Calling Slovakia a mushroom power certainly isn’t an overstatement. We are lucky to have forests, woodlands, fields and meadows that normally brim with mushrooms of all kinds and sizes. Some come out as early as April when the ground becomes soft and warm enough after a long winter, and the spring rains provide sufficient moisture for mushrooms to grow.
Unfortunately, the weather was extremely dry last year with little chance to find mushrooms in the wild. My family are not only passionate pickers but great mushrooms eaters as well, and though they prefer wild mushrooms to cultivated ones, they never say no to a rich, flavourful oyster mushroom soup. My long-time, tried & tested recipe that I want to share with you now is also very simple.
Creamy Oyster Mushroom Soup
Serves 3 – 4
- 300 g oyster mushrooms*
- 3 large potatoes
- 700 ml water
- 200 ml sour cream (12% fat content in Slovakia)
- 100 ml milk
- 1 tablespoon fine flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 allspice corns
- salt and white pepper to taste
- herbs to garnish
* I used firmer stems for the soup and tender caps for a creamy sauce poured over spaghetti.
Rinse the mushrooms with a little water and slice them.
Warm a little oil in a cooking pot over a medium heat. Add the muhrooms and stir-fry for 3 – 5 minutes. Pour in the water, add the bay leaves and the allspice corns (encased in a tea strainer for an easy removal at a later stage). Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Stir well, bring to the boil and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Throw in the potatoes and continue cooking for another 10 – 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, put the sour cream and the milk in a mug and blend well. Add the flour and mix until a smooth ‘roux’ has formed.
Remove the allspice corns. Pour the creamy ‘roux’ in the cooked potatoes and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
When the soup has thickened, turn off the heat and cover the pot to keep warm.
Rinse the fresh herbs and chop them. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the herbs and serve immediately.
I used to have a friend who grew oyster mushrooms in his garden as a hobby. He would bring me huge clusters of aromatic, beautifully shaped snow-grey caps that kept so well in the fridge. My son, who has never been a great fan of soups, had no problem to finish a whole pot of this particular one in a day. Now that I have lost contact with my farmer friend, I have to resort to store bought oyster mushrooms when I want to cook my family’s favourite. I wonder if my son can tell the diference. He seems to have a more refined palate now that he is older.