Sunday, September 28, 2014

Polish Style Cream of Mushroom Soup

When the frost is on the pumpkin, tis the time for making soup. Nothing takes the bite off a Midwestern cold fall or winter's day better than a bowl of hot soup. When I first met Chef Irene, a Polish gourmet chef and co-owner of the now closed Mareva's  restaurant and banquets in Chicago, she and her husband, Stosh made the best creamy mushroom soup that I have ever tasted. In fact, she made the best beet borscht and pierogies that I ever had. The secret to her mushroom soup was very expensive dehydrated wild borowiki mushroom that were imported from Poland.
Note: One ounce of dried mushrooms is equal to approximately ten ounces of fresh mushrooms. While I never got their exact recipe, this one is my attempt to re-create that taste. I also did not get the Borowiki mushrooms; I used fresh porcini mushroom instead.  
16 ounces porcini mushroom
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
6 cups beef broth, divided 5C + 1C reserved
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons flour, mixed with the sour cream
to taste, salt and pepper
fresh dill ( to garnish)
My note: Chef Irene makes her own stock. Homemade stock is best, but if you don't have time to make your own stock, use a high quality store-bought stock.
Coarse chopped porcini
Clean mushrooms using a damp paper towel and coarsely chop the mushrooms. In a saute pan over medium-low heat melt the butter, add the onions, and mushrooms and saute until until the mushrooms give off their liquid.
Then add the mushrooms
Transfer mushroom mixture to a large stockpot, add 5 cups of the beef broth (reserving 1 cup), and bring to a low simmer.
Blend the sour cream with the flour and mix well. Blend the reserved cup of beef broth into the sour cream and flour until smooth. Slowly add sour cream mixture to the mushroom soup mixture, while constantly stirring.
Blend flour and sour cream
Simmer for five minutes, but keep stirring so it doesn't burn. Using an immersion blender, blend until the desired consistency. I like some chunks of mushrooms to show.
Stir in the sour cream mixture slowly, stirring constantly
In the last minute of heating the soup you may choose to add a squirt of fresh lemon juice to add a bright flavor and a little acid and cut the richness of the soup. To serve, place about a half cup of the soup into a bowl and garnish with a dollop of sour cream sprinkeled with chopped fresh dill.  
Blitz with your immersion blender
If you can find them, use the richly flavored wild Borowiki mushrooms that many Polish cooks use. To rehydrate, follow the directions on the dried mushrooms. You may substitute dried mushrooms for part of the fresh mushrooms if you like.
Can you taste this?
Chef Irene often served her soup with swans made from puff pastry dough. She then filled the body of the swan with sour cream. The visual of a swan floating on a mushroom soup pond was amazing. 

Finally, I know that I can look this up on the Internet, but I'm looking for authentic recipes and memories from your "matka lub babcia." The older the recipe, the better. I don't really know how many Polish home cooks are reading this blog, but if you are and have some recipes of polish foods like zrazy, klopsiki, pierogi, golabki, borscht, served with paszteciki, please post them in the comments section below.
Maybe I prejudice, but since my last Mareva's pierogies, I have probably tried every frozen pierogies on the market today. None, I repeat none have been close to just how good these were. If Chef Irene reads this post, just maybe she will bring the best pierogies back to Chicago. If not, maybe some big name producer will buy her recipe and bring them back... just like the twinkie.
© TMelle 2014

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