Old family recipes make the most satisfying meals and are always a hit with family and friends. Here are some of Stephanie's favorites.
Sour Mushroom Soup is a Christmas Eve Tradition
Families of all nationalities have traditional holiday foods, and these traditions are carried on from one generation to the next. In my family, we celebrated Christmas Eve with my Polish grandparents, aunts, uncle and cousins. Family members gathered together for the traditional meal which was followed by exchanging gifts. Later in the night, most of the family went together to Christmas Eve midnight mass, often coming home for another round of coffee and Christmas cookies.
Christmas Day was also a celebration in our household. Children received their gifts from Santa and their Christmas stockings on Christmas morning, but it was Christmas Eve dinner with its traditional foods that was the main event of the holiday season for us.
When my Grandmother was directing the event, the dinner included many courses: sour mushroom soup with mashed potatoes, poached fish, sauerkraut with lima beans, kielbasa, and a variety of pierogies. Later, homemade babka with sweet butter and beautiful Christmas cookies were served with coffee and punch.
Christmas Eve cooking began in the early morning as we gathered to make pirogies with five different fillings. This was a family undertaking, as everyone took part in the pierogi making. Later in the afternoon, other dishes were prepared including the wonderful Sour Mushroom Soup that was served at the start of the meal.
This mushroom soup is a favorite of my husband (who doesn't like mushrooms, by the way) and my grandson, so when I make it, I always plan for extra to serve later in the week.
Cooking traditional foods is often passed down through the generations and is done by taste and experience rather than by a written recipe.
Polish Mushroom Soup Recipe
Many wonderful cooks from around the world cook by taste and experience rather than by measurements and written instructions. My mother and grandmother were from that school of cooking, so getting a written recipe was not an easy task. The recipe below is a combination of their verbal instructions and my own ad-libing. I believe that the soup is very close to the one my grandmother made for Christmas Eve dinner.
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly (my mother used dried mushrooms)
- 1 pkgs. of dry Mushroom and Onion soup mix (I use Lipton's)
- 2 quarts of water
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of butter
- 2 chopped onions
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup sour cream
Instructions for Sour Mushroom Soup
In a large soup pot, add the dried soup mix to 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Mix in the vinegar, starting with a 1/4 cup and adding more according to taste. Simmer for 10 to 20 minutes while you fry the onions and mushrooms.
Fry the chopped onion in 3 or 4 tablespoons of butter until it's golden. Sprinkle onions with a teaspoon or so of salt as they cook. ( I never measure, just dash it in) Scrape onions into the stock pot and fry the sliced mushrooms in another 4 tablespoons of butter. When the mushrooms are cooked, add to the stock pot with any juices in the pan. Salt and pepper to taste.
Let this mixture simmer on the back of the stove to blend flavors. Although it doesn't really have to be cooked much longer, we usually make this a few hours ahead of time so that we can do other last minute chores.
Mashed Potatoes for Soup
This soup is always served with a dollop of mashed potatoes in it. Since the soup is quite sour, the blandness of the potatoes bring a lovely balance to each spoonful. When we make mashed potato filling for our pirogues, I always make extra to serve in the soup. Otherwise, mash potatoes with some fried onion, butter and milk and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the soup to boiling point. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and gradually add a couple of ladles of hot soup, whisking constantly. Pour the soup/egg mixture back into the hot soup in the pot and stir together bringing it back to a boil, then turn back heat to a very low simmer just to keep it hot. Taste and add salt, pepper or more vinegar if needed. We always like the soup quite tart.
Just before serving, whisk a ladle of hot soup with the sour cream, and then stir the mixture back into the soup. Keep soup warm, but do not boil it again. (When reheating the soup later, if you accidentally do boil it, it may curdle a little, but that won't affect the flavor.)
Serve soup with a dollop of mashed potatoes. We always have extra mashed potatoes left from our pierogi filings, and just reheat them for the soup. I always have to remind everyone that there's more food coming up or they would make a meal out of this!
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
© 2010 Stephanie Henkel
Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on December 02, 2011:
Gryphin - I hope your mother enjoys it! She may even have her own version of this sour mushroom soup. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!
gryphin423 from Florida on December 02, 2011:
Sounds like a great soup, and my mother being Polish I will have to make it for her! Thanks for sharing, great hub!
Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on May 05, 2011:
MSantana, Yes, I love mushrooms, and I especially love this sour mushroom soup. It is very delicious! Thanks for reading my hub and commenting.
MSantana from Madison Wisconsin on May 05, 2011:
I am always enchanted when I found someone who likes mushrooms! They are the most fascinating creatures and delicious or deadly too...all the more interesting!
I have a series on Gardening for wildlife: for hummingbirds and other creatures that you may like. I will be your happy reader for the parks :-)
PaperNotes on November 24, 2010:
Yummy soup! It seems that even your cat cannot say no to the merry colors and warmth of Christmas.
Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 21, 2010:
Give it a try. Our kids all like it a lot! Thanks for visiting my hub!
Sabrina Yuquan Chen (陈玉泉) from Boston, MA, USA on November 20, 2010:
My kids used to love mushrooms, and now they both hate them. Wonder if this sour mushroom soup can change something, sounds yummy anyway, hehe
Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 19, 2010:
Alternative Prime and Patty, thanks for visiting my hub. My family loves this soup; I hope yours does, too! It is different.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 19, 2010:
This sounds very good and I am going to try it. Rated up!
Alternative Prime from > California on November 19, 2010:
Sounds like a very 'Delicious' tradition. Very interesting recipe, think I'll give it a try...Thanks for sharing...
Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 18, 2010:
If you visit, I'll make some for you. :)
Reading all the Christmas recipes is making me hungry, too! Thanks for visiting my hub.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 18, 2010:
This sounds good! Have any extra sour mushroom soup? We'll be there! Haha! We love mushrooms and onions.
Your Christmas Eve celebration sounds similar to ours with the meal, presents and late Mass. Enjoyed reading this hub. Voted up!