Uszka, small dumplings filled with wild mushrooms, are a must on my Christmas Eve table. A very traditional dish, they are served with clear beetroot soup as the first course. They freeze beautifully, so I tend to make them in advance an keep in the freezer. I made a batch last weekend and finally got to use some of those wild mushrooms I picked over the autumn months. They are really simple to make and require just a handful of ingredients, but they are quite time consuming. But it's all worth the effort!
(makes around 50 uszka, depending on how big or small you make them)
For the filling:
- 300 g frozen wild mushrooms (or 30g dried ones, rehydrated in warm water for a few hours, or use the equivalent amount of regular mushrooms if wild are not available)
- 1 large onion
- salt & pepper
- a little oil for frying
For the pastry:
- 2 cups plain flower
- 0.5 cup very warm water
- 2 tbsp oil
Start with the filling.
Roughly chop the onion and place in a large frying pan along with the oil, and fry on low heat until translucent. Add the mushrooms and keep frying until they are fully defrosted, and all the liquid has evaporated. Add salt and pepper. Place the contents of the pan in a food processor and pulse a few times until everything is chopped very small, but before it turns into a completely smooth paste.
Next, make the pastry.
Place all the pastry ingredients in a bowl, mix and knead until smooth and elastic (or use a stand mixer).
Roll it out on a flowered surface quite thinly - about 2mm. Cut into even squares - the smaller the better - 3cm is probably about right. You can also cut out small circles using a cookie cutter or a glass - the final look will be only slightly different.
Start forming your uszka.
Place a teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each square, then fold it in half diagonally, to form a triangular parcel. Seal the sides by pinching them together.
Next, take the two ends on the longest side of your triangle, and join them together, pinching the pastry. All done.
You can now cook them straight away, or freeze them.
To cook, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and gently drop the uszka in the water. When they come up to the surface, they're ready - you can fish them out. If cooking from frozen, give them an extra minute in the boiling water.
Serve in soup, or on their own with a little bit of melted butter and sour cream.