I love mushrooms. I think I always have, although that’s probably not true because – believe it or not – I was once a very picky eater. I remember the days when my favored and most often consumed meal was hot water mixed with rice and I was unwilling to try anything else to go along with it.

Oh, the far-away days of young childhood. Sliding down the stairs on pillows, concocting “delicious dog food” with my cousin… tricking the neighbor into trying such experimets… the good old days.

But I’ve come so far, especially in terms of what I’ll eat. And what wonderful things I’ve discovered! Like mushrooms (although the more I think about it, the more I’m certain that I’ve always loved mushrooms). Mushrooms are great – I don’t remember ever eating them in something that I don’t like*, and this soup is no exception. In fact, this soup is fantastic! I made it with my grandpa, Jaja, in yet another Polish-cooking trial. Lemme tell ya, them Poles know how to eat.

*Although admittedly I actually don’t really care for them too much raw. EAK loves them that way though. Once I showed up at her house to find her laying on her front lawn poppin mushrooms straight from the little blue styrofoam container like they were somethin else

Little Mushroom Pierogi. I still prefer them pan-fried, but they were tasty in the soup too. Unfortunately these were not homemade, but that doesn’t meant that they won’t be in the future.

Polish Mushroom Soup

5 to 6 Ounces Dried Mushrooms, such as Polish Borowik or Cépes

12 Large Shiitake Mushrooms

3 Quarts Beef Stock, preferably homemade

5 Medium Ribs of Celery, chopped

2 Large Onions, sliced

5 Carrots, chopped

1 Pound Small Portabella Mushrooms, sliced

2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

2 Tbsp Flour

1 Cup Sour Cream

2 Tbsp Parsley, finely chopped

2 Tbsp Dill, finely chopped

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Cup Orzo or other pasta (or mini mushroom Pierogi)

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Rinse the Dried Mushrooms. Place them in 2 Cups cold water and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. Strain the dried mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid.

Sauté the Celery, Onions, and Carrots in a little butter until soft. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring the Beef Stock to a simmer ad add the cooked vegetables. Add the strained mushroom soaking liquid to the pot. Chop the hydrated mushrooms into 1/4 inch pieces slightly larger than the cooked vegetables and add them to the pot along with the sliced Fresh Portabellas.

Cover and cook the soup about an hour. Bring the soup to a boil and add the Pasta, stirring constantly (if using Pierogi, you may cook them ahead of time and set them aside, skipping this pasta cooking step). Reduce the heat to a gentle boil and stir occasionally until the pasta is cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, make a roux. Melt the 2 Tbsp Butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the Flour and cook, stirring constantly until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the broth from the pot and add to the roux, whisking constantly until slightly thickened and free of lumps. Stir the thickened liquid into the soup. Add the Parsley and Dill to the pot as well.

Finish the soup with the Sour Cream: First, add 1/4 cup thickened soup to the sour cream. Whisk until smooth, then add the sour cream to the soup, whisking constantly until it is well incorporated, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with the Salt and Pepper.

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