball onto a clean work surface, and roll until it forms a 2 1/2-inch long finger. Repeat with the rest of the dough, then cook in the salted, simmering water until they float to the surface, then cook for 2 minutes more. Remove the dumplings with a slotted kitchen spoon to a platter.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the butter, then add the dumplings, and cook over medium low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. When the dumplings are browned, sprinkle on the savory Polish topping, and serve immediately.

Makes 20 to 24 pieces

Savory Polish Topping

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 slice hickory smoked bacon, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, diced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup dill, minced
  • Dash of sea salt
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

In a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat, heat the butter, add the bacon, and cook for exactly 1 minute.

Now add the garlic and onion, and cook for another minute until the onion is slightly soft.

Add the breadcrumbs and eggs, and gently toss the skillet until the mixture is well blended. Turn the heat off, and stir in the rest of the ingredients until well seasoned.

Makes about 1 cup

Recommended reading(s):

The New Polish CuisineThe New Polish Cuisine by Michael Baruch and Gregory Bertolini

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