What you will wind up with is something that's not quite a stew, but also definitely not a soup. If you want something to warm you on these cold winter nights, this is the recipe you want to have at the ready.
Things I like about this stew:
I like that it's endlessly adaptable to tastes. I like a lot of dill and lemon juice, etc, but if you don't, simply cut back on those and any other ingredients that don't float your boat so much.
The recipe as written, is appropriate for lacto vegetarians (the kind of vegetarian that consumes milks, cheeses, and other dairy products derived from animals), but it's also easily "beefed up" by swapping out the vegetable stock for, well, beef or chicken stock. And, if you want to please a vegan, substitute the dairy milk for nut milks, rice milks, coconut milks; just make sure whatever version you choose is the unsweetened type.
I love also that it's a great soup to lighten up. If I'm feeling like I've had a really "fat day," I just cut back on the butter, or swap it out entirely for olive or canola oil, I can use 1-or-2 percent milk instead of whole, and fat-free plain yogurt instead of sour cream. The stew has flexibility, and loses nothing in the trade.
Hungarian Mushroom Stew
2 medium yellow onions, chopped (approx 3 cups), the milder the onion, the better; the mushrooms should be the star of this soup.
3-4 lbs white mushrooms, sliced (if you're the adventurous type, you can try substituting different varieties of mushrooms, or mixing multiple types; however, be careful--some mushrooms can develop a smoky, pungent flavor when cooked, which is why I like to stick to good old white mushrooms for this recipe).
1-1/2 tsps salt (or to taste)
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3/4 - 1 cup AP flour (amount will depend on your desired thickness)
1/2 cup cream sherry, vermouth, or Madeira wine
2 quarts vegetable stock (I use Emeril's if I can't make my own)
The juice of one lemon
1/2 cup good quality dill weed
1/4 cup smokey Hungarian paprika
2-3 cups whole milk (this will vary depending on how thick you want your stew)
1 cup sour cream (added before serving, or dolloped on the tops of each individual serving
Dill and paprika: Just a pinch extra for garnishing the top of the soup
Chopped fresh chives for sprinkling
1. Sweat the onions in 3 Tbsps of butter and the 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium low heat until they soften.
2. Add in the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and saute until wilted.
*At this point, if you wish to do as I suggest and marinate the mushroom-onion mixture for 48 hours, simply cover the pot and refrigerate before moving on to the third step. Just bring back up to temp when ready to finish the stew.
3. When the mushrooms have released most of their liquid. add in the flour and 1 Tbsp butter to coat the mushroom-onion mixture. Lower the heat and stir constantly until the flour reaches a light brown color. Be vigilant about stirring. You do not want the flour to burn.
4. Deglaze the pot with the sherry (or whatever wine you've chosen to use), scraping the bottom of the pot as you go.
5. Stir in 2 cups of the broth, lemon juice, dill weed, and paprika. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Add the remaining broth, and then add the milk, adjusting the amount based on the consistency you prefer. Cover, and bring to temp over medium-low heat.
7. When ready to serve, sprinkle over a small amount of dill and paprika, add the chives, and serve hot with a fresh baguette or whole grain bread and butter. Makes 12 1-1/4 cup servings.
Harlow's Pub & Restaurant
3 School St, Peterborough, NH 03458