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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC

www.cathyskitchenprescription.com

 

Ukrainian Mushroom Soup with Dumplings

 

Here is a climate-favorable rendering of a beautiful Ukrainian mushroom soup. Richly flavored, this soup offers comfort in a bowl. It is filled with woodsy mushrooms and herbs and features sorrel, which lends lemony undertones. Smetana (sour cream) is ubiquitous in Ukrainian cooking, but for this non-dairy soup, let’s use cultured soy yogurt for its lower climate impact and probiotic benefits.

 

Ukrainians love dumplings, and their dishes offer a dizzying array of sweet and savory stuffed vereniki.  Halushki, however, are homey, simple, unstuffed wheat dumplings, easy to make, fun to eat, and enjoyed in soups like this one or instead, served like pasta with sautéed aromatics, mushrooms, herbs, and vegetable toppings. These halushki are made with white whole wheat flour and soy yogurt instead of refined flour, eggs, or cottage cheese. If time is short, you might skip the halushki, as this soup certainly stands on its own.  But if you have just a bit more time, including halushki takes this soup to a higher level for a heartier, more satisfying meal. Besides, dumpling-making is a kitchen magnet drawing in kids of all ages to help.

 

Prep time 2 hours (passive) to strain the yogurt, 35 minutes to prep the halushki and mushrooms, plus 15 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 5 to 6

 

3 cups unsweetened cultured soy yogurt, strained 2 hours to thicken into smetana to garnish

150 grams (about ½ cup +1 tablespoon) unsweetened soy yogurt

195 grams white whole wheat flour (about 1½ cups)

2 tablespoons freshly ground golden flaxseed

4 grams (about ½ teaspoon) shiro (white, mild) miso paste

¼ cup aka (red) miso paste to season cooking water, or to taste

8 cups mixed varieties of mushrooms, dry wiped, bottom of stems trimmed

2 large bay leaves

10 whole peppercorns

1 large red onion, cut in medium dice

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dry thyme leaves

 

2 large carrots, cut in ¼-inch rounds

2 large parsnips, sliced

2 bunches sorrel, lower stems trimmed or 2 bunch spinach + juice of ½ lemon

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1 bunch scallion, trimmed and cut in ½-inch slices

Grinds of black pepper to taste

1 large bunch dill, roughly cut

1 bunch parsley, lower stems removed, roughly cut

 

  • To strain the yogurt, transfer 3 cups of yogurt to a 18-inch square of unbleached muslin. Tie it up with string into a bag and suspend it over the sink to drain or place the bag in a strainer over a bowl and allow the whey to drain for 2 hours. The yogurt will reduce and thicken into a soft paste, reminiscent of sour cream or crème fraiche. Refrigerate until you are ready to plate and serve the soup.
  • To make halushki dumplings, freshly grind the flaxseed. Pour off any liquid that has accumulated over the soy yogurt. Combine the ground flaxseed and yogurt in a large bowl and stir in the shiro miso. Mix in only as much white whole wheat flour as required to create a soft, somewhat sticky dough.
  • Transfer the dough to a board and knead for about 8 minutes, sprinkling additional flour as needed to create a soft, smooth dough. For tender halushki we want to keep the dough slightly tacky and not at all stiff, so avoid using too much flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest the dough for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough in 8 pieces and roll each into a ball.  There are different ways Ukrainians like to shape halushki. With your open hand, you can roll each dough ball against a large cutting board into snakes, about ½-inch thick. Then, use a knife or bench scraper, cut each snake into pieces 1- to 1½-inch long.  These halushki will cook up like little pillows. Alternatively, you can use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to ¼-inch in thickness. Then cut the dough ½ to 3/4-inch wide by 1½ to 2-inch strips. 
  • Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, and season with aka (red) miso to taste. 
  • Drop the raw halushki together and whole mushrooms into the boiling water all together, stirring. The dumplings cook in just a minute or two and will rise to the top. Cook them for 1 minute longer, then use a slotted spoon or strainer to transfer them to a bowl.
  • Leave the mushrooms in the pot to cook for an additional 30 minutes. Then transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board, reserving the broth.  Cut the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Wrap the bay leaves and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth, tie with cotton string or thread. Add this pouch to the miso-mushroom broth pot, cover, and maintain at a very gentle simmer.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium for 3 minutes. Add the onions and dry sauté for a few minutes, stirring as the onions release their water and begin to darken the pan. Deglaze the pan with a few tablespoons of miso-mushroom broth, scraping up the caramelized sugars that have adhered to the pan. Add the cooked mushrooms, thyme, and minced garlic. Cover and cook them for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more broth if the mix dries.
  • Raise the heat of the soup pot to medium and add the carrots and parsnips, bringing them to a simmer.  When the onions and mushrooms are cooked, add them to the soup pot. When all the vegetables are tender but intact, about 5 minutes, remove the bay and peppercorn pouch, and add the sorrel leaves, peas, and scallions. Season with grinds of pepper to your taste. Cook a few minutes longer to allow all the flavors to meld. Taste to correct seasonings. Remove from the heat and stir in the dill and parsley.
  • Serve hot, and plate with a nice dollop of strained “smetana” soy yogurt.

 

Ukrainian Mushroom Soup with Dumplings

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