mushroom

Busha’s Mushroom Soup

Busha’s Mushroom Soup

Since I decided to share some of my Mother’s favorite recipes this week, I had to include this soup.  Sharing this family recipe with other people makes me happy. My Busha (Polish Grandmother)  and my Mother both made this soup. They would be pleased to know that someone is still making it.

There are many variations of mushroom soup in Eastern European culture. Some have barley, others add sauerkraut. This is my family’s version. Plenty of mushrooms in rich stock, slightly thickened, and made creamy with the addition of sour cream. Ours is served with kluski noodles.

This soup is a tradition in my family. When I was a kid, my Busha would make it every Easter. My Mom made it for Christmas Eve. Now my niece makes it, and we have it the day before Thanksgiving.

It is one of those dishes that brings back so many wonderful childhood memories. I love the rich, earthy flavor of the mushrooms, and the slightly sweet/sour flavor of the broth. It is made with dried mushrooms, usually. I can  remember watching my mom get out a big bowl and soaking the mushrooms to get them clean, and to soften them, before starting the soup.

I use dried shiitake mushrooms, but often add fresh mushrooms as well. Sometimes I use other dried mushrooms, too. I like to have a variety of mushrooms  in the soup. I use chicken stock. If made with vegetable stock, it could make a great meatless meal.

 

 

Busha’s  Mushroom Soup

 

4 qt. Chicken, beef or vegetable stock

5 c. dried mushrooms, about 4 0z. I use Shiitake.*

Water for soaking

½ c. flour

1 pint sour cream

¼ c. balsamic vinegar

2 T. sugar

1 Lb. Kluski-style noodles, cooked and drained

 

Soak mushrooms in water for 1-2 hours.  Lift mushrooms carefully out to leave any sand in the bowl of water. Rinse and drain. Set aside.  Bring stock to a boil and add the mushrooms. Simmer, covered for about 1½ hours, or until mushrooms reach desired tenderness. Mushrooms will retain some “chewiness”.  In medium bowl whisk sour cream into flour gradually until smooth. Stir in vinegar and sugar until smooth.  Add a small amount of the hot soup to the sour cream mixture, whisking until smooth.  Continue adding hot soup to the sour cream mixture until sour cream mixture is warm. Add the warm mixture to the pot of soup and stir to combine. Return to simmer and simmer 1 minute, stirring continuously.   Place desired amount of kluski into bowls and ladle over the hot soup. Serves12.

Note:  You can add a variety of fresh mushrooms to the soup to make it even more special. You might use portabellas; crimini, button or whatever mushrooms are at the store that day. Add in addition to the dry mushrooms; don’t reduce the amount of shiitakes.

You can use other cooked pasta. Mom said you might want to try spaetzels or even gnocchi. You might also need more than one pound of kluski, depending on how much pasta your family likes in their soup.

*The dried shiitake mushrooms can be found at specialty grocery stores, some larger grocery stores and at Asian markets.

 

Cheesy Portobello “Burgers”

Portobello Mushroom "Burger"

Portobello Mushroom “Burger”

I had a chance to have a friend over for lunch. She is vegetarian. Neither of us had a lot of time so I wanted something fast and easy. I had a couple of portobello mushroom caps in the fridge so I used them as my starting point. I also had some whole wheat buns so a sandwich felt like the right choice. I don’t like to use the word burger. Burgers for me will always be meat, but it did end up pretty close. The flavors, appearance and feeling was pretty burger-like, if not a true burger.

I started by  cooking some sliced onion in oil adding salt, pepper and some hot sauce. While the onions were cooking I rinsed the mushroom caps and gave them a drizzle of lemon-infused olive oil and white wine vinegar. Also gave them a dash of salt and some Italian seasoning. I would say I marinaded them, but seriously, it was for 10 minutes while the onions were cooking. Once the onions were getting almost caramelized I added the mushrooms to the pan with the liquids I had been soaking them in. I let them cook, turning a few times, until they were cooked and browning a little. By then most of the liquid in the pan was gone.

The biggest challenge with cooking any mushroom is water. They are full of it. To get a truly strong mushroom flavor you need to get that water out and intensify the mushroom’s flavor. Don’t be afraid to let them cook long enough for that to happen.

I finished the mushrooms off with a couple of slices of sharp white cheddar cheese. I also toasted the buns. To serve it I placed the cheesy mushrooms on the buns and topped each with some of the onions. It was a lunch I would make again, even for my non-vegetarian friends.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

The cold winter this year has really got me craving comfort foods. Also have a real taste for some childhood favorites. My mother used to make some really good quiches. Always a home made crust. I used what I had on hand the other day to whip up this quiche. Thought of her when I made it.

 

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

1 unbaked pie crust

1 T. oil

1 small onion, chopped

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

salt and pepper to taste

1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

4 oz. diced Swiss Cheese

2 T. flour

1 c. milk or half and half

3 eggs, beaten

In skillet saute onion in oil until tender. Add mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach and set aside. In 9-inch pie pan place the crust. Toss cheese with the flour and place in crust. Add the spinach mixture. Combine milk with the eggs and pour over the spinach mixture. Place pan on a baking sheet to collect any drips and place in a preheated 400 degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes then turn down over to 325 and continue baking until quiche is firm near the middle, about 25-30 minutes more. To test for “doneness” insert a butter knife about an inch from the center of the quiche. If it comes out clean the quiche is done. Serves 4-6.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

 

 

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