Uszka are small dumplings in the shape of the ear filled with stuffing, usually, but not always, wild Borowik mushrooms. They are similar to the Italian Tortellini widely available outside of Poland. Uszka are generally added to beetroot or tomato soup, but sometimes served as a standalone dish topped with melted butter and bread crumbs.
Uszka made with Borowik wild mushrooms are a traditional and indeed essential Christmas Eve dish in Poland, usually added to Christmas Beetroot Soup (barszcz).
Ingredients needed for Uszka
To make the Wild mushroom stuffing
• 40 g dried Borowik mushrooms
• 1 cup water
• 1 onion
• 2 tablespoons butter
To make the dough
• 300 g plain flour
• 200 ml boiling water
• 30 g butter
• pinch of salt
Instructions for making Uszka
Wild mushroom stuffing
Reconstitute the dried wild mushrooms by soaking in water (or wine). Add mushrooms to 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes.
Chop the onion into tiny cubes. Add onion to a pan with butter and fry about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Finely chop the mushrooms, add salt and pepper and put in to a mixing bowl. Add the onions and mix. The uszka filling is now ready.
Sift the flour into a bowl and add salt. Melt butter in hot water and gradually pour onto the flour, mixing thoroughly. Remove dough and put on to a floured pastry board. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth and very soft. Place dough in a bowl and cover with foil, leave to stand for 30 minutes.
How to make the little ears
Roll out the dough to a thin layer (about 2 mm), on a floured pastry board. Using a small glass of around 5cm diameter cut the dough in to circles. Add mushroom stuffing to the centre of each pastry circle. Approximately half a teaspoon of stuffing. Fold dough in half with the stuffing inside. Stick edges together, then connect the two ends to form a ring. Place completed uszka on to a floured pastry board. Boil salted water, put the uszka in to the water in batches. Cook over moderate heat for about 2 minutes (depending on the thickness of the dough). Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and arrange on plates leaving a space between each uszka. When dry the uszka can be kept in a Tupperware type container in the fridge for 2 - 3 days. Add to Polish Beetroot soup.