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Uszka ‘little ears’ – porcini filled Polish dumplings for Christmas Eve Borscht

24 November 2018 | Last Updated: 9 December 2019

Uszka are small pierogies filled with wild forest mushrooms and sauteed onion. Sometimes sauerkraut and mushroom filling is also used. Uszka translates to little ears in the Polish language. They are usually served with Christmas Eve Beet Soup – Borscht – Barszcz Wigilijny. The filling is simple and easy to make, but shaping the uszka is a bit time-consuming. Considering we are making them once a year – they are really worth it. Delicate pierogi dough filled with mushrooms almost melts in your mouth and combined with clear beetroot soup is really wonderful. Below you will find an authentic recipe with step by step photos. The recipe below focuses on the mushroom filling. For more detailed instructions on how to make the best pierogi dough, shaping, storing and freezing instructions, check out this post: the best pierogi dough.

Ready to be cooked uszka on a wooden board

The difference between the uszka and tortellini:

These small pierogi resemble Italian tortellini in shape. The difference lies in the dough. Ravioli uses a pasta dough, which has more egg-to flour ratio than pierogi.

INGREDIENTS/FILLING VARIATIONS:

  • The mushroom filling can be made from dried wild mushrooms / fresh wild mushrooms / fresh button or cremini mushrooms. Dried wild mushrooms are more readily available than fresh wild mushrooms so this is what I’ve used. The best are porcini mushrooms. Alternatively, you can use the button or cremini mushrooms. The filling made from the wild mushrooms will have a deeper ‘mushroom flavor’. If you’re using fresh mushrooms, just chop them finely and sautee in a pan until soft. It’s important to cook them over high heat until the water released from the mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned.
  • Sauerkraut and mushroom filling, the same as for the sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi.

How to make uszka step by step:

mushrooms are being soaked in water with spices, saueteed onion in a pan

STEP 1: Rinse 3.5oz/100g dried wild forest mushrooms (I used porcini mushrooms), add to a medium pot with 2 bay leaves and 1 allspice berry, add enough water to cover the mushrooms. Cook over low heat, partially covered, for about 30 minutes until tender. Strain and squeeze out the water. Discard the bay leaves and allspice berry.

STEP 2: Heat 2 heaped tablespoons butter in a pan over medium heat, add 1 large finely chopped onion. Cook for about 8 minutes, until soft and translucent.

sauteed onions and mushrooms, mushroom filling in a bowl

STEP 3: Add the cooked and drained mushrooms to the pan and cook for a few more minutes.

STEP 4: Transfer the content of the pan to a food processor bowl, blitz until of almost paste consistency, season with salt and pepper to taste (you can also grind the mushroom filling in a meat grinder). Fill a plastic bag with the mushroom filling and cut its corner.

rolled out pierogi dough, filling is being applied onto the dough

STEP 5: Roll out the pierogi dough (ýou’ll need 1/2 of my recipe) very thinly, about 1-2 mm / 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 4 cm / 1.5 inch squares. You can also cut out rounds if you wish (but it takes more time).

STEP 6: Squeeze a little bit of filling onto each square. You can also apply the filling with a teaspoon.

shaped uszka on a wooden board, Christmas Eve red borscht served with cooked uszka

STEP 7: Shape the dumplings: Fold over in a triangle shape, press the edges together to seal (if it’s not easy to do, wet the edges all around each square with a bit of water). Wrap the two ends around your finger and press.

Cook the uszka: Arrange the shaped dumplings on a kitchen towel, lightly sprinkled with flour, cover with a second kitchen towel (so that the dough won’t dry out). Boil in salted water, about 15 pieces at a time, for about 1-2 minutes, starting from the moment when they float to the water’s surface. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon. You can coat them in a small amount of butter so that they don’t stick to each other (only if you’re serving the uszka right away and not freezing them).

STEP 8: Serve in a bowl of clear red borscht. Enjoy!

Other pierogi recipes:

Cooked uszka on a slotted spoon, freshly taken out od the water

Uszka ‘little ears’ – porcini filled Polish dumplings for Christmas Eve Borscht

Recipe for little pierogi dumplings with onion and mushroom filling.
HERE you'll find pierogi dough recipe. You will need 1/2 of this recipe.
The filling recipe yields about 110 uszka.
Prep time (approx.): 20 mins (the filling) + 60 mins (shaping the uszka)
Cook time: 30 mins (cooking the mushrooms) + 10 mins (cooking the uszka)
These little dumpling are meant to be served with this soup: Polish Christmas Eve Beet Soup Recipe (Borscht / Barszcz Wigilijny)
Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 people
Calories 720kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz dried wild forest mushrooms (100g) preferably porcini mushrooms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 1 large onion 100g / 3.5 oz
  • 2 heaped tablespoons butter
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Rinse the mushrooms *, add to a medium pot with the bay leaves and allspice berry, add enough water to cover the mushrooms. Cook over low heat, partially covered, for about 30 minutes until tender. Strain and squeeze out the water. Discard the bay leaves and allspice berry.
  • Heat the butter in a pan over medium heat, add finely chopped onion. Cook for about 8 minutes, until soft and translucent.
  • Add the cooked and drained mushrooms to the pan and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Transfer the content of the pan to a food processor bowl, blitz until of almost paste consistency, season with salt and pepper to taste (you can also grind the mushroom filling in a meat grinder).
  • Roll out the pierogi dough (ýou'll need 1/2 of my recipe) very thinly, about 1-2 mm / 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 4 cm / 1.5 inch squares (see photos). You can also cut out rounds if you wish (it takes more time).
  • Apply the filling with a teaspoon, or squeeze it from a plastic / pastry bag. Fill a plastic bag with the mushroom filling and cut its corner. Squeeze a little bit of filling onto each square.
  • Fold over in a triangle shape, press the edges together to seal (if it’s not easy to do, wet the edges all around each square with a bit of water). Wrap the two ends around your finger and press.
  • Arrange the shaped dumplings on a kitchen towel, lightly sprinkled with flour, cover with a second kitchen towel (so that the dough won’t dry out).
  • Boil the uszka in salted water, about 15 pieces at a time, for about 1-2 minutes, starting from the moment when they float to the water’s surface. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon. You can coat them in a small amount of butter so that they don’t stick to each other (only if you’re serving the uszka right away and not freezing them).
  • Serve in a bowl of clear red borscht.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Many recipes call for soaking the mushrooms, but I don’t usually do that. You can soak them for a few hours if they have a lot of sand (it will fall at the bottom of the bowl). I didn’t notice any sand in the mushrooms that I usually buy. I rinse them briefly with water just like I rinse fresh mushrooms.
  • You can cook the uszka right away or freeze them. How to freeze uszka: place them on a plate or chopping board, it should be well sprinkled with flour. The uszka should be placed apart so that they don‘t stick to each other. On the next day (or when they‘re frozen) transfer them to a plastic bag or container. Cook the same way as fresh, uncooked uszka.
  • Filling variations:
    • The mushroom filling can be made from dried wild mushrooms / fresh wild mushrooms / fresh button or cremini mushrooms. Dried wild mushrooms are more readily available than fresh wild mushrooms so this is what I’ve used. The best are porcini mushrooms. Alternatively, you can use the button or cremini mushrooms. The filling made from the wild mushrooms will have a deeper ‘mushroom flavor’. If you’re using fresh mushrooms, just chop them finely and sautee in a pan until soft. It’s important to cook them over high heat until the water released from the mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned.
    • Sauerkraut and mushroom filling, the same as for the sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi.
Course dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine polish
Keyword borscht dumplings, pierogi dough, Uszka little ears dumplings, uszka polish dumplings

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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