Mushroom Soup

Grzyby is the Polish word for mushrooms.

Mushroom gathering in Poland is a National pastime and has been in the past, a source of food and income for many.

Mushrooms can be dried, pickled, salted and marinated.

On those damp misty days in autumn when in England people would think – what a dull day,  a Pole would wake up and think – Great, a good day for gathering mushrooms!

Most Poles think the best dried mushrooms are Boletus edulis, in Poland they are called borowik, prawdzik or prawdziwek(translates as the real thing!), in Italy porcini and I try and use these whenever I can.

Packets of dried mushroom in England tend to be 25g or 30g and can be of mixed types.

My father knew all about mushrooms but never really passed the knowledge on to me – mainly because of the limited availbility of transport to suitable woods around where we lived in Lancashire.

On my first visit to Poland I did go to Białowieża forest and went with a guide and collected lots of mushrooms including chanterelles which in Poland are called kurki.

Dried mushrooms feature in many Polish dishes including ones made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve.

Nowadays, the common field mushroom – Agaricus bisporus – is produced on a huge scale and makes up a large part of commercial mushroom production with Poland being the 3rd biggest producer in Europe, following Italy and The Netherlands.

Mushroom soup in olden days was nearly always made with just dried mushrooms.

I make my soup with both dried and fresh mushrooms.

As with all soups the quantities do not have to be exact.

You can make your own vegetable stock or use cubes or powder.

 

 

Ingredients

25-30g of dried mushrooms – Boletus edulis are good.

250g of fresh mushrooms  – chestnut type are good.

Around 125ml of soured cream

1 onion – diced

Butter to fry the onion

1 – 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – can be from power or a cube (I use Marigold bouillon)

2 tablespoon of cornflour – optional

Salt & Pepper to taste

Chopped Flat-leaf parsley or chives to garnish

 

 

 

 

Method

Start the night before by preparing the dried mushrooms.

Put the dried mushrooms in a jug or bowl and add around 250ml of boiling water.

Leave the mushrooms overnight.

Strain the mushrooms from most of the liquor – saving this for later.

Chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces.

Gently simmer the mushrooms in a little of the liquor for about 5 minutes.

Gently fry the diced onion in some butter till they are golden.

Seperate the caps from the stalks of the fresh mushrooms.

Thinly slice the fresh mushroom caps  – if the caps are large cut the slices into 2 or 3.

Optional

If the stalks are not too “woody”  – chop them into very small pieces  – otherwise discard them.

Add the mushrooms to the onions, mix and fry gently.

Into a large pan or stockpot, add the onions and mushroom, the re-constituted mushrooms and the liquor from the soaked mushrooms and mix well.

Add the  vegetable stock and bring the mixture to the boil, then cover with a lid and leave to simmer.

You could put the pot into a low oven around GM2 – 150°C.

Allow to simmer for a couple of hours.

Add the soured cream and stir gently – check for seasoning.

or

Mix the cornflour with some of the soured cream, add and stir to thicken, then add the rest of the soured cream.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley or chives to serve.

 

 

 

 

Served on Royal Doulton  – Carnation – 1982 – 1998  &  Queen Anne side plates – pattern name unkown.

Zupa – Soup

Zupa is soup in Polish – it is a huge topic and I could easily write a book on soups alone.

The words zupa and soup originate from either the French soupe which is a broth or the German sop which is bread used to soak up soup or the Italian zuppa which is a country vegetable soup.

I intend to cook and write about soups in 2019.

Soup is traditionally the first course of the main meal of the day – served usually sometime between 12.30pm to 5pm.

For a larger occasion, the first course can be a cold starter,  followed by the soup and then the main course.

My cousins in Poland found it hard to imagine a meal without a soup to start with!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Makłowicz, a Polish TV chef and cookery writer, writes  in one of his books

Polak bez zupy robi się smutny –  A Pole without soup becomes sad.

Nina Froud is a cookery book writer & editor of the 1961 & 1977,  English translations of the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique.

 

In an introduction to Polish food in Country Cooking, published in 1978, she wrote:

“Poles are hearty but discriminating eaters … they like food unashamedly and are clever at producing delicious dishes from simple and inexpensive ingredients.”

This I think is very true and especially so in the making of soup.

 

There are so many, many soups – where do I begin?

  • hot soups
  • chilled (cooling) soups
  • fruit soups
  • milk soups

12 Well-Known Polish Soups in Alphabetical Order

  • Barszcz ………….. Beetroot
  • Fasolowa ……….. Bean
  • Grochówka …… Pea
  • Grzybowa ……… Mushroom
  • Kapuśniak ………Cabbage
  • Kartoflanka …… Potato
  • Krupnik …………..Barley
  • Ogórkowa ……… Gherkin
  • Pomidorowa ….. Tomato
  • Rosół ………………..Chicken
  • Szczawiowa …… Sorrell
  • Żurek ……………… Sour Rye

    These are just a start!

 

Soups are served with  Garnishes & Accompaniments

 

 

Polish Fairy Tale about Soup

My mother used to tell this story to me when I was young – I loved it then and since I have cooked myself I love it even more.

My mother would vary the ingredients so that each time she told it, it could be a different recipe!

Here is a shortened version of the story –

Once upon a time a stranger, with a knapsack on his back,  comes to a village and sits down on a path.

He gets out a little cooking pot and pours in some water from a container and lights a little fire underneath and sits waiting for the water to boil.

Whilst waiting he unwraps a shiny stone which was covered in a linen cloth and pops this into the water.

Slowly the villagers come out, curious to see what he is doing.

They ask him what he is doing – “making Magic Stone Soup – the best soup in the world” he replies.

As the water starts boiling the stranger takes out a ladle and takes a sip.

The villagers ask him how it tastes.

“Good”says the stranger “but would taste even better with some potatoes”

“I can get some potatoes” said an old man, who then went off to get them.

The stranger peeled and chopped the potatoes and added them to the pot.

After a few minutes the stranger again takes a sip of the soup, saying it tastes good but that it would taste even better with some onions.

“I can get some onions” said an old woman, who then went off to get them.

The stranger peeled and chopped the onions and added them to the pot.

….here my mother would go on adding ingredient after ingredient, varying them every time she told the story ….

The stranger again takes a sip of the soup, saying it tastes good but that it would taste even better with some salt & pepper.

“I can get that” says a young boy who then went off to get some.

When he comes back the stranger seasons the soup and declares it nearly ready.

“It just needs some flat leaved parsley to garnish it”.

“I can get some” says a young girl.

When she returns the stranger chops the leaves and sprinkles them on the soup.  

The stranger then ladles generous servings of it into bowls and handed them around to all the villagers and also has a bowl himself.

He then takes out the stone, wipes it dry and puts it away into his knapsack.

 

Włoszczyzna – Italian Stuff

When Italian diplomats who spent time in Poland in the 15th century wrote about Polish food, they complained that it was based mostly on meat and many said that – One Pole eats as much meat as 5 Italians.

Tomatoes and many other vegetables  were brought to Poland in the 16th century by the Italian chefs who came with the Italian Princess Bona Sforza who married the Polish King, Zygmunt the Old in 1518.  Many of the names of vegetables in Polish have Italian roots.

To this day, soup greens* are known as włoszczyzna  or “Italian stuff”.

Włoski is the Polish word for Italian.

Some writers say that vegetables other than cabbage and root vegetables were virtually unknown in Poland until  Princess Bona  introduced them, and her cooks helped to bring in the use  of vegetables in royal Polish cuisine;  however records show that the court of King Jagiello (who died in 1434) enjoyed a variety of vegetables including lettuce, beets, cabbage, turnip, carrots, peas and cauliflower.

*Soup Greens is a phrase found in American cookery writing – I have not really seen it in British writing.

Soup Greens are a vegetable stock basis for soups and other  vegetable or fish dishes.

(They are also the vegetables that are used in any casserole type dish).

In German they are known as  suppengrün and in French mirepoix.

The Classic Ingredients are:

Carrots

Leeks

Celeriac

Parsley root

if these are not availabe then use:

Onions

Celery leaves

Parsley stems and leaves

and also  – Bay leaves, Allspice grains, Peppercorns & Salt

Note

The ingredients for

Suppengrün  are carrots, celery, leek and for Mirepoix  are carrots, celery, onions

Often in Poland (and yesterday in my local Polish shop in England) you can buy a ready mixed packet of  the vegetables needed.

 

 

Method

Place all the ingredients in a large pan with water.

Bring to the boil and cover.

Simmer until the vegetables are soft.

Strain the vegetables from the liquid.

 

 

 

Note

If this is being made for a soup  that day,  then some of the vegetables such as the carrots might be sliced and added to the soup.

or

The liquid is kept in glass or plastic containers in the fridge for another time.

If you have no time or ingredients then a very good standby is

Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder.

 

 

 

Note

This post was written in preperation for the huge topic of Soup in Polish Cookery!

This has now been written – here is the link

Zupa -Soup