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.


Pumpkin Bisque

Pumpkin Bisque

Pumpkin Bisque

What’s in a name? When I make this soup I actually almost never use pumpkin. Every Fall I stock up on Winter squashes like butternut, acorn, Hubbard and more. A few pumpkins, too. Eventually I cut them up and roast them. Once cooled they are pureed and frozen to use throughout the year. Pretty much any package I pull out of the freezer is as likely squash as pumpkin. I am not sure it really matters. I love butternut and Hubbard the most of the winter squashes, but in this soup any of the squash or pumpkins add a similar sweetness that works. The soup is easy to make and takes almost no time at all. Great for when you need something to warm you up – fast.


Pumpkin Bisque

2 T. butter
¼ c. chopped onion
½ t. ginger
1 T. flour
2 c. cooked pumpkin
2 c. chicken broth
2 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté butter, onion and ginger. Stir in flour. Add pumpkin and cook 5 minutes. Add broth and milk and stir often until heated through. Adjust seasonings. Serves 4-6.

Roasted Curry Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Curry Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Curry Cauliflower Soup

This may be one of my favorite soups yet. Creamy and flavorful it was a big hit at dinner last night. This recipe was inspired by what I had on hand and a dinner planned with friends. It started with this enormous cauliflower I had picked up at a produce market. I knew I wanted to use it. I had thought of just roasting it and having it as a side. I also knew we needed a soup for dinner. Ended up roasting the cauliflower anyway but using it as part of the soup.  Added other veggies for color as well as flavor. I also made sure to get it really smooth. I used an immersion blender but it could have been processed in a blender.  We topped it with croutons, but it could be served without, if you prefer.



Roasted Curry Cauliflower Soup

3 onions, peeled and sliced
1 large cauliflower, cut into flowerets
3 T. oil
6 c. stock- chicken or veggie- or more if needed
2 medium or 1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can ( 13.5 oz.) coconut milk
1 c. half and half- or more coconut milk, if you prefer
2 T. curry powder
2 t. turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Place onions in and cauliflower in roasting pan and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle on some salt and place in oven. Roast until veggies are turning golden brown, stirring occasionally. This will take about 20-30 minutes. Place cauliflower mixture in a crock pot and add the stock and other vegetables and cook on high for at least 4 hours. Add remaining ingredients and puree soup until smooth. Adjust seasonings. You can add more stock if soup is too thick. Serve as is or top with croutons when serving. Serves 6-8.

Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup

Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup

Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup

When there are fresh tomatoes to be had I must admit to eating most of them on sandwiches or in salads. But this soup is also a favorite of mine. It is so tasty and quick to make, too. The recipe calls for 3 medium tomatoes but I will sometimes toss in an extra one. The color always comes out sort of orange and reminds me of butternut squash soup in appearance. The flavor, however, is pure tomato and really nice. I even make it when the weather warms up and just serve the soup cold. I have used milk, half and half and even almond milk on occasion and all of them still came out wonderful.


Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup

3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 rib celery, chopped fine
pinch of cloves
1 small bay leaf
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
1 t. salt
3 c. milk

Peel and chop tomatoes. Place tomatoes in saucepan with onion, celery, cloves and bay leaf. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and cover, simmering 15 minutes. Melt butter in a large saucepan then stir in flour and salt. Cook mixture until bubbly. Add milk and cook until thickened stirring constantly. Remove bay leaf from tomato mixture. Puree tomato mixture through strainer, food mill or in a blender or processor. Add to milk mixture and heat through. Serves 3-4.

Beet and Tomato Soup

Beet and Tomato Soup

Beet and Tomato Soup

I had a bunch of fresh beets in my fridge and since it’s a little cool today I thought I’d make soup with them. I took inspiration from what I had on hand including onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Adding the tomatoes was a last minute decision and it worked out really well. The tomatoes added just the right amount of tartness/sweetness.  I didn’t add the dollop of sour cream I would normally add. It would make a nice topper for the soup, though. Here is the recipe. It was a small bunch of beets so I just made a small batch of soup, but it could easily be doubled.


Beet and Tomato Soup

1 bunch beets, about 1 lb.


1 onion, chopped

3-4 c. stock- I used chicken

1 potato, cubed

2-3 medium tomatoes, peeled and cubed

1 t. dill

salt and pepper to taste

Wash beets and trim leaving about 1 inch of the stem attached. Reserve greens.  Place beets in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove beets and cool in cold water until you can handle them. While beets are cooling, cook onion in oil until tender. Peel and cube the beets. Add to the onions along with the stock, potatoes and tomatoes and cook until veggies are tender, about 15 minutes. Rinse and chop up about 1 cup of the beet greens and add them to the soup along with the dill. Cook until greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve. Serves 3-4.


Basque Soup

Basque Soup

Basque Soup

We made this soup in class last night. This is a vegetarian soup that should satisfy most carnivores. It is made with butter beans, tomatoes, corn and onions. Add vegetable broth and some milk and you have a rich and filling bowl of soup in no time at all. You can also make this soup vegan- we did in class last night- by using almond  milk in place of the dairy milk.

Basque Soup

1 c. chopped onions

1 1/2 c. chopped celery

1/4 c. oil

1/4 c. flour

3 c. milk*

1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can whole kernel corn, undrained

3-4 cans butter beans, drained and rinsed

3-4 cups water and 1T. paste-type vegetable soup base

or 3-4 cups vegetable broth

pepper to taste

hot pepper sauce to taste

shredded mild cheese, optional

 Sauté onions and celery in oil until tender. Stir in flour until smooth and add milk, stirring to keep lumps from forming. Stir over medium heat until milk has thickened and begins to boil. Stir constantly as mixture simmers for an additional minute or two. Add remaining ingredients, except cheese and bring up to a simmer. Adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, if desired. Serves 8-10.

Note: You can use almond, rice or soy milk in place of the dairy milk, if you like.

Pantry Vegetable Soup

Pantry Vegetable Soup

Pantry Vegetable Soup

I’ve been using stuff up and not going to the grocery store for almost 3 months now. Sometimes it takes some creative thinking to put an interesting meal together. When in doubt I can always make a good pot of soup. Soup comes easy to me. I grew up with a Mom who really knew how to make great soup. Can’t make a pot of soup without remembering her. I wanted to make a vegetable soup today so I looked around to see what I had on hand and ended up with this. Started with the basics, onion, celery, carrots. Then I added home canned tomatoes and pinto beans. Threw in some dried zucchini and dried mushrooms, too. I had a little  broccoli in the freezer so I tossed that in as well. Some basil from the freezer, dried herbs and some other seasonings and it was good to go. Here is the recipe but this is the sort of soup that can be adjusted according to what you have around.

Pantry Vegetable Soup 

2 T. oil

1 onion, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 ribs celery, sliced

1 c. chopped cabbage

3 cloves minced garlic

1 pint jar canned tomatoes- or a 14.5 oz. can

6 c. water

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained- I used a p[int jar of home canned beans

1/2 c. dried mushrooms

1/2 c. sliced dried zucchini

2 T. vegetable soup base – I use home made-

1 c. chopped broccoli

salt and pepper to taste

hot sauce to taste

dried and frozen herbs to taste- I used Tuscan seasoning and a frozen cube of basil with olive oil.

Heat oil in soup pot and add the onion, cooking until golden. Add remaining ingredients, except the herbs, and cook, covered, until veggies are tender and dried veggies are re-hydrated. This will take about 30 minutes. Add herbs and let simmer 10 minutes longer. Adjust seasonings and serve. Serves 4-6.

Spiced Split Pea and Rice Soup

Spice Split Pea Soup with Rice

Spice Split Pea Soup with Rice

I made this soup the other night and a friend requested I share the recipe. I like it because the split peas are cooked until tender- but not cooked to mush. With the addition of spices like cinnamon and cardamom it has a wonderful flavor and is pretty quick to make. This is a vegetarian version, but feel free to use chicken stock, if you prefer.

Spiced Split Pea and Rice Soup

1 c. dried split peas, green or yellow

3 c. water

2 c. chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

2 bay leaves

1/2 t. each cumin, cinnamon and cardamom

1/4 t. cayenne, or more to taste

2 c. vegetable stock

2 t. lemon juice

1/2 c. cooked rice

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c. chopped parsley or cilantro

Rinse peas and cook them in the water until tender, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cook onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the spices and cook 5-10 minutes longer, being careful not to burn them. Add this to the peas along with the rest of the ingredients and heat through. Adjust seasonings and serve. Serves 4.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

I love this soup. I’ve had different versions over the years but they all have those wonderful little meatballs in common. This recipe came from the mother of my best friend when I was a kid. I still have her handwritten copy in a file. Every time I make this soup I think of Rose.




Italian Wedding Soup


 3/4 lb. ground beef or a mixture of beef, pork and veal or turkey

1 egg, beaten

1/4 c. dry bread crumbs

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

1 T. dried parsley or 3 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. garlic powder or 2 cloves of minced garlic

1/4 t. each pepper and dried oregano

1 T. oil


8 c. chicken stock, not too salty

1 c. thin sliced carrots

1 c. thin sliced celery

1/2 c. thin sliced green onions

1/2 t. dried basil or 1 1/2 t. fresh chopped

1/2 c.  uncooked small pasta or broken spaghetti

1/2 lb. escarole or kale cut in thin strips

To make meatballs combine all ingredients except the oil and form into 50 tiny balls. Sauté in oil until browned on all sides. Drain. In large saucepan combine broth with vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered 10 minutes. Add basil, pasta, meatballs and escarole or kale and simmer 10 minutes longer. Serves 6-8.

Note: you can use spinach instead, but add for last 5 minutes of cooking.

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

This is one of the dishes we had in class last night. Great night for soup. It’s an easy soup to make and full of flavor. I like to serve it with hot sauce on the side for those who want a spicier soup.

Tortilla Soup

1 onion, sliced thin

1 T. oil

6 c. chicken stock

1/2 -3/4 c. salsa

2 T. chopped cilantro

1/2 t. cumin

2 c. diced cooked chicken

8 small or 4 large tortillas

Heat oil in soup pot and cook onion until tender. Add stock, salsa and seasonings and simmer, covered 10 minutes. Add chicken and heat through. Meanwhile roll tortillas up tightly one at a time and cut cross wise into 1/2-inch wide strips. Divide strips among 4 bowls and ladle in the soup in the bowls. Serves 4.

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