Vegetarian Hungarian Mushroom Soup
by Victoria Challancin
Note to Readers: Last week I got word from the terrific journalist/photographer team of Jeff Spurrier and Ann Summa that Jeff had mentioned me in reference to a blog post I did on hoja santa in a piece he did for the L.A. Times. The link to Jeff's Article is here and the blog I wrote on the plant is here. Great stuff! Thank you, Jeff!
I woke up to a total surprise today: burst pipes! After the warmest November I can remember in over 24 years here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, it was 21 degrees when I checked the thermometer this morning. Even if I hadn't checked, seeing the fried and blackened flowering vines, datura, orchid tree, and hoja santa plant told the story well enough. What to do on such a day? Make soup of course! And Mexican ponche (see my recipe here), and a dish of Southern cornbread just because I needed comfort.
I had been thinking of making this soup anyway and had the ingredients on hand. The extra cold weather just nudged me on. I had earmarked this soup some time ago from the For the Love of Cooking blog (click here for Pam's interpretation of the original Moosewood Cookbook recipe). It looked rather like a soupy version of how I make Mushroom Stroganoff, so I wanted to try it. The fact that it was vegetarian just made it perfect for my husband as well.
This soup comes together quickly and easily. I made some changes, of course, as should you to make it fit your taste. I added garlic and used plain yogurt instead of sour cream, just because I had it in the fridge. The vegetable broth I made from onion, lots of garlic, celery, carrot, orange bell pepper, and parsley. I also garnished with more fresh dill, as I happen to love it. I simplified the preparation a bit as well: instead of removing the mushrooms and preparing a roux, I simply incorporated the flour and butter into the mushroom mixture instead. This is such an easy and satisfying soup to prepare. Perfect for a chilly day. And, Dear Reader, lest you start feeling sorry for me in all this cold, I just returned from a dog walk wearing short sleeves--the temperatures are over 70 again!
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
(My interpretation of Pam's interpretation of Moosewood's original recipe)
2 tablespoons extra-virgen olive oil
1 medium-large onion (I used a white onion)
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 pound crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh dill weed, finely chopped
A large pinch of red pepper flakes (optional--my addition)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk, 2% or whole (I used whole milk)
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I used vegetable), divided use
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt (I used plain yogurt)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Parsley or additional chopped fresh dill for garnish
Yogurt for garnish, optional
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, dill, red pepper flakes, paprika, soy sauce, and 1/2 cup of broth. Stir until well combined, then cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the butter and stir until incorporated. Sprinkle with flour, stir until completely absorbed. Continue stirring the mixture, which should be thick, for 2 to 3 minutes to get rid of any raw flour taste. Add the milk and remaining broth, stirring until well combined. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Just before serving, add the lemon juice, sour cream or yogurt, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve garnished with additional yogurt and a sprinkle of either parsley or fresh dill.
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Mojigangas strolling around the Organic Market on a recent Saturday in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico