polish soup recipe

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.

 

Busha’s Beet Soup

Busha’s Beet Soup

This colorful, tasty soup, was first made for me by my Busha, my Polish grandmother. Beets are a big ingredient in Eastern European culture. My Mom cooked with them, too.

I have fond memories of spending time with my Busha. I stayed with her on weekends a few times. One of those weekends, she taught me how to make a wonderful coffee cake. I still have the index card where I wrote down the recipe as she went along making it. Busha didn’t write her recipes down much.

Another time, she made beet soup. I loved it. I think the color is what pulled me in. I was a big fan of pink back then. I still am, especially when it comes to this soup.

I prefer to use fresh, raw beets.  You can use cooked beets, or even canned, if you like.

I made homemade spaetzle, but other pasta or cooked, diced potatoes are good, too.

So here is the recipe for the soup and the spaetzle. I always think of Busha when I make it.

 

 

Busha’s Beet Soup

1 large onion, sliced thin

oil

5-6 medium beets, about 2 pounds

5-6 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock

1 c. dairy sour cream

1 t. dill weed

cooked spaetzle, recipe follows

 

In soup pot, sauté onion in oil until starting to brown. Meanwhile, peel and dice the beets. You should end up with 5-6 cups of cubed beets. Add beets and stock to pot and bring to boil. Cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook until beets are tender, about 20- 25 minutes.  Place sour cream in small bowl and ladle in a little of the hot soup, whisking until smooth. Add another ladle of soup and whisk again. Pour this mixture into pot of soup along with the dill weed. Serve with the spaetzle.  Serves 4-5.

 

Note: You can also pre-cook the beets or use canned beets. Trim off leaves of beets, leaving 2 inches of stem. Leave roots intact. Boil beets in water until tender, which can take as little as 20 minutes for tiny beets or 45 minutes for the large ones. Cool in bowl of ice water and then slip off the skins. Dice and add to soup as if the beets were canned. You don’t need the long cook of fresh beets. Just bring soup up to a simmer.

If you prefer, serve the soup with diced boiled potatoes or kluski, rather than the spaetzle.

 

You can serve the sour cream on the side, rather than incorporating it into the soup, then allow people to add a dollop of sour cream to individual bowls. Polish beet soup usually adds the sour cream and Russian style is to dollop on the top. Both versions taste good.

 

Spaetzle

3 eggs

1/2 c. half and half or evaporated milk

1/2 t. salt

1 1/2 c. flour

 

Combine all ingredients and let rest 30 minutes. Drop by small spoonfuls into boiling water. Cook until they float and puff up, about 5 minutes. Drain and serve with soups, stews, sauces or buttered.

 

 

 

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