Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

One of the things I've been craving lately is Hungarian food. My grandfather was Hungarian and we grew up eating goulash, chicken paprikash and Hungarian mushroom soup. I had the opportunity to travel through Hungary a few years ago and the countryside looked exactly like the farm where my grandfather retired (and he had never been to Hungary). I felt a strong connection to the people and the food while I was there and I highly recommend traveling to this country if you ever have the chance to do so.

Cooking goulash outside in Hungary at a friend's house.

I love the Moosewood restaurant and
cookbook and will dedicate a blog
post just to Mollie Katzen.
A Michael in the background.
Well, Hungarian food is decidedly not  vegan. Meat, sour cream, spaetzle, you name it it's not vegan. So one of my favorite mushroom soup recipes is the one in the Moosewood Cookbook and this contains butter, milk and sour cream. I thought I'd never be able to find a vegan version that passes for the "real" thing. BUT, for Christmas Michael gave me The Vegan Slow Cooker which includes a veganized version of this same Moosewood recipe!! I didn't have time to put it in the slow cooker (I know, I know, that's supposed to SAVE me time but I really didn't have time to do it the night or morning before) so I just took the two recipes, Mollie Katzen's original and the vegan version, and created my own vegan recipe.

The key to creaminess in the soup and in the "sour cream" is cashews. No need to soak these nuts- you can just use them dry for this recipe. It is from The Vegan Slow Cooker. Take 3/4 cup raw cashews and blend them with 1/2 cup water and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Blend them until fairly smooth- it should get to a creamy texture, almost like sour cream. Taste it- it has a unique taste but is very sour creamy and I think even better than the real stuff. You can make this the night before and put it in the fridge or make it while you are cooking the soup.

Rest of this recipe is adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook

"Hungarian Mushroom Soup"

2 Tbs olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 to 2 lbs mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp salt
2 to 3 tsp dried dill (or 2 to 3 Tbs freshly minced)
1 Tbs mild paprika
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs flour
2 cups water
1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk, original flavor)
black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup vegan sour cream (recipe above)
finely minced parsley, for the top (I omitted this as I didn't have any fresh parsley on hand, but feel free to use it!)

This is a special pot, given to us by my friend Jessica, with whom I traveled to Hungary.
1. Heat the olive oil in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add onions, and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt, dill and paprika. Stir well and cover. Let cook for about 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice.

2. Gradually sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly. Cook and stir another 5 minutes or so over medium-low heat. Add water, cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often.

3. Stir in nondairy milk; add black pepper to taste. Check to see if it needs more salt. Whisk in the cashew sour cream and heat very gently. Don't boil or cook it after this point. Serve hot, with freshly minced parsley.

These are the leftovers- you can still see how creamy it is. I didn't get a picture of the soup right after I made it- we were too hungry and couldn't wait to dig in:)
I served our soup with some homemade bread we had in the freezer, a recipe from my same friend Jessica, and sliced cucumber.

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