In honor of all our Polish friends who are tromping in the forest, foraging for mushrooms, I give you a Polish Mushroom Soup – zupa grzybowa. This is a soup with many variations. You should feel free to personalize it to your tastes and to the contents of your own pantry. I’ve followed the recommendations from Ania Gotuje.
Mushroom soup made with a vegetable broth is often part of the Wigilia menu on Christmas Eve, a meat-free meal, but you can also make this with beef or chicken broth.
I’ve made other mushroom soups. I have one inspired by a mushroom soup from Emeril’s Restaurant in Orlando, FL. In comparison, my Polish version has a soupier broth and a more intense mushroom flavor.
You can make Polish mushroom soup with fresh or dried mushrooms:
- Fresh mushrooms – use 1.3 pounds (8 cups or 600g)
- Dried mushrooms – use 2.5 – 3.5 ounces (70 – 100 g), if you’re using dried mushrooms, they’ll need several hours or overnight to reconstitute.
I only had 60g of dried mushrooms, so I also added a couple of cups of fresh white button and oyster mushroom slices. It was fantastic!
Ania Gotuje suggested adding cooked pasta to your soup bowl or adding potatoes to the soup to cook alongside the carrots. We tried all the variations. We tried two different pasta shapes. Small shells were the winner in the pasta category at our house. (Although, Martha Stewart likes orzo pasta). The shells fit so nicely on your spoon and hold a bit of the broth inside the shell, perfection!
The pasta is cooked separately and added to the soup bowl just before adding the soup. If you cooked the pasta in the soup, it would become mushy as it continued to absorb all of the broth. This way both the broth and the pasta stay pristine.
We also tried the soup with diced potato, also an excellent choice! The potatoes add something to the broth that just makes it seem richer. It might not make sense to add two starches to the soup, but we just might the next time we prepare it. Both the shells and potato were great add-ins.
I know mushrooms aren’t for everyone, but if you like mushrooms, you have to try this soup. The flavor is amazing.
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Made with fresh and/or dried mushrooms, Polish Mushroom Soup is so full of flavor!
- 1.3 pounds or 8 cups sliced (600g) fresh mushrooms or 2.5 – 3.5 ounces (70-100g) of dried mushrooms (that have been soaked in water for hours or overnight and drained, save the liquid)
- 1 large onion (140g)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 4 cups broth, vegetable, poultry, beef (1 liter)
- 4 small or 1 very large Russet potatoes – 1 pound (450g), optional if you’re adding pasta
- 2 large or 4 medium carrots – 1/2 pound (220g)
- a handful of fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- pasta cooked according to package directions (optional)
- Chop the mushrooms and set aside. Dice the onion and add to a large frying pan with 2 tablespoons of butter and the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until the onions are becoming translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. If you’re using all fresh mushrooms, you will need to cook in batches (until they shrink up a bit) or to use a very large frying pan.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, add the broth to a large pot. Peel and dice the potatoes (if you’re using them), peel and slice the carrots, add both to the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetable are tender (you should be able to easily insert a fork into them).
- Add the mushroom mixture, the dill, and the marjoram to the soup pot and simmer for 5 minutes. If you used dried mushrooms, you may add some of the soaking liquid now. I added 1 1/2 cups of the liquid to my soup. It makes the broth much darker and adds a lot to the flavor. Be careful not to add all of the liquid. There is often a little sand or grit from the dried mushrooms that settles to the bottom of the liquid. (You can always freeze the liquid and use it in other mushroom dishes.)
- To thicken the soup, in the mushroom pan, add a tablespoon of butter and the flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Slowly add 3 or 4 ladles of the soup broth, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the heavy cream. Add this to the soup, stirring or whisking until incorporated to slightly thicken the broth. Cook the soup for just a few more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The amount of salt in your broth will determine the amount of additional salt needed.
- If you’ve chosen to add pasta, add cooked pasta to the bowls, then fill with soup.
To reconstitute dried mushrooms, add them to a tall vessel and cover with water for several hours or overnight. Place something, a glass or a bowl, on top of the mushrooms to keep them submerged.
It’s normal for some grit to fall from the dried mushrooms as they’re soaking in water. When using the soaking liquid, you might want to “decant” it. Slowly pour it off, leaving some liquid and sediment in the container.
You could use sour cream instead of heavy cream, just be sure not to not to boil after adding the sour cream.
Some people like to add lemon juice or a small amount of white vinegar to make the soup tart.
Keywords: Polish mushroom soup, zupa grzybowa
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.