Uszka – Little Ears – Re-visited

I wrote a long post on pierogi and uszka   over two years ago and this has lots of details on Polish pasta.

This post is an update on how to make uszka in advance and open freeze them.

Uszka –  means ‘little ears’ and traditionally  mushroom uszka are made for Wigila – the Christmas Eve meal  to serve either on their own with butter or floating in barszcz (clear beetroot soup).

I usually make around 250 to 300 uszka on the morning of Christmas Eve.

Last Chritmas I was going to be taking the uszka to my sister’s to cook there and also needed some on another day to cook at home.

I knew that I could make them in advance and open freeze them; so decided that this year I would make them in small batches and freeze them up over the few weeks before Christmas Eve.

In Poland these will have been made with just dried mushrooms, here in England my mother made them with fresh mushrooms with the addition of dried mushrooms when she could get them.  I like them like this the best.

Ingredients – Mushroom Filling

20g dried mushrooms

250g mushrooms – older open ones are better than button mushrooms.

1 onion

1 egg yolk

1 to 2 tablespoons of home-made dried breadcrumbs

Butter to fry the mushrooms

Salt & ground black pepper to taste

Method

Pour a small amount of boiling water into the dried mushrooms and leave these overnight.

You can remove the stalks from the older fresh mushrooms as these tend to be ‘woody’ and then cut the caps into thin slices.

Chop the onion into small pieces.

Fry the mushrooms and onions together in the butter.

Chop the reconstituted dried mushroom (You can save the liquor for other recipes) and add these to the mixture and heat them together for a few minutes more.

It does depend on the mushrooms and the way they are fried as to how much liquid is produced, if you get a lot, then let them simmer gently to evaporate as much as possible or strain some of this excess off (again you can use this liquor in soups or sauces).

Allow the mixture to cool.

The mixture then needs to be minced which used to take me a long time and much effort.  I now use a hand blender which works really well indeed. 

To the minced mixture add the egg yolk and enough breadcrumbs to make a stiff filling.

Add salt and lots of ground black pepper.

You can divide up the mixture into 3 or 4 portions and freeze these in plastic bags or tubs to use at a later date.

 

 

Uszka Dough

The dough is made from flour, egg yolks and water and I have  seen many variations of the recipe.  The following is my mother’s and I think it is the best I have ever used and tasted.

She never used whole eggs, just the yolks and this gives a dough which is soft and not tough and can be easily rolled out.

My mother originally used plain flour and added a tablespoon or two of fine semolina but now that strong flour or even pasta flour is readily available this is what I use the most.

Flour does vary and it is possible to add more flour to the dough as you are mixing it but you cannot add more liquid if it is too dry!

As you mix the ingredients in the first few minutes you should be able to tell if it will be too dry and you can add some more water initially but once it is all mixed together you cannot – if it goes wrong – just start again!

The quantities that I have given work well and but you should allow for extra flour if needed.

Depending on how thinly you roll out the dough, this amount should make around 70 uszka.

Ingredients – Dough

250g pasta flour or strong flour or plain flour & 2 tablespoons of fine semolina

150ml water

1 tablespoon oil – sunflower or light olive

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk

Method

In a jug or bowl mix together the water, oil and the yolk.

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Pour in the liquid from the jug and initially use a knife to mix this into the flour and then use your hands to mix the liquid and flour to get a ball of dough.

 

 

Turn this out onto a floured board and knead the dough for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball.

Cut the dough into quarters.

On a floured board roll out a quarter at a time until you have a sheet of thinly rolled dough.

Now prepare a large tray and cover it with a clean tea towel and sprinkle this with flour.

Have a large surface such as a tray covered with a cotton or linen cloth which has been lightly floured ready  and place the sealed uszka on this until they are all made, do not let then touch each other.

I usually make the uszka from squares of dough, about 4cm square, which are folded.

This time,  I made the shape in a slightly different way – so that I got a much more uniform shape and size.

I cut them out using a 6cm diameter cutter. (I also tried a 5cm diameter cutter which was good as the uszka were smaller but much more time consuming!)

The excess dough can be re-mixed and rolled out again.

Around a small teaspoon of filling is put on  each circle and then they are folded over and the edges pinched together to make a good seal.

The two ends are the brought together and pinched to make a round “ear” shape.

You learn from experience how much filling to put in as too much will make it hard to seal them and if not properly sealed they will burst on boiling.  Do not worry if you have a few mishaps – it still happens to me even with experience – it is hard to salvage one that has gone wrong – just accept that there will be a few that you do not cook.

As you are making them place them on the floured cloth.

 

 

 

 

Open Freezing

You need to have a fairly empty freezer to do this

If you have a extra chill button on you freezer, switch that on.

You will need around 3 baking trays – sprinkle flour on these.

Place  the uszka apart on floured baking trays so they are not touching and place the trays in the freezer for several hours – or even overnight – making sure the trays do not squash each other.

 

 

 

 

Once they are frozen, pack the uszka into boxes.

Cook them  straight from frozen by dropping them individually straight into boiling salted water – 8 to 10 at a time.

As they cook they will float to the surface, let them boil for 2 to 3 minutes and then remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and put into a colander above a pan for a few seconds to drain and serve.  Continue boiling batches in the same water.

Uszka are served with melted butter or they can be served floating in a clear soup such as rosól – clear chicken soup or in barszcz – beetroot soup.

 

 

 

The convention is to serve three or five uszka in each dish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any that are not eaten should be spread out so that they cool with the melted butter around them.

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later, you can then fry them up gently so they are golden in parts.

A new tradition which was stared by my mother is on Christmas Day morning to have uszka fried with bacon and eggs, we always make sure we have some saved!

 

 

 

The Verdict

So much easier making the uszka in advance, so I will continue to make them like this, slowly over the weeks before Wigilia.

Mushroom Soup

Grzyby is the Polish word for mushrooms.

Mushroom gathering in Poland is a National pastime and has been in the past, a source of food and income for many.

Mushrooms can be dried, pickled, salted and marinated.

On those damp misty days in autumn when in England people would think – what a dull day,  a Pole would wake up and think – Great, a good day for gathering mushrooms!

Most Poles think the best dried mushrooms are Boletus edulis, in Poland they are called borowik, prawdzik or prawdziwek(translates as the real thing!), in Italy porcini and I try and use these whenever I can.

Packets of dried mushroom in England tend to be 25g or 30g and can be of mixed types.

My father knew all about mushrooms but never really passed the knowledge on to me – mainly because of the limited availbility of transport to suitable woods around where we lived in Lancashire.

On my first visit to Poland I did go to Białowieża forest and went with a guide and collected lots of mushrooms including chanterelles which in Poland are called kurki.

Dried mushrooms feature in many Polish dishes including ones made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve.

Nowadays, the common field mushroom – Agaricus bisporus – is produced on a huge scale and makes up a large part of commercial mushroom production with Poland being the 3rd biggest producer in Europe, following Italy and The Netherlands.

Mushroom soup in olden days was nearly always made with just dried mushrooms.

I make my soup with both dried and fresh mushrooms.

As with all soups the quantities do not have to be exact.

You can make your own vegetable stock or use cubes or powder.

 

 

Ingredients

25-30g of dried mushrooms – Boletus edulis are good.

250g of fresh mushrooms  – chestnut type are good.

Around 125ml of soured cream

1 onion – diced

Butter to fry the onion

1 – 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – can be from power or a cube (I use Marigold bouillon)

2 tablespoon of cornflour – optional

Salt & Pepper to taste

Chopped Flat-leaf parsley or chives to garnish

 

 

 

 

Method

Start the night before by preparing the dried mushrooms.

Put the dried mushrooms in a jug or bowl and add around 250ml of boiling water.

Leave the mushrooms overnight.

Strain the mushrooms from most of the liquor – saving this for later.

Chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces.

Gently simmer the mushrooms in a little of the liquor for about 5 minutes.

Gently fry the diced onion in some butter till they are golden.

Seperate the caps from the stalks of the fresh mushrooms.

Thinly slice the fresh mushroom caps  – if the caps are large cut the slices into 2 or 3.

Optional

If the stalks are not too “woody”  – chop them into very small pieces  – otherwise discard them.

Add the mushrooms to the onions, mix and fry gently.

Into a large pan or stockpot, add the onions and mushroom, the re-constituted mushrooms and the liquor from the soaked mushrooms and mix well.

Add the  vegetable stock and bring the mixture to the boil, then cover with a lid and leave to simmer.

You could put the pot into a low oven around GM2 – 150°C.

Allow to simmer for a couple of hours.

Add the soured cream and stir gently – check for seasoning.

or

Mix the cornflour with some of the soured cream, add and stir to thicken, then add the rest of the soured cream.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley or chives to serve.

 

 

 

 

Served on Royal Doulton  – Carnation – 1982 – 1998  &  Queen Anne side plates – pattern name unkown.

Potatoes – po nelsońsku

Po nelsońsku  –  in Lord Nelson’s style –  is when mushrooms and soured cream are added to the sauce. (I have not been able to discover why this name is used.)

In the traditional version of this dish, dried mushrooms are used and are soaked overnight.

I have also made a version with dried and fresh mushrooms.

Floury potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper are the best for this dish.

Packets of dried mushroom in England tend to be 25g or 30g and I have used a full packet for the recipe (you can use more).

The best dried mushrooms are Boletus edulis, in Poland they are called borowik or prawdzik, in Italy porcini.

Ingredients

1 kg of floury potatoes

10 -15g of dried mushrooms

2 onions

60ml of soured cream

250 ml of milk for soaking the mushrooms & 125ml (or more) for the sauce

100g of butter for frying the onions & the sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons of plain flour

Salt & pepper

 

Method

Start the night before by preparing the mushrooms. Put the mushrooms in a jug or bowl and add around 250ml of boiling water. When this has cooled add around 250ml of milk.

Leave the mushrooms overnight.

Alternately you could start this very early in the morning and make the dish in the evening.

Boil the potatoes till nearly cooked and leave them to cool.

Slice the potatoes into around 2cm thick slices.

Strain the mushrooms from most of the liquor – saving this for the sauce.

You can chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces if you want.

Gently simmer the mushrooms in a little of the liquor for about 5 minutes.

Make a sauce by first melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, add the flour, stir together with a wooden spoon and gently cook until you have a thick roux.

Slowly add the liquor from the soaked mushrooms and mix and heat till you have a thick sauce.

Add more milk if needed – you want a very thin pouring sauce.

Then add the soured cream and mix together.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C

 

 

Halve the onions and thinly slice and then fry them till golden in some butter.

Butter a deepish ovenproof glass or ceramic dish.

Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom followed by the onions, then the mushrooms, some of the sauce and finish with a top layer of potatoes.

 

Season with salt and pepper as you go along.

Pour the rest of the sauce over the top.

Depending on the size and depth of the dish you could have more layers but always start and finsh with potatoes.

Bake in the oven for at least an hour (You can lower the temperature and leave to cook for much longer).

This goes well served with roast chicken or pork.

 

Served on Royal Doulton – Tapestry  1966 – 1988

Ingredients – Version 2

This has fewer dried mushrooms & fresh mushrooms are added.

1 kg of floury potatoes

10g of dried mushrooms

100 – 150g of  fresh mushrooms (chestnut type are good)

250 ml of milk for soaking the mushrooms & 125ml (or more) for the sauce

100g of butter for frying the onions, mushrooms & the sauce

2 onions

2 to 3 tablespoons of plain flour

60ml of soured cream

Salt & pepper

Method – Version 2

Start the night before by preparing the mushrooms. Put the mushrooms in a jug or bowl and add around 250ml of boiling water. When this has cooled add around 250ml of milk.

Leave the mushrooms overnight.

Alternately you could start this very early in the morning and make the dish in the evening.

Boil the potatoes till nearly cooked and leave them to cool.

Slice the potatoes into around 2cm thick slices.

Strain the mushrooms from most of the liquor – saving this for the sauce.

You can chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces if you want.

Gently simmer the re-constituted mushrooms in a little of the liquor for about 5 minutes.

Thinly slice the fresh mushroom caps and fry them gently in butter.

 

Mix the two types of mushrooms together.

Make a sauce by first melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, add the flour, stir together with a wooden spoon and gently cook until you have a thick roux.

Slowly add the liquor from the soaked mushrooms and mix and heat till you have a thick sauce.

Add more milk if needed – you want a very thin pouring sauce.

Then add the soured cream and mix together.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 4 – 180°C

Halve the onions and thinly slice and then fry them till golden in some butter.

Butter a deepish ovenproof glass or ceramic dish.

Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom followed by the onions, then the mushrooms, some of the sauce and finish with a top layer of potatoes.

Season with salt and pepper as you go along.

Pour the rest of the sauce over the top.

Depending on the size and depth of the dish you could have more layers but always start and finsh with potatoes.

Bake in the oven for at least an hour (You can lower the temperature and leave to cook for much longer).

This goes well served with roast chicken or pork.

Version 3 – Less Expensive & Quicker

In Poland there are mushroom stock cubes which are very useful especially for making sauces.

Years ago I brought loads back to England, now you can find these in the many Polish food shops.

The ones I use are made by Knorr.  These stock cubes contain a small amount of dried mushroom extract.

 

Dissolve the stock cube im 250ml of  hot water, when this has cooled add around 250ml of milk.

Increase the amount of fresh mushrooms to 150 – 200g.

Follow the instructions as  for Version 2.

Sauerkraut & Mushrooms

Sauerkraut & Mushrooms  is often one of the dishes  for Wigilia (Christmas Eve) when meat is not eaten.

Ingredients

1 large jar  of sauerkraut – around 800 – 900g.

20 – 30g of dried mushrooms

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 onion – finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons of plain flour

Butter or oil for frying the onion

Ground black pepper

*The acidity of sauerkraut varies very much and homemade is often not as acid.

*Rinsing bottled sauerkraut before use will lower the acidity.

*The amount of  sugar  you add to the dish is a personal preference – if rinsed 1 tablespoon should be enough – if not rinsed you might need around 3 tablespoons.

Method

The evening before you want to make this dish place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water and leave them overnight.

Cut the reconstituted mushrooms into strips.

Put the strips and the liquor into a saucepan and simmer them for around 5 minutes.

Drain the sauerkraut and keep the liquid (you might want to use it to adjust the acidity of the dish).

Rinse the sauerkraut with cold water.

Place the sauerkraut in a large saucepan and pour boiling water over it until it just covers it.

Add the sugar.

Bring to the boil and then cover the saucepan with a lid and let it gently simmer for around 10  minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the sauerkraut and mix together.

Continue heating either gently on top of the stove or put the pan with the lid into a low to medium oven.

Cook until the sauerkraut is soft.

Fry the onions until they are golden.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and heat gently to brown the flour.

Add spoonfuls of liquid from the sauerkraut mixture to the onion mix.

Stir and heat to form a thickening roux/paste.

Add this to the sauerkraut mixture and mix throughly .

You can then serve this straight away or put it back in the oven for around 5 minutes.

Sprinkle ground black pepper on the top before serving.

Served here in Carnation by Royal Doulton, 1982 – 1998.

Serve with rye bread or boiled potatoes and hot roast pork or cooked Polish sausages.

For Wigilia (Christmas Eve ) this  would just be served as a seperate dish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zrazy – Meat Roll-ups

Zrazy (this word is plural) is a meat dish popular in Eastern Poland & Lithuania and can be traced back to the 16th & 17th century in the times  of the  Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569 – 1795).

(I have seen zrazy  translated as Meat Roll-ups, Meat Olives or Collops)

Classic zrazy have a rolled shape and are made of thin slices of  beef,  beaten with a mallet, which are stuffed with a variety of ingredients including  mushrooms.

You need to use beef which is good for  braising and slow cooking  –  I used a thin cut of topside and this worked very well.

 

The stuffed meat is rolled and secured with thread or thin string, then lightly fried and placed in a casserole dish with stock and slow cooked at a low temperature.

 

 

Stock

For the stock,  I  use chicken or vegetable stock (this can be from a stock cube or powder)  and add bay leaves, whole peppercorns and sometimes whole allspice.

 

 

 

Prior to serving, the threads are removed.

 

 

Zrazy are eaten with the sauce in which they were cooked, though extra ingredients can be added to this such as  soured cream, mushrooms or tomato.

You can add some cornflour to thicken the sauce.

Po nelsońsku  –  in Lord Nelson’s style –  is when mushrooms and soured cream are added to the sauce. (I have not been able to discover why this name is used.)

 

 

Here served on Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998

Zrazy are often served with buckwheat or boiled potatoes, and beetroot or sauerkraut salad.

Classic Ingredients for the Stuffing

There is no end to the variety of fillings you can use, the following are two traditional ones.

The amounts you need will vary according to how many zrazy you are filling – these are a guide to proportions.

Onions & Rye bread

1/2 slice of rye bread – made into breadcrumbs

1 onion – chopped and fried in butter till golden

1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds

Salt & pepper

You can spread a little made up mustard onto the meat first.

 

 

 

 

Dried Mushrooms

20g dried mushrooms  – add around 250ml of boiling water and soak these overnight – chop into small pieces then simmer in the liquid.

1 onion – chopped and browned in butter till golden

Add the onion to the mushrooms and continue simmering till most of the liquid is gone.

 

Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

Gołąbki – Cabbage Rolls – with Mushrooms

I have tried this out as a just vegetable variation.

In my Polish cookbooks there are many variations without meat and they use mushrooms or other vegetables and grains,  but these tend to use just dried mushrooms and often rather than rice use buckwheat or pearl barley.  Whilst these grains are maybe more traditionally Polish in style I wanted to do a recipe which would initially be more appealing to the English taste.  Also   I wanted to use mainly fresh mushrooms.

Ingredients for the filling

150 to 200g of rice

400g of mushroom caps – white and/or chestnut

Some butter to fry the mushrooms

5g of dried mushrooms (more if you desire)

A few tablespoons of boiling water

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

In a small bowl add the boiling water to the dried mushrooms , just enough to cover them, and leave overnight.

IMG_20150718_151854083
Stepped Dried Mushrooms and Chopped Fresh Mushrooms

Parboil the rice and leave to go cold. (You can use any already cooked rice you might have cooked already – it is not that critical  – it will just have a softer texture).

Finely Slice up the mushroom caps (You can chop them into smaller pieces) and fry them in the butter until they are soft. IMG_20150718_151816584_HDR

Making a Pulp of Mushrooms
Making a Pulp of Dried Mushrooms

Using a knife make a pulp of the dried mushrooms or chop them into small pieces if they have not softened enough.

Add the mushroom pulp and the liquor in which they were steeped to the frying mushrooms and continue cooking the mixture evaporating of most of the liquid or about 10 minutes.

Leave the mushrooms to cool.

In a large bowl mix the parboiled rice and mushroom mix, add salt and pepper to taste.

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Mushroom & Rice Mixture

Prepare the cabbage leaves

You need a large white cabbage or a savoy cabbage or I have now started using sweetheart cabbage  – you might need 2 of these as they are not usually so large.

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Patience is called for here to avoid getting scalded fingers. You have to heat or steam the cabbage to make the leaves pliable so you can remove them one by one and use them to encase the filling.

You need the largest pan you have into which you place the cabbage head.

I boil some water in a kettle and pour this over the cabbage in the pan. With some heat under the pan I let the cabbage cook a little. The temptation is to boil too quickly so making some of the leave too soft and runs the risk of getting scalded as you try to remove the leaves.

Another method is to place the cabbage into a metal colander and set this over the pan of water so that it is steamed rather than boiled – I think this method is the one I like best.

As the leaves become soft, you have to cut them off from the stalk and stack them up for to use later, you can cut out the thickest part of the stalk from the first few larger leaves. Pre heat the oven to GM3 – 160oC

Fill the leaves with the rice & mushroom  mix and roll them up from the stalk end, tuck in the sides and secure with the outer edge of the leaf to make a small parcel.

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Place the rolls into a large casserole dish, packing as many rolls as possible in rows in the dish. Depending on the depth of the dish repeat this for another layer.

If you have any extra cabbage leaves place these on the base of the dish and then to put extra leaves on the top of the rolls.

The rolls sometimes have a habit of getting slightly burnt on the top as they come out of the liquid and sometimes at the base if they have been in the oven a long time, these extra layers protect the rolls and can be discarded at the end.

Make a vegetable stock  and pour this over the cabbage rolls.

Ingredients for Vegetable Stock

Vegetable stock  – I like to use the Swiss  Marigold Bouillon vegetable stock powder which is in a tub mixed with boiling water

1 tube of tomato purée

2 bay leaves

3 or 4 peppercorns or allspice or both.

salt & pepper ( note there might be enough salt in the stock cube)

Mix up the stock powder in a jug with boiling water, add the tomato purée and then the rest of the ingredients. You need a large amount to cover the cabbage rolls.

Pre heat the oven to GM3 – 160oC

Cover the rolls with this liquid. It is a good idea to have extra which you can use to top up as they are cooking.

Cover with a lid and place in the oven and cook for several hours. Check them occasionally and keep them covered with liquid as much as possible.

As mentioned earlier I make these a day beforehand and then put them back in the oven for an hour or so before serving.

They are a complete meal in themselves but you can give serve them with some bread to mop up all the liquid sauce.

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Note

Wigilia – Christmas Eve

I will be writing a post all about the special meal on this day later when all the dishes are meatless.

This recipe is one dish which can be served then.

 

Gołąbki – Cabbage Rolls -with Mushroom Sauce

Cabbage Rolls in the style of Dom Polonii in Kraków.

Kraków
Kraków
Kraków
Kraków
Kraków

In Kraków, just off the main square (Rynek Główny), there is a building called Dom Polonii (The House of the Poles).  It is a medieval tenement building and hosts Chopin concerts in a lovely room with a grand piano on the first floor. I have enjoyed listening to many concerts there. On the ground floor there is a small restaurant.  On my trips to Kraków I have found that  I eat there the most as it is very reasonably priced and the food  is very much like home cooking.

They serve gołąbki there which are cooked without  tomatoes and then served with a creamy mushroom sauce.

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The following is my recreation of this recipe.

First I made the gołąbki as in my previous post but without tomato purée in the cooking stock but adding some lemon juice as this prevents the leaves from falling apart too quickly.

I will give a quick re-cap of this recipe at the end of this post.

Then I made  a mushroom sauce and served the gołąbki with this poured on the top.

Mushroom Sauce

I looked through my Polish cookbooks and many of the mushroom sauces are made with just dried mushrooms.  These are delicious and have a strong flavour however it works out very expensive and are not available everywhere.

I am going to  give instructions for a sauce using fresh mushroom and just a small amount of dried mushroom.

I will give 2 versions of this mushroom sauce, the first using dried mushrooms, the second a mushroom stock cube.

The best dried mushrooms are Boletus edulis, in Poland they are called borowik or prawdzik, in Italy porcini.

IMG_20150704_130001024

IMG_20150704_130013474

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Knorr – mushroom stock cubes

In Poland there are now mushroom stock cubes which are very useful especially for making sauces.  Years ago I brought loads back to England, now you can find these in the many Polish food shops. The ones I use are made by Knorr and are shown on the photographs in this post.  These stock cubes contain a small amount of dried mushroom extract.

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The 2 sauces have the same starting points it is the addition of reconstituted mushrooms or stock cubes for the extra taste which is the difference.

Mushroom sauce 1 – using dried mushrooms

Ingredients

150g fresh button mushroom caps – white and/or chestnut

5g of  dried mushroom (around 3 slices)

500ml hot boiling water

1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour

3 tablespoons of milk

2 large tablespoons of soured cream.

butter to cook the mushrooms in

salt & pepper to taste

Method

You have to start this sauce the night before or in the morning for use in the evening.

Cover the dried mushrooms with 500ml of boiling water and leave to soak.

 

Preparing Dried Mushrooms
Dried Mushroom in Hot Water
Dried Mushroom in Hot Water

 

 

 

 

 

The following day take out the reconstituted mushrooms and using a knife you can chop then up into tiny pieces or if the are soft enough you can  spread out the pulp on a chopping board.

Reconstituted Mushrooms
Reconstituted Mushrooms
Making a Pulp of Mushrooms
Making a Pulp of Mushrooms

Slice the mushroom caps into fine slices and fry them gently in some butter till they are soft.

Add the dried mushroom pulp and the liquor in which they were seeped.

Simmer gently for about 5 to 10 minutes.

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In a little dish mix the cornflour with the milk.

Add the cornflour mixture to the cooked mushrooms and stir gently over the heat until the sauce thickens.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and add the 2 large spoonfuls of soured cream and mix well in.

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Note

None of these amounts are exact – they are a rough guide depending on what you have – you can use more water, milk or soured cream and so on.

Mushroom sauce 2 – using a mushroom stock cube

Ingredients

150g fresh button mushroom caps – white and/or chestnut

500ml hot boiling water

1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour

3 tablespoons of milk

2 large tablespoons of soured cream.

butter to cook the mushrooms in.

note

I rarely have to add any more salt or pepper as the stock cube has enough seasoning in it.

Method 

Dissolve the stock cube in the hot water.

Preparing a Mushroom Stock Cube
Preparing a Mushroom Stock Cube

Slice the mushroom caps into fine slices and fry them gently in some butter till they are soft.

Simmer gently for about 5 to 10 minutes.

In a little dish mix the cornflour with the milk.

Add the cornflour mixture to the cooked mushrooms and stir gently over the heat until the sauce thickens.

Remove from the heat and add the 2 large spoonfuls of soured cream and mix well in.

If you can get the stock cubes then version 2 is the quickest.

Basic gołąbki recipe without tomatoes

Ingredients

1 large head of white cabbage or Savoy cabbage*

400g rice

500g of minced beef or pork

Chicken  stock – a cube or concentrate will do

salt & pepper

2 bay leaves

3 or 4 peppercorns or allspice or both

juice of 1 or 2 lemons.

*As you need whole largish cabbage leaves I sometimes use 2 cabbages to get the bigger leaves. Recently I have started to use Sweetheart cabbage which has large leaves on the outside but you will most likely need 2 of these.

Instructions from my Polish cookbook
Instructions from my Polish cookbook “bible”

You need to parboil the rice in salted water so that it is about half way to being cooked and then strain the rice and let it go cold, but if you have some plain boiled rice left from another day you could use this, as this is not critical.

In a large bowl mix the rice and minced meat and add salt and pepper. The exact amounts do not matter. I like it to look about 50/50 white and pink but these can be made with much more rice to eke out the meat available.

Next comes the hardest part and patience is called for here to avoid getting scalded fingers. You have to heat or steam the cabbage to make the leaves pliable so you can remove them one by one and use them to encase the filling.

You need the largest pan you have into which you place the cabbage head. I boil some water in a kettle and pour this over the cabbage in the pan with some heat under the pan I let the cabbage cook a little. The temptation is to boil to quickly so making some of the leave too soft and runs the risk of getting scalded as you try to remove the leaves.

Another method is to place the cabbage into a metal colander and set this over the pan of water so that it is steamed rather than boiled.

As the leaves become soft, you have to cut them off from the stalk and stack them up for to use later, you can cut out the thickest part of the stalk from the first few larger leaves.

Pre heat the oven to GM3 – 160oC

Place a small handful of the rice & meat mixture onto a cabbage leaf and roll up from the stalk end, tuck in the sides and secure with the outer edge of the leaf to make a small parcel.

 

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Place the rolls into a large casserole dish, packing as many rolls as possible in rows in the dish. Depending on the depth of the dish repeat this for another layer.

A tip I got from my late cousin, Krystyna,  is to use extra cabbage leaves on the base of the dish and then to put extra leaves on the top of the rolls.

The rolls sometimes have a habit of getting slightly burnt on the top as they come out of the liquid and sometimes at the base if they have been in the oven a long time, these extra layers protect the rolls and can be discarded at the end.

Make a large amount of stock with hot water and lemon juice and add bay leaves, peppercorns and allspice.

Cover the rolls with this liquid. It is a good idea to have extra which you can use to top up as they are cooking.

Cover with the lid and place in the oven and cook for several hours. Check them occasionally and keep them covered with liquid as much as possible.

I always think these taste better when made a day before hand and left for the liquid to seep in more and then reheated in the oven as required.

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In the style of Dom Polonii

Sprinkling some chopped dill or flat leaf parsley on the top will be even better (Sadly I did not have any  on the day of this photograph).