Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hungarian Mushroom Soup for Souper Sundays

Many moons ago, when I lived in Portland, my roommate and I would go to Old Wives' Tales, a casual, funky, reasonably priced restaurant with a huge variety of options.  They have many vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. menu items and list out the ingredients so you know exactly what is in them. We went often to have their salad and soup bar for lunch, dinner and take out but we went mostly for their Hungarian Mushroom Soup, an impossibly pink and delicious blend of mushrooms and sour cream.  It wasn't a low-fat soup but it was so good that we treated ourselves often and it is so popular that it is always on their soup bar.  The other day I was thinking about it and started looking for a recipe on the web.  I found one from the restaurant itself on The Food Network (that makes enough for an actual restaurant to serve!) and also learned that the Old Wives' Tales soup recipe is based on the one from the Moosewood Cafe Cookbook. I ended up going with the Food Network recipe (drastically cutting it down of course).

Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Food Network, Courtesy of Old Wives' Tales
(16-20 servings)

1 pound butter
6 cups yellow onion
10 pounds mushrooms, chopped
1 cup dill
1 cup paprika
2 cups tamari
2 gallons water
2 pounds butter
6 cups flour
1 gallon milk
1.75 gallons sour cream
1 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoons pepper

Melt butter. Add onions, and saute until wilted. Add mushrooms, saute until juice is rendered out.  Add dill, paprika, and mix well.  Add tamari, water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  In a large stockpot, make roux using butter and flour, cook 10 minutes. Drain some water from soup and beat into roux in stockpot until smooth. IMPORTANT- you will get flour lumps if you try to skip this step!  Add water-smoothed roux to kettle. Add milk and simmer until it thickens again, coating back of spoon. Turn off heat, beat in sour cream until well blended, then beat in salt and pepper.

Notes/Results:  I cut this down to make 4-5 servings and used a low-fat sour cream, a lesser amount than the reduced recipe called for and also used 2% milk.  The flavor of the soup was delicious and very similar to what I remembered. I wasn't able to get it the really "pink" color that the one from Old Wives' Tales was, even adding a bit more paprika but it was still very good. The Moosewood recipe is slightly different so I am going to try that one at some point to compare. Even cutting down the fat in the milk and sour cream and using less sour cream in the recipe, it is not something I would make all the time but if you love mushrooms, creamy soups and of course paprika you will love this soup too.  

My usual partner in crime, Natashya, from Living In the Kitchen With Puppies, brought along a delicious Turkey Pot Pie with Onion-Sage Dressing to share.  Using up the last of her Christmas turkey, this pot pie looks like a great way to get a little holiday comfort.  Thanks for dropping by and sharing another great recipe Natashya!

If you want to join in on a Souper Sunday, sharing a soup, stew, chili or any comfort food creation, leave a comment or send me an email by Sunday and I'll add you to that week's round up.  


  1. don't you just love the internet?? I do. It can connect or re-connect you with so many recipes and loads of information :) This does sound like a comforting soup!! Hope you are feeling better.

  2. I love a creamy mushroom soup.
    It is like a bowl of love from Mother Earth.
    Definitely need some Moosewood cookbooks for my collection!

  3. It's so pink and pretty! While I don't care for mushroom soup, it really looks great and if you are happy with it, that's all that matters!

  4. Hi Deb,

    I hope you are feeling better! I've been sick for 10 days, so I can completely sympathize.

    Your mushroom soup looks yummy. I love mushrooms and I love soup. Now that the Christmas craziness is over, I hope to join you and Natashya again for Souper Sundays real soon.

  5. This soup sounds wonderful. I used to go to the Cafe Budapest in Boston whenever I visited. They had a great mushroom soup that I adored. I may have to try this one, though a very small portion so I don't have to listen to my arteries hardening.

  6. This soup looks comforting and delicious! I love the pretty color. Hope you had a great holiday!

  7. Happy holidays, Deb! I hope you're feeling much better - I wish I would have known you were sick and still here! This soup sounds wonderful, and that's such a great idea for making the roux smooth in the soup (I recently had to do a bit of straining of flour lumps myself).

  8. I lived in Portland for years and aiways looked forward to a bowl of this delicious soup. Yours looks exactly right. I don't remember a pinkish color....was probably the lighting! Can't wait to try your recipe. Thanks!

  9. So sad that Old Wives Tales is gone :( The building was sold to a developer and the space now is filled with upscale modern apartments.


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