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.
- 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)
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Flour