Keeping with my soup kick, I next tried this Hungarian Mushroom Soup recipe. I like mushrooms more than I like broccoli, but still don’t incorporate them into my diet as much as I’d like so whipping up a big batch of soup to freeze makes it quick and easy. I’ll admit that I’m starting to crave the Loaded Baked Potato Soup I made last Spring and am having to hold myself back: I’m trying very hard to get my old climbing physique back after a semester of balancing work with classes put pudge on places it’s never been before. We’ll ignore, for the moment, that I cannot afford an indoor climbing pass this winter and thus cannot get a “climber’s physique” exactly, but I’m shooting for as close as I can get between the gym, yoga, and absolutely killer Tracy Anderson muscle routines (Hollywood froofroo or no, this gal makes some serious exercises!).
Hungarian Mushroom Soup (adapted from Eating Well, February 2011)
1 T EVOO
1½ lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, diced
3 T AP flour
2 T paprika, preferably Hungarian *
2 T dried dill
4 C mushroom or reduced-sodium beef broth
1 C water
1 C Half & Half
1½ lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
¾ t salt
reduced-fat sour cream for garnish as desired
* Note: source recipe describes Hungarian paprika as having a “fuller, richer flavor than regular paprika”. I was looking forward to finding and using the authentic spice, but was out of luck. Is anyone familiar with Hungarian paprika and can attest to its superiority?
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed sauce pan over Medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates (10 – 15 minutes). I cheated and drained the liquid off after there was still a substantial amount 15 minutes in.
- Reduce heat to Medium and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 more minutes or until the mushrooms are very soft. Then add flour, paprika, and dill and cook – still stirring – for about 15 seconds before pouring in the broth, water, and Half & Half. Add potatoes, cover, and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat as needed to maintain a “lively simmer” and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender (about 5 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir in salt. For a thicker, creamier soup use an immersion blender at this point (or blend batches in an upright blender) to cream about half of the veggies leaving a good number of chunks still whole.
- As soup is served add a dollop of sour cream on top for garnish if desired.
I’m not entirely sure what makes this soup “Hungarian” besides the use of Hungarian paparika (if you can get your hands on some) and the very generous dose of dill, but it has a great flavor unlike any other cream of mushroom soups I’ve had before. There’s a subtle smokiness which must be the paprika and the mushrooms really shine with the dill and potato combo.
I used a mixture of three different kinds of mushrooms. I figured different kinds will add a depth of flavor no matter what the mix and, luckily, they were delicious! Munching on slices of all three – crimini, white, and shiitake – during prep, I discovered I liked the lighter but firmer taste of the raw shittake mushrooms the best and preferred the stronger flavor of crimini over white even though the two are very similar.
What kind of mushrooms do you like the best and why? Are some better for soups than others? I know shiitake and enoki are commonly used in soups, especially in Japan. Portobellos are a great meat substitute and white button ‘shrooms are the fungi of choice for American pizzas…but that’s about it. Any advice?
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥