Mariel here. I recently paid a long-overdue visit to one of my closest childhood friends – a fellow food lover who ferreted me to her favorite spot in the beautiful Black Mountains of North Carolina. We both suffer from eyes-bigger-than-stomach syndrome, so when she insisted I order a full-size portion of Verandah‘s famous Hungarian Mushroom Soup in addition to an enormous Hot-Pressed Panini, I figured, whatever, I can handle it. I could have stopped at the soup.
It was hands-down one of the most delightful bowls I’ve ever dug into. Not typically a fan of creamy emulsions, this rich, brothy brew gets the ratio just right. And it’s incredibly filling – a meal unto itself.
I promised my friend I’d attempt to recreate this soup at home and I think I’ve done Verandah’s version justice. In my opinion, this is just as lip-smacking, bowl-licking delicious as the original, but she’s the real expert, so fingers crossed she signs off on it.
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
24 ounces of mixed mushrooms (I went heavy on criminis), sliced – $10.00
4 cups of sweet onion, chopped – $2.00
1 Tablespoon tomato paste – $0.89
14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes (use the fire-roasted variety, if available) – $1.89
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice – $0.25
3 cups LOW-SODIUM vegetable stock – stock
1 cup water – stock
2 Tablespoons paprika (the Hungarian variety, if you have it) – stock
3 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped – $1.59
2 Tablespoons Tamari soy sauce (you can also use low-sodium soy sauce, which I’ve done, but Tamari ups the “umami” factor) – stock
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter – stock
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour – stock
2 cups skim milk – stock
Salt and pepper to taste (if you use low-sodium soy sauce and low-sodium stock, you’ll need about 2 teaspoons of salt, in my opinion) – stock
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $16.62
Cost per serving: $2.08
1. In your largest stockpot, saute the onions in 4 Tablespoons of vegetable stock over medium-low heat until the onions become tender and start to caramelize. About 10 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms, dill, 1 cup of vegetable stock, ½-cup of water, soy sauce, paprika, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute. Very slowly add the milk and stir frequently until combined. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes until the milk thickens – make sure to continue whisking frequently to prevent the flour from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
4. Pour the cream sauce into the mushroom mixture. Add the remaining ½-cup of water and 1½ cups of vegetable stock and combine well. Season with freshly ground pepper and taste to see if you need to sprinkle with salt. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
5. Just before serving, stir in the freshly-squeezed lemon juice. Taste the soup and adjust the salt and pepper according to your preferences. Serve hot, alongside a crusty piece of bread.