Friday, May 20, 2011

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Expensive hobby....Cooking...but it is my passion and my joy. There is nothing I love more than finding a recipe, challenging myself to prepare it even better and sharing it with the people I really love and care about. Isn't that the pinnacle of satisfaction? Giving people pleasure?

When tasked to create a recipe with mushrooms as a main ingredient, you MUST always select a variety of three. Typically use: Crimini (FYI----crimini mushrooms are nothing more than baby portabellas for those who do not know), white, and portabella....but oyster is a good substitute. I MUST interject here that my good friend Olga states that mushrooms have no nutritional value. Whether they are or not nutritionally sound, I don't care because I personally love the taste of them. If I submit a dish to you here that may not be nutritionally sound, I will not be held accountable because I really do thrive on taste and presentation; both are prevalent in this dish.

For those who do not really know me, I am a creature of habit. I arrive at work ALWAYS between 6:45 and 7:00 a.m., silverware placed in the dishwasher must be sorted by utensil, spices in the cabinet are alphabetized for ease in locating them, self check-out at the grocery store is preferred because I place veggies and fruits in the same bag....eggs and bread in the other, cheese must always be labeled with dates and put in a separate drawer from other meats and veggies. There are just some things in my life I MUST have control over.

Where was I going with this? Oh Yes! now I remember! Gulliver's Books on College Blvd. in Fairbanks. As a creature of habit, I occupy this space almost every Saturday morning when they first open. I am usually the first customer at the door and immediately climb the stairs to peruse the shelves for titles to purchase to offer up to my students and sometimes sample their delicious fare at the Second Story Cafe. Food prepared here is fresh, from scratch, and is healthy and authentic! On Friday this week I had the Greek Salad and a cup of the Hungarian Mushroom Soup. Wow! I have heard great reviews about this soup and had to try it. Thank you Gulliver's for sharing the process (added the link). They do not give proportions or exact ingredients, but I think I ferreted out the secrets.

The determined chef in me went immediately to the store, purchased my top three shrooms: crimini, white and portabella (thanks Mr. Kowalski for that tip with your Mushroom Ragu) and graced the shelves of the organic section for portabella mushroom stock. I knew a main ingredient of this recipe was white onions, butter and sour cream so I made sure the basket included those ingredients.

Without further is a great recipe for Hungarian Mushroom Soup. Please do visit the link to Gulliver's Books. They are huge advocates of education.

1/4 Cup unsalted butter
1 large white onion, sliced YOU WANT THESE CHUNKY---kind of like French Onion Soup
1 lb mixed mushrooms (I use a combination of three varieties), ROUGH want them chunky
2 tsp. dried dill weed (ha! I used dill weed from my last year's organic herb garden)
1 TBSP. paprika
1 TBSP. soy sauce
1 box of Portabella Mushroom Broth (find this in the organic section of the store)
1 cup fat free half and half
3 TBSP flour
1 tsp. kosher salt (be careful here...I personally think shrooms and salt have a love/hate relationship) kind of like slugs and salt...not a good mix
Fresh ground pepper to taste (and I love my tri-color peppercorn grind)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup sour cream

Melt the butter and add onions to saute for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes. Add dill weed, paprika, soy sauce and portabella mushroom stock. Simmer for 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

In a separate bowl, combine half and half and flour. Slowly pour into mushroom mixture to thicken.

The last step: Stir in the salt, pepper, lemon juice, parsley and sour cream. Allow this to heat through for about 5 minutes. IMPORTANT: Do not boil!

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