After all the Thanksgiving leftovers have been polished off, and before the Christmas holiday treats began, there is nothing I love more for dinner than a simple bowl of hot soup with some bread, and Hungarian Mushroom Soup fits the bill perfectly. One of our favorite restaurants when the girls were little was Old Wives’ Tales in northeast Portland (because of their very fun kids’ playroom), and our favorite meal there was a trip to the soup and salad bar for bowls of Hungarian mushroom soup, cornbread and salad. It wasn’t until we’d had this several times that I learned the recipe was one I already had at home.
The recipe comes from the original Moosewood Cookbook, written by Molly Katzen and published back in 1977. It was one of the first vegetarian cookbooks I owned, and one of the few I have held onto through the years. I still love to look through the book and read the recipes, written in hand by Molly and accompanied by her sweet illustrations. Moosewood Cookbook was revised in 1992 to include lower fat versions of the recipes.
Mushrooms can be expensive, but this is one of those ingredients that I typically buy at an ethnic market because their prices are usually so much lower than regular supermarkets, and they usually also have a great variety. I’ve noticed though that several stores now sell bags of pre-sliced mushrooms that don’t cost very much, so that would also work to keep this soup affordable. I like to mix up the mushrooms when I can, and will add portobello, cremini (which are baby portobello), shiitake, regular white and others, depending on the price, but it’s also great made with just one type.
As I’ve noted in the recipe, you can use lower fat versions of the milk and sour cream, but I don’t think it tastes as good, and this is one recipe where I prefer to use the regular or full-fat versions of those products. Our favorite accompaniment with this soup remains fresh, hot cornbread and a tossed salad.
HUNGARIAN MUSHROOM SOUP
2 TBSP butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 to 2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp salt
2 – 3 tsp dried dill (r 2 -3- TBSP fresh minced dill)
1 TBSP mild paprika
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 TBSP flour
2 cups water
1 cup milk (can be lowfat) at room temperature
black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup sour cream (can be reduced fat variety, but regular works best)
finely minced parsley, for the top
Melt the butter in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onions, and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt, dill and paprika. Stir well and cover, cook for about 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice.
Gradually sprinkle in the flour while stirring constantly. Cook and stir another 5 minutes or so over medium-low heat. Add water, cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add milk and black pepper to taste. Whisk in the sour cream, and heat very gently, making sure it doesn’t boil. Serve hot, topped with fresh minced parsley.
(Photo credit: http://www.eatingstumptown.com/)