Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 164! Slovakia - Mushroom Soup (Hubová Polievka) - Up Next, Solomon Islands


This recipe comes courtesy of a great Slovakian website, slovakcooking.com, that I discovered while searching for a meal to represent Slovakia. If you're into Central European cooking, this is a terrific resource that includes traditional food, photographs and descriptions that make the recipes easy to follow, not to mention lively writing and anecdotes from the author, Luboš Brieda. Luboš lived in Slovakia until moving to the U.S. when he was 14. Missing his country and it's traditional cooking, he started a blog dedicated to the dishes he enjoyed growing up. Although it was difficult to choose from the many recipes he has posted, I chose mushroom soup, or hubová polievka - because ever since my friend Ben took me mushroom foraging last week, I've been on kind of a shroom bender (and I mean that in the most legal way). This dish is easy, traditional and perfect for a cool fall night. I used fresh crimini mushrooms because I spotted them in the store and they looked gorgeous, but you can use dried or standard white button mushrooms if that's what's available. And, of course, this soup has bacon in it, and any one who knows me, knows I'm a bonafide bacon fiend. Thank you, Luboš!

The Slovak republic is a land locked country in Central Europe that is bordered by the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary. Slavs first arrived in what is now present day Slovakia in the 5th and 6th Century during the migration period. Throughout history, regions of Slovakia belonged to various empires, such as Samo's Empire, which is the first known political unit of Slavs, as well as the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Czechoslovakia (with a few others in between). During WWII, a separate Slovak state briefly existed, and between 1939-1944, Slovakia was a dependency of Nazi Germany. From 1945-1991, the country was ruled by Czeckoslovakia, but by 1993, Slovakia declared itself an independent state. A beautiful country known for it's mountains, skiing, scenic lakes, valleys and rivers, Slovakia is also the world's largest producer of cars, claiming production factories for Volkswagen, Bratislava, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Kia.

Slovakia's somewhat temperate climate is warm in the summer and cold in the winter. Although there is no such thing as "Slovakian" food, the cuisine varies from region to region and is influenced by traditional customs and peasant cooking. Food tends to be simple, yet hardy and very easy to prepare, often using just one pot. Heavy on meat, especially pork,  potatoes, dumplings, thick sauces, cheese also dominate the culture. Cabbage, beans, corn, lentils, dense, chewy bread and seasonal fruits are all enjoyed in Slovakian homes and restaurants.

Crimini Mushrooms - But you can use dried or white just as easily

Potatoes give the soup texture and thicken up the stock

Mmmmmm....Bacon - no more need be said 

Sour Cream - I couldn't resist using this little Carnival Glass dish I picked up for a buck

Hubová Polievka - Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup -Hubová Polievka - (Recipe adapted from slovakcooking.com)

1 ounce dried, or 8 ounces fresh mushroom, sliced (I used fresh crimini)
5 cups water
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 sliced smoked bacon, chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. sour cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel and cube potatoes and add to a large pot with salted water along with sliced mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp. When done, pour off most of the fat and add the flour, stir until combined, then add to the pot with the potatoes and mushrooms.
Simmer until potatoes and mushrooms are soft, then add sour cream and stir to combine.
Season and serve along with good hearty bread - I used pumpernickel rolls.


Final Assessment: Delicious! A simple, hearty soup, that goes well with thick slabs of bread and butter. I'll bet it would be even better tomorrow once the flavors had a chance to meld...but there isn't a drop left!

© 2010-2011, What's Cooking in Your World? Sarah Commerford/All Rights Reserved

12 comments:

witchywoman said...

That looks wonderful! LOL! We've both been benefiting for foraging friends...you got your mushrooms and I got mine...I got chanterelles (YUM)! I'm thinking that the husband & I will go out Friday and forage for some more, then it's time to get the dehydrator out...want me to send you some, if we find them????

lubos said...

Thanks Sarah. Your photos are beautiful!

sadie said...

Thank you! I'm glad you think they do justice to your awesome recipe!

sadie said...

I wouldn't know a chantrelle from a poisonous mushroom - it's so cool that you have that knowledge! If you have a surplus, I'd love a few...but only if you're over-run :) oxox

saf affect said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm Slovak-Canadian (all four grandparents came from Slovakia) and love slovakcooking.com as a resource for all the recipes I love, and some new ones. Love your pics!

sadie said...

Thank you so much, Lubos' website is a fantastic resource - and he makes the whole thing fun and totally entertaining! Thanks for connecting!

OysterCulture said...

I was lucky enough to go to Slovakia for a wedding and the food was incredibly, not the most healthy, but very tasty with lots of cheese and cream.

sadie said...

LouAnn - that's what I gathered from all of the reading I did - lots of animal fat, dairy, cream, butter...mmm ... lucky you to have gotten the chance to travel to Slovakia for such a joyous occasion!

Young Werther said...

Mushrooms, bacon and sour cream? That is one irresistible combo!

sadie said...

Agreed! A trifecta!

Laraine said...

Made this last night - so simple yet so good! Thanks Sarah!

sadie said...

That's great Laraine!! Did you put your own spin on it??