Gomba Leves- Hungarian Mushroom Soup

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This Hungarian mushroom soup is smoky, creamy and, oddly enough, meaty; even though the soup is vegetarian the mushrooms add a definite meatiness to the soup.  Although you start with a whole pound of mushrooms, they cook down a significant amount so if you’d like plenty of leftovers I suggest doubling the recipe.

When I was reading about Hungarian food online, people stressed again and again how much better Hungarian paprika is than the standard stuff you’d find in your supermarket spice aisle.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any, but the soup was great even without it.  I also recommend adding a bit of smoked paprika if you have it on hand; it definitely added another level of flavor.  If you’d like to add some heat, add cayenne to taste.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Yield: 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main meal


* 1 Tablespoon butter
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 pound button mushrooms
* 2 Tablespoons roughly chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
* 2 teaspoons paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
* 1 teaspoon lemon juice
* 1 cup beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature, plus extra for garnish
* 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
* 2 Tablespoons water
* salt and pepper to taste


In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until the onions begin to brown. Add the mushrooms, dill and paprika. Stir well, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and mix well.

Add the broth, cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add the milk and stir well. Whisk in the sour cream and heat gently until soup is hot. Make a cornstarch slurry with the cornstarch and water, making sure there are no lumps. Add to the soup and stir well. Continue to cook over low heat for a couple minutes, until the soup has thickened slightly.

Salt and pepper to taste. Pour into individual bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh dill, if desired.

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