Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Aren't these oyster and king mushrooms beautiful? They were today's impulse buy at the Asian market. Still not sure what I want to do with them yet. Got any suggestions?

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything Hungarian, and the only mushroom soup I’ve ever had is Campbell’s. I can’t even recall the last time I had that, but it was years ago to be certain. I don’t use dill very often in my cooking either. So imagine my surprise when I tasted Hungarian mushroom soup at a local cafĂ© and fell in love. Of course I had to try to reproduce it myself so did a little research. It seems that the basic components of this soup are mushrooms, dill, paprika, and sour cream. Pretty easy, huh?

Like most soups, this one gets better if made ahead, probably because the mushrooms have time to release all that natural umami. I planned to serve this at Christmas dinner with friends, but that got canceled due to the crazy snow we had. I stuck it in the freezer and served it on New Year’s Eve instead. It was so delicious! So feel free to make it head and freeze whatever you can’t eat for a quick meal another day. Smart, huh?

You'll notice I used a medley of dried mushrooms. I realize they are quite costly (Costco does have them for a reasonable price), so feel free to omit the dried ones and use an extra half pound of fresh mushrooms (any type, but a mix will give a better flavor). It will probably seem like a lot of mushroom relative to the liquid, but they cook down quite a bit.

Another thing, don't worry if the soups ends up being more brown than orange. When I made this soup a second time, it was more brown. Another reader also made this soup and it was also brown. However, the flavor was still fine.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Adapted from a gazillion recipes
Feeds 6 (or more if serving small bowls)
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered or sliced
  • 1 oz dried mushrooms (I used a mix of different kinds for a more complex flavor)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 handful fresh dill, chopped (use as much as you’d like)
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs Hungarian paprika (any mild paprika will do)
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 6 cups chicken stock (substitute any part with mushroom liquid from rehydrating dried mushrooms; I used about 2 to 3 cups)
  • fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • sour cream, for serving
  • fresh dill, for garnish (optional)

Start by rehydrating the dried mushrooms in hot water until soft. Fish out the mushrooms, squeezing out some of the water and strain the liquid to use in the soup. I did this using cheesecloth.

In a large pot over low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and paprika to make a roux. Cook for a few minutes, stirring to prevent it from burning. Whisk in the hot milk, then turn up the heat a little. Allow to cook until the mixture thickens, which will probably take 5 minutes or so. Stir it frequently. Once it thickens up, add the mushrooms, shallot, garlic, chopped dill and the stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup up to a boil, then allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes. It will be thin, but don’t worry, it gets creamier when you puree it. Turn off the heat and let it sit for about another 30 minutes, until it’s cooled enough to blend. If it seems too thick after you blend it, thin it out with more stock, then add the lemon and readjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill, if desired.

I’m submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, the blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks to spotlight a theme ingredient. The host this round is Palachinka and the ingredient this time is mushroom! There's still one more day to submit an entry! Send your submission to palachinkablog(at)gmail(dot)com by 11:59 January 4th. Check out who’s hosting if you want to participate in the future.


Wandering Chopsticks said...

Ooh, I still have some spices my cousin had sent me from Hungary. I should make this soup. I should post my mushroom recipe too! I'm so bad and it's my own blogging event!

test it comm said...

This is one of my favorite soups!

Manggy said...

Ooh, yum. Now I know what winter is like, all of this is starting to make sense to me LOL :) A broth-based soup, pizza, or duxelle would be great for those mushrooms (I think) :)

Sarah said...

I love mushrooms. Love them. This soup sounds wonderful! Happy New Year!

Dee said...

WC, I'm bad too! One of my new year's resolutions is to not be such a procrastinator, but as you can see, I'm off to a rocky start :-)

Kevin, I very much enjoyed this soup too. I was surprised at how well the dill went with the earthy mushrooms.

Manggy, I'm thinking soup as well. Maybe some Korean or Japanese??

Sarah, it beats Campbell's for sure :-) Happy new year to you too!

TS of eatingclub vancouver said...

I love this: "Adapted from a gazillion recipes." LOL. ;D

Dee said...

ts, wouldn't want to leave anyone out, so it's just easier to give credit to everyone! I also forgot to add Mollie Katzen, author of Moosewood Cookbook :-)

Anonymous said...

This looks like a wonderful winter soup - very warming and comforting without being overly heavy.

Dee said...

fearless kitchen, You're right! I think the roux method keeps it "lighter". Yet it's still quite hearty.

Paula said...

Oh man, I would love a bowl of this soup. I was planning on making carrot soup tomorrow, but now I want this! I bet that pound of dry mushrooms adds some really lovely flavors to this soup. This sounds and looks so delicious. Your photo is great! I find it so hard to photography soup/food in bowls. Happy New Year!

Langdon Cook said...

Very nice looking soup. Being a 'shroom geek, I'll have to give it a try. BTW, I'm not familiar with king mushrooms--are they an Asian import? I expect a medley of dried porcini and morels would be just the ticket for this. Nice to have oysters year-round now in the markets. Love the blog.


Dee said...

Finny, Thanks for stopping by! I'd never seen the kings before but I couldn't resist. Yes, the were imported. I can't get quality local mushrooms until my farmer's market opens in may and it might not be until june before the mushroom guy comes around! The dried mushrooms work beautifully and I usually use those for most cooking.

pigpigscorner said...

Wow yummy! I love mushroom soups!

Heather said...

You should make a cheese and mushroom tart. It uses store-bought puff pastry for extra ease.

And Mark's suggestion of duxelle is good too. The king oysters are as cheap as white buttons, so you may as well! And the duxelle is perfect for a Wellington (also a use for the other half of the puff pastry).

Langdon Cook said...

DP, I posted a comment under my most recent entry on FOTL that you might be interested in as a 'shroomhead...

Laurie Constantino said...

What a great soup recipe - there's a local Anchorage restaurant that makes a really good version, but this sounds even better.

Dee said...

finspot, I will check it out!

Laurie, thank you. Can't go wrong with this type of soup if you like mushrooms.

Anonymous said...

hi:-) i am a hungarian. we usually do not blend this soup but put some butter-noodle into it. (butter, egg, flour, salt, blend with a fork, it has to be 3 times harder then pancake batter and put into the boiling soup with a teaspoon or smaller) we call this noodle: vajgaluska. and the soup: gombaleves.
(i like this blended version, so i'll try it soon!)

Dee said...

timi, thank you for the information. when I looked around the internet, it seemed like some people did and some people didn't blend the soup so I wasn't sure. I just went with my preference. Good to know about the butter noodles (we'd call them dumplings). That might come in handy in other soups too.