This soup is a relic from the days when I was cooking my way through the old Moosewood Cookbook. I lived in a vegan interest house in college, so I was pretty limited in what I could make – almost everything from Moosewood has cheese AND butter in it. So when I’d fly out to visit J, my then-fiancé, we’d spend much of our time furiously cooking up all the stuff we didn’t normally get (in my case, dairy – in his case, almost anything that wasn’t spaghetti). Some of those recipes we never made again (looking at you, Almond Soup) and others are still in our repertoire thirteen years later, if somewhat modified.
Like many Moosewood recipes, I find the basic concept of this soup to be the important part, so I usually open the cookbook to the correct page, glance at the ingredient list, and then make it how I want. Here’s my personal version of Hungarian Mushroom Soup, adjusted for a carnivorous household.
Hungarian Mushroom Beef Soup
- 1 big bag’s worth of button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 pound beef stew meat
- chicken or beef broth (at least a pint – more if you’ve got it to spare)
- 2 tsp dill
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- salt & pepper
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream (or less)
- lemon juice
Heat a bit of oil in a large soup pot, and sear the beef in batches until nicely brown. Set aside. Add mushrooms to the pot and cook until they release their liquid and begin to brown. Season them with salt, dill, paprika and pepper, then add the meat and the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let stew for an hour.
While that’s cooking, make the roux: in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. When it foams, add the flour and whisk until smooth. When that’s cooked a bit, add milk and whisk thoroughly to get rid of any lumps. Let it simmer for a while, stirring throughout, until it’s thickened up nicely. Scrape it all into the soup pot and stir it up well. Add water or more broth if necessary.
When the meat is tender, add a bit of lemon juice and adjust spices to taste, then stir in as much sour cream as you can bear to. I sometimes add some frozen chopped spinach, as well.
Obviously, this is pretty rich, even if you scale back or leave out the sour cream. Serve in modest quantities with good bread and, perhaps, some bitter salad greens.