Potato Soup (Bramboracka)

Posted by Pussycat in Soups | 4 Comments

The weather is beginning to turn and the crisp feel of fall is in the air. This makes me feel like I need to pick up a textbook.  I’ve been taking classes for so long the couple of years that I wasn’t registered for courses I felt lost, like something was missing.  Also this time of year I feel this overwhelming urge to settle in and cozy up, perhaps it has something to do with anticipating all that reading and writing.  Soup goes very well with these activities and as much as I love to experiment with new recipes there are some old traditional ones that I also love to go to, this being one of them.

This is a soup that my mother used to make quite often and I used to think it one of the more boring ones growing up.  Not one of my favourites.  And just like you can get mac and cheese or french onion soup most places in Canada or the States you can get this at many of the restaurants in the Czech Republic, as well as most of the Czech recipes I’ve posted there.   This soup is a standard one I found when I ordered it there and it tasted just like my mom’s.  Who knew someone else could cook as well as her…  ;)   Since that trip about 6 years ago I often long to be back there. ..  the familiar flavours of my youth available around any corner with homemade soups and baskets of dark dense bread.

I’ve tried making this several times over the years and perhaps I didn’t like it as much because mine simply didn’t taste like hers then I finally found out the secret.  It’s the dried mushrooms. I’m not a huge fan of fresh ones but I’ve always loved the texture and flavour of the dried ones my mother used in her bramborova soup.

Before she passed away my grandmother often picked mushrooms when she visited with us, she would stay for a year, spend the summer and most of the fall at the lake and she picked everything.  She was very well versed in which ones were edible and so she picked, dried and stored bags and bags full of them.   My mother and I are not so well verse. But when we were back home it was mushroom season and everyone, it seemed was picking them.  During the fall in Czech you will often see people on the subway, carrying baskets overflowing with fresh picked mushrooms, people in stands on the side of the road selling fresh picked mushrooms.  It seems everywhere you looked people carried mushrooms. You don’t have to go very far to find a wooded area.   And people pick fresh from the clumps of forests that are dispersed everywhere, even throughout the cities and towns. It was only fitting that we went and picked them as well.

We spent a few days with my brother at the cottage and other than relax there wasn’t much to do, except go to the pub, which we did.   Then later, in the forest, in the rain, we picked…. and picked mushrooms.  So much so that after everyone else enjoyed fresh mushrooms we still had loads left.  So we cleaned, sliced them thin and dried them by the fire.

Now I’m really not sure if you can bring them back to Canada, but I must admit that I bagged and wrapped them then shipped them home for myself. I can’t even tell you which kind they were exactly, I just know that they are not illegal and are edible.  I’m sure that any combination of dried mushrooms would do in this soup.

Soup Recipe

  • 3 – 4 Carrots
  • 3 – 4 Celery Stalks
  • 4 – 5 Medium Potatoes
  • 1 Whole Onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Caraway Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Mushrooms (any kind or combination)
Rue
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
In a large pot place diced: carrots, celery, potatoes, a whole onion, and cover with water and start to boil.  Add caraway seeds and salt and pepper to taste.  In a separate bowl soak the mushrooms until soft. Cook until the vegetables are tender.  In a frying pan make fry the flour in the butter until golden brown then add to soup to thicken.   Add the mushrooms and a little bit of the mushroom water to add color and taste, discard the onion and enjoy.

4 Responses to Potato Soup (Bramboracka)

  1. Pingback: Franz Kafka: Potato Mushroom Soup « Paper and Salt

  2. Ondrej says:

    Dried boletus (hriby) would be the traditional way to go. Also, true “bramboracka” (although, of course, there is no “true version” – each family has its own recipe) should probably include plenty of garlic and also marjoram (usually dried) added as the final touch. And finally – instead of celery stalks, try celery root (celeriac), cubed approximately the same size as the carrots.

    Anyway… I just discovered your blog and I will surely soon start annoying you with my comments under many more posts :-).

    Keep up the good work

    Ondrej

    • Pussycat says:

      Hi Ondrej,
      You certainly make some good points. Though, living in Canada we don’t always have access to celery root and yes, this is our version. My mother would often put barley as well, though, since it doesn’t agree with me I often leave it out. I will say, though, that even though every Czech kitchen has it’s own version, I was surprised at how much alike they taste when I was there a few years back. Your comments are always welcome. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. Maria says:

    My grandma also used to pick and dry mushrooms and put them in the bramboracka……she knew all of them wich are edible or not. she also put bacon in the soup.
    I live in south dakota and don’t have access to dried mushrooms so I just use the white button mushrooms. and I put some bay leaves into the soup and lots of bacon tastes really good

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