Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Ukrainian Mushroom Soup with Dumplings
Here is a vegan rendering of a beautiful Ukrainian-inspired soup, rich in flavor, comforting and delicious. Full of woodsy mushrooms and herbs, it also features sorrel, which lends lemony undertones. Smetana (sour cream) is ubiquitous in Ukrainian cooking, but for this soup soy yogurt is a lovely, healthier vegan alternative. Ukrainians love dumplings, and their traditions offer a dizzying array of sweet and savory stuffed vereniki. Halushki are homey, simple wheat dumplings, easy to make, fun to eat, and enjoyed in soups like this one or instead, served like pasta with sautéed aromatics, herbs, and vegetable toppings. These vegan halushki are made with white whole wheat flour and soy yogurt instead of refined flour, eggs, or butter. The soup certainly stands on its own without the dumplings. If time is short, you might want to. But for a heartier, satisfying meal in a bowl, I’d leave them in. Besides, kids of all ages will have fun helping you make them.
Prep time 30 minutes to prep the halushki and mushrooms + 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Serves 5 to 6
3 cups unsweetened soy yogurt, strained 2 hours to thicken for a garnish
150 grams (about ½ cup +1 tablespoon) unsweetened soy yogurt, drained
195 grams white whole wheat flour (about 1 ½ 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
1 large red onion, cut in medium dice
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dry thyme leaves
2 large bay leaves
10 whole peppercorns
2 large carrots, cut in ¼-inch rounds
2 large parsnips, sliced
2 bunches sorrel, lower stems trimmed or 2 bunches 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 to a square of unbleached muslin. Tie it up with string and suspend the bag over the sink to drain or place the bag in a strainer over a bowl and allow the whey to drain over 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, freshly grind the flaxseed and stir it and the shiro miso into the drained soy yogurt. Mix in only as much white whole wheat flour as required to create a soft, somewhat sticky dough. Transfer to a board and knead for about 8 minutes, sprinkling additional flour as needed to create a soft, smooth dough. Keep the dough slightly tacky and not at all stiff to make the halushki tender. Cover with 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 hands, you can roll each dough ball flat on the 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. Or use a rolling pin to flatten the dough about ¼-inch thick and cut them into ½ to 3/4-inch wide by 1½ to 2-inch long strips.
Boil 2 quarts of water, seasoned with aka (red) miso to taste. Drop the raw halushki together with the whole mushrooms into the boiling pot all together and stir. The dumplings cook in just a minute or two, rising to the top. Cook them for 1 minute longer and use a slotted spoon or strainer to transfer them to a bowl. Leave the mushrooms to cook for 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 the pouch to the miso-mushroom broth pot, cover, and maintain at a very gentle simmer for now.
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 mushrooms, thyme, and minced garlic. Cover and cook them for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally adding more broth if the mix dries,
As the onions and mushrooms cook, raise the temperature of the soup pot to medium and add the carrots and parsnips, bringing them to simmer. When the onions and mushrooms are ready, add the mix to the 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 for a final few minutes to meld the flavors. 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 soy yogurt.
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