Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Sluttishly Savoury: Christmas Eve Dumplings

Photos courtesy of intergalacticneil on Instagram (and his Polish in-laws)
The proper name for these miniature savoury dumpings is uszka, and they're basically a Polish version of ravioli. Also known as 'little ears' because of their shape, they're traditionally made the night before Christmas. Mushrooms and onions are gently fried with herbs and spices, then carefully wrapped in thinly rolled dough. The delicate flavours are a revelation if you're used to eastern European recipes resulting in bold, hearty fare.

Here's the fun bit: each batch has a few surprise dumplings that contain either garlic, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger or dates. DO NOT EAT THESE ONES. They're like the sixpence in a Christmas pudding. Each ingredient represents your fortune for the coming year - the photo in the top right of the collage explains it all.


Filling and folding the dumplings is a pleasingly time-consuming process. Don't try and rush it - just sit down with family or friends, crack open a bottle of wine, and gradually roll, fill and fold them. Once cooked, they're traditionally served in borscht, but you can eat them simply drizzled in olive oil or melted butter.

Christmas Eve Dumplings
You will need:

For the dough:
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100ml water
For the filling:
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 250g mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 25g breadcrumbs
  • Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Make it!
  1. Make the dough by sifting the flour and salt into a large bowl, then making a well and gradually adding the egg and water. Mix together until it forms a dough, then knead it briefly until smooth. Set aside for half an hour to rest.
  2. Now for the filling. Heat a little oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Fry the garlic briefly until it releases its aroma, then add the mushrooms, onion and rosemary. Fry until the onion softens, then add the breadcrumbs and parsley. Season to taste, then leave to cool.
  3. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll out the dough very thinly. Cut it into squares roughly 3cm by 3cm. Put a spoonful of the filling in the middle of each.
  4. Now, the folding. Place the dough in front of you so the corner is pointing towards you. Moisten the edges and fold the near corner to the far one, so the dough forms a triangle. Press down to seal it. Moisten the bottom corners and fold them in to the middle. It should look like the dough is giving itself a cuddle. Awww.
  5. Cook the dumplings in boiling water in small batches. They only take 3-4 minutes and are ready when they float to the surface.

2 comments:

  1. Oh I love this! What a fun thing to do with people you love. And the little fortune dumplings are brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it ace? Very therapeutic, very delicious.

      Delete

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