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 café 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.