I mentioned in my first posts (for example, in the post about pickled ceps) that the flavor of forest mushrooms, both dried or fresh, is an essential ingredient of Polish cooking and this is one of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen. I already wrote about pickled ceps, Zrazy and potato pancakes with chanterelle sauce.
We are in the middle of the forest mushroom season here in Poland, so I could not hesitate to present some of our Polish style seasonal mushroom specialties. Poland is still relatively rich with forests and one can quite easily find in them edible and non edible mushrooms. This is also due to the quite humid climate. When I was a kid, we were spending each holiday in the mountains, and we dedicated a lot of time to “mushroom escapades”. Nowadays, when I visit Kraków, I buy them on local food markets, in particular on Kleparz – my favorite food market in town.
There are sellers who have a license for selling forest mushrooms. Remember that some of the poisoning ones may resemble some those edible ones. I know a bit about mushrooms, but besides the cèpes family and chanterelles, I do not buy any other types of forest mushrooms from individuals who do not have a sales permit.
A lot of people practice mushroom hunting in forests, and each year the media report some traumatic news about some adults and children (who would gives forest mushrooms to young children?!) being killed or heavily sick after eating, for example, a death cap (Amanita phalloides - in Polish "muchomor sromotnikowy"), taken by mistake for a parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera - in Polish "kania") (by the way, parasol mushrooms are delicious especially grilled).
So, if you ever visit Poland during the mushroom season, eat them and enjoy them, but buy them in places where they are thoroughly checked. For that part, restaurants are safe.
Let’s start this mushroom season with a Polish style soup, which is one of my favorites in that time of the year.
I used homemade, rich chicken broth for it, but feel free to use any other type of broth. This time, I blended part of the mushrooms as I wanted my soup to be a bit thicker than usual. I used Boletus badius (in Polish - "podgrzybek brunatny"), which is very popular in Poland (although some chefs do not appreciate them), and Leccinum (in Polish - "kozak", "koźlarz"; growing in Europe and in North America) - both from the boletus family. You can use cèpes, of course, but they are much more expensive.
Polish Style Forest Mushroom Soup
500 g boletus badius
500 g leccinum mushrooms
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1.5 l homemade chicken broth
4 tablespoons clarified butter
100 ml heavy cream
Fresh chopped dill or parsley for sprinkling
Delicately clean mushrooms from leftovers of the forest. Scratch the stems to remove soil. Rinse the mushrooms delicately under cold water. Separate bigger stipes (mushroom stalks) from caps. Cut caps into thin slices. Put the stalks aside.
In a hot frying pan, heat butter, add onions and fry over medium heat around 10 minutes, mixing often. Do not let the onions burn. Add mushroom caps in the frying pan and sauté them until they release their juices and absorb them back in. Salt and pepper and put aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the chicken broth, add mushroom stalks and cook for about 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are completely soft. Strain the broth, reserve it, but discard stalks (you can use the stalks for the soup if you like, but stalks of my big mushrooms were spongy and soft this time).
Add mushroom caps with onions into the broth. Cook for another 10 minutes, until the juices mix well. Pour one half of the soup into a blender and reduce it to purée and add it back to the remaining half of the soup (you should still see mushroom pieces in the soup). Pour a bit of the soup into a cup, add cream, mix well and add to the soup. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve hot, sprinkled with fresh, chopped herbs (I used Polish dill).
The soup goes very well with noodles.
And finally to close this post: some time ago I was invited by Polish bloggers to list 10 things that I like, so let’s go for it! Thanks a lot guys for your invitation!
- Swimming relaxes me and in the summer time I try to swim as much as possible, meaning a few times per week;
- I like to watch documentaries and read reportages, in particular shot in other parts of the World;
- Taking long walks releases my mind;
- Showing the World to our daughter makes me happy;
- I like to cook with my husband;
- Laying down with a book at the end of the day is what I also like;
- To be close to nature, to just watch it and think about nothing;
- I love to drive a car and travel by train, in particular on long distances;
- I like to listen to the music, although my music taste has changed over the years (I am getting older);
- I like to work on things that I like.