I’ve never been much of a soup at any time of the year eater. I could never wrap my head around sitting down with a steaming bowl of soup on a hot, sunny day. It should be reserved for cold and rainy days. Then again, maybe growing up in the Portland area has something to do with this. Oddly enough, I surprised myself with sudden soup recipe cravings as summer came to a close.
The weather here lately has been showing signs unfamiliar for the month of October. Recent gloomy, damp and chilly mornings remind me of November. Bring on the soup season! I welcome the days where I hunker down in front of the tv or with a good book (right now I’m reading EatLiveRun blogger, Jenna Weber’s White Jacket Required – more on this gem later, but let’s just say it hits close to home) put on a pair of sweatpants and sit with a big bowl of soup in my hands. Let me tell you my friends, those days are here and on days like these, I find myself rifling through the pantry, reaching all the way to the back to see what variety of soups I can uncover.
Lately, I’m amazed at the nutritional information I discover. It’s either undesirable amounts of sodium, fat, carbohydrates/sugar, or maybe even a combination of the three. I suppose there are worse things to eat, but right now I’d rather make my own soups. I don’t always make the healthiest of dishes (in every way possible) but I like to have control of the selection and quantity of ingredients I use….even if it means I can’t blame someone else for an indulgence here and there.
Allow me to introduce you to Hungarian Mushroom Soup. I have to pay tribute to my sister Andi here for bringing this dish into my life. A true favorite of mine, I think there’s something special and well-balanced about the flavors that just pleases the taste buds. A love, or at least a taste, for mushrooms is a must.
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
2 T butter
1 medium-large onion
1 ½ – 2 lbs. mushrooms
1 t salt
2-3 t dried dill
1 T paprika (the recipe calls for Hungarian, but I’ve always used regular)
2 t lemon juice
3 T flour
2 C water
1 C milk at room temperature
pepper to taste
½ C sour cream
Melt the butter in a dutch oven, add chopped onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add sliced mushrooms, salt, dill and paprika. Stir the ingredients, cover and let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice – I tend to add a little over 2 t, I think it accentuates the dill.
Gradually sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly. Cook and stir another 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the water, cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the milk and add the black paper to taste. Whisk in sour cream, and heat very gently on low-medium heat. By this point, you don’t want to boil or continue cooking at a high heat or the sour cream might curdle.
Broccoli with browned butter and mizithra is so simple, with flavors like no other. I absolutely love pastas with browned butter, but I mean, don’t we all? When I cook broccoli, I tend to steam it and finish it off with salt and pepper, that’s it-savoring its natural flavor. The other night I decided to jazz it up a bit, and used broccoli as a substitute for noodles – the frequent star of the dish. Dare I say it tastes just as good with broccoli as it does with spaghetti? Okay, that might be a little far-fetched.
Broccoli with Browned Butter and Mizithra
2-3 heads broccoli
½ C butter
¼ C mizithra cheese
Place the stick of butter in a pan over medium heat. After about 15 minutes (you’re looking for a dark, amber color), pour the browned butter over a sieve into a glass cup. This will separate the liquid from any remaining (very salty) sediment.
Chop up and steam the broccoli. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Pour butter over broccoli and finish off with freshly grated mizithra cheese.
Enjoy these dishes together or separately! Seriously, try them.