These traditional Polish Christmas Eve porcini dumplings (uszka) are served hot with Polish borscht as the first dish of the Christmas Eve meal.
POLISH CHRISTMAS EVE PORCINI DUMPLINGS (USZKA)
As promised yesterday I am posting a recipe for Polish Christmas Eve porcini dumplings (uszka). The name ‘uszka’ in Polish means ‘little ears’, which refers to the shape of these dumplings. Don’t worry if your batch doesn’t exactly look like a bunch of ears inside a bowl, it’s not the most appetising description anyway! As long as you make them small and compact and neat looking they’ll be fine.
Uszka Dough Recipe
I’ve included a few photos of the actual process of making the dumplings (below), which I hope you will find useful. Despite my somewhat lengthy instructions (which is unusual for me) they are actually not very difficult to make.
I used my tried and tested pierogi dough recipe to make these dumplings. It is very easy to work with and I recommend rolling it out very thinly so the dumplings are not too doughy. (They should be more about the mushrooms than the dough). The dough is quite resilient and won’t tear easily. Promise! I trust this recipe completely.
Mushroom Filling for Uszka
The mushroom filling in this recipe is very easy to make. Start by briefly soaking the mushrooms, rinsing and then cooking them for about 30 minutes in a small amount of water. Then strain the mushrooms (reserving the water to add to your Polish Christmas borscht recipe or another soup/stew recipe), and puree with the rest of the ingredients. You will have to fry the onions before adding into the filling.
I am using a bit of soy sauce in the filling mixture, which, you might have guessed, is not a traditional ingredient used to make uszka. Soy sauce adds depth and savouriness to this recipe. I also use it in my Christmas borscht recipe.
As for the porcini mushrooms, they can be quite pricey in the big supermarkets. So if there is a Polish delicatessen where you live you are in luck as the porcini will be much cheaper there. All Polish delicatessens should stock dried wild mushrooms, especially in the months leading up to Christmas.
Equipment you’ll need
- Kitchen scales and spoon
- Rolling pin, glass (6 cm diameter), knife and kitchen cloth
- Small pan for frying the onion
- Small saucepan for cooking the mushrooms, spoon and blender
- Large pot for boiling the dumplings
- Slotted spoon and large plate
How to make Uszka: step-by-step
1.Start by preparing the mushrooms. Rinse them thoroughly rubbing with your fingertips to remove any grit, then place in a pot, add enough water just to cover them and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile fry the onion gently in 1 tablespoon of oil for 3-4 minutes until softened. Set aside.
2. Bring the mushrooms to a boil (in the same pot with water), covered, then simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain thoroughly, reserving the liquid.
3. Chop the mushrooms roughly and place in a blender along with the fried onion, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and seasoning.
4. Blitz until the mixture becomes sticky but still has some texture. Stir in the breadcrumbs. Adjust the seasoning if needed and set aside while you make the dough.
5. To make the dough combine the flour, salt and butter and using a large knife bring the mixture together gradually adding the water.
6. When the mixture becomes sticky start kneading to form a smooth dough ball.
7. Divide the dough into 2-3 parts (easier to work with) and place under a bowl (to prevent drying). Roll it out each dough ball to approx. 2 mm in thickness on a lightly floured surface and make round shapes using the rim of a glass.
8. Combine excess dough with the remaining dough (remember to keep it covered).
9. Place a small amount of the mushroom filling inside each round shape and close it in by sticking the sides together.
10. Then bring the ends together. Place the uszka on a lightly floured surface and keep covered with a kitchen cloth.
7. When you’ve made 10-15 uszka carefully place them in a pot of gently boiling salted water, stir, and cook for 3 minutes from the time the dumplings come up to the surface. Remove from the heat, lift the dumplings out using a slotted spoon and place on top of a lightly greased plate without overlapping each other. Drizzle over a little oil or butter.
- The most affordable porcini mushrooms I’ve ever come across are sold by Polish delicatessens.
- You can make the filling ahead and once cooled refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- Make sure you stick the edges of each dumpling together really well so they don’t open up in the pot.
- Make ahead: If you don’t want to serve the dumplings straight away place them in an oven proof dish (the oil will prevent them from sticking to one another) and once cooled refrigerate (for up to 3 days) until they are ready to be reheated (in the same dish). Cover and reheat in the oven. Alternatively reheat individual portions in the microwave.
- Any leftover dough can be used to make other dumplings, such as cheese and potato, and sauerkraut dumplings.
- Serve with Polish Christmas borscht.
- Freezing: Place raw dumplings on a lightly floured tray, in a single layer and freeze. After 2-3 hours transfer the dumplings (ensure they are dusted with flour) into a freezer bag/plastic container and place back in the freezer. Cook from frozen (as per Instructions). You can also freeze the liquid from cooking the mushrooms in a small jar and add into soups or stews later.
More Polish Christmas Eve recipes
- Polish Dried Fruit Compote Recipe
- Fish Casserole with Vegetables
- Polish Kutia Recipe (Wheat Berry Pudding)
Check out also this collection of over 12 healthy vegetarian pasta meals.
Keep in touch!
How have your porcini dumplings turned out for you? Let me know in the comments below, thanks!
Polish Christmas Eve Porcini Dumplings (Uszka)
For the dough
- 350 g flour plus more for dusting
- 180 ml very warm water
- 1 tbsp butter
- good pinch of salt approx. 1/2 tsp
For the filling
- 50 g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling and 1 tsp boiling the uszka
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To make the filling place the mushrooms in a bowl, add a little water and rub using your fingertips to remove any grit. Rinse well, place in a pot, add fresh water (enough to cover the mushrooms thoroughly) and soak for 10 minutes. Cover, bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.
- To make the dough place the flour, salt and butter on top of your work surface and start combining using a large knife, cutting into the mixture and gradually adding the water into the middle, gathering up the mixture with the knife to prevent the water from escaping. When the dough starts to come together and all the water has been added knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until it becomes smooth, soft and elastic. If it sticks to your hands too much add a bit of flour (not more than 1 tsp) and knead in. Cover with a bowl or wrap in cling film and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Heat up the oil and fry the onion over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until it's softened, stirring occasionally (do not brown it as it may taste bitter). Set aside.
- Once the mushrooms have cooked strain well reserving the liquid (which you can add to Polish borscht, krupnik soup or stew). Chop the mushrooms roughly, combine with the onion, soy sauce and seasoning and puree until the mixture becomes sticky (it can still have bigger bits of mushrooms or onion in it). Add the breadcrumbs and stir thoroughly. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Divide the dough in 2 or 3 parts (easier to work with) and roll out one part (keeping the other 2 covered) on top of a lightly floured surface as thinly as possible (don't worry, the dough is stretchy and quite resilient and won't tear easily). Using a glass with a diameter of approximately 6 cm make round shapes (gather up excess dough and combine with the other dough part). See the photos.
- Place a small amount of the filling in the middle of each dough circle (if the dough is sticking to the work surface use a knife to help it come off but take care not to tear it). With tips of your fingers stick the edges of the dumpling together and bring the ends towards each other and stick together too (your fingertips should be dry so it's a good idea to keep a sheet of paper towel near you to wipe them if they get sticky).
- Place the dumplings on a lightly floured surface and cover with a tea towel.
- Fill a large pot with salted water, add 1 tsp of oil, cover and bring to the boil. Continue making the dumplings as you are waiting for the water to boil. When the water starts boiling carefully place the dumplings in the pot one by one (don't overcrowd the pot, do this in batches if you have to) and quickly but carefully stir with a wooden spoon. When the dumplings come up to the surface cook them gently for about 4 minutes, switch off the heat and using a slotted spoon transfer them onto a lightly greased large plate.
- Serve hot along with Christmas borscht, 4-5 per one portion of the borscht.
- The most affordable porcini mushrooms I've ever come across are sold in Polish delicatessens. Avoid big supermarkets.
- You can make the filling ahead and once cooled refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- Make sure you stick the edges of each dumpling together really well so they don't open up in the pot.
- Make ahead: If you don't want to serve the dumplings straight away place them in an oven proof dish (the oil will prevent them from sticking to one another) and once cooled refrigerate (for up to 3 days) until they are ready to be reheated (in the same dish). Cover with tin foil and reheat in the oven. Alternatively reheat individual portions in the microwave.
- Any leftover dough can be used to make other dumplings, such as cheese and potato, and sauerkraut.
- Serve with Polish Christmas borscht