Hungarian sour cherry soup (meggyleves)

When I was a little girl I used to go to the farmers’ market with my grandmother to sell her goods. I was in charge of the fruits. Whatever I was able to pick the day before, I could sell. I loved climbing up the tree and picking the fruits. We took the train to the nearest town where the market was. So of course I sold the cherries and the sour cherries too. I remember I used to wonder though why the heck people got so excited about sour cherries, why not just buy the delicious sweet cherries. Well, try this soup and you will understand too :).

Honestly, nothing tastes as good as a bowl of cold sour cherry soup on a hot day. Sour cherry soup originated in Hungary and is popular in many Central European countries. I added a small amount of ginger, cloves and cinnamon to offset the sweetness and sourness of the cherries and orange peel and salt to balance it out nicely. At the end, I thickened the soup with egg yolks. Oh and I added in a bit of alcohol, more exactly white wine and brandy (pálinka). The alcohol content will boil away so no worries, kids can have it too. 

The main ingredient is the sour cheeries. If you have a tree growing in your back yard, it is the best source for picking for sure. I have seen it in health food stores, farmers’ markets and some specilty shops too but otherwise it will be most likely hard to get fresh. You can get frozen sour cherries, they will work well as long as they are tasty, of course. Also, you can use soft cherries too but the harder kind, the bing cherries will not work. I leave the pit in but take the stems off. In addition to the cherries, I like to add some goose berries to the soup, too.

Enjoy some Hungarian folk music while you are having the soup … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiv06rzysaU

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of sour cherries or soft cherries (Please see note above).
  • 1 cup of goose berries, optional
  • water
  • 1/2-1 cup of sugar (depending on your taste)
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp orange peel
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger (chopped)
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick (avoid powdered cinnamon)
  • 3-5 pieces of cloves
  • 1-2 cup of white wine (Vermouth is fine) (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp of brandy (cherry would be ideal but others are fine too)
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • whipped cream for serving

Directions

  • Wash the cherries.
  • Put them into a medium sized pot along with the sugar, orange peel and lemon slices.
  • Cover with water. Water should be about about 1-2 inches above the cherries.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat without the lid. Bring to a boil and continue cooking as you add the cloves, cinnamon, ginger, wine, brandy and and cook for 5 more minutes on medium low heat with the lid on. We add the ginger, cinnamon and cloves in later because they only need 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Turn off the heat. Remember to wait for 5 minutes before adding the egg yolk mixture.
  • Mix the yolk with a little liquid from the soup. As I mentioned earlier, after 5 minutes, add the egg yolk mixture. Stir gently so it is mixed nicely in the soup.
  • Let the pot cool on the counter leaving the cinnamon and the cloves in.
  • Chill in the refrigerator overnight but atleast for a couple of hours.
  • Take out the large spice pieces.
  • Serve cold with whipped cream.

enjoy!

Text, photos, recipe by twincitiesgerbs.com.

Kohlrabi soup (karalábé leves)

Yes Kohlrabi soup! … a simple and tasty soup! I am vacationing at my parents’ house and rediscovering this interesting vegetable. My mom apparently used to make it when we were kids but looks like it didn’t get my attention back then. I do throw it into soups in the summer but have never thought of using it as a main ingredient. What an amazing soup with an interesting flavor. Honestly, when I heard she made kohlrabi soup, I can’t belive but I actually told her that the kids will not eat it. Well to my biggest surprise, my kids loved it and asked for seconds! So I think I can add, it is a kid friendly soup as well.

Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea) is in the Brassica family as its Latin name also suggests and is related to cabbages, broccoli etc. Yes, they do look different but they are in the same family. Kohlrabi is popular in the Northern European countries. The word has a German origin and the Germans have brought it over to the US back in the 1800’s. It is a cross between wild cabbages (kohl) and turnips (rabi). There are several varieties and can be purplish and white greenish in color. I personally like the purple one for its beautiful vibrant color but there is no difference in flavor. They tend to be ready late spring and early summer. If they are left on the vine too long, they get too big and woody. Try to pick them on time to avoid this as it can effect the flavor and also buy the smaller or medium sized ones avoiding the larger ones. The meaty part above the ground is used in general but the leaves are edible, too. In fact, the leaves have even more vitamins and minerals than the meaty part. Kohlrabi has a distinct earthy, nutty flavor and is mildly sweet and pairs well with the sweet carrots.

The recipe

Ingredients

  • oil (I used sunflower seed)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 medium sized kohlrabi or 4 smaller ones, shaved with a cheese grader
  • 1 medium sized carrot cut into long or circular pieces
  • 1 tsp curry powder or 1 tsp carraway seed and 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
  • chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup of millet or rice
  • croutons or twice baked bread pieces
  • parsley or lovage
  • salt to taste

Directions

  • †Make the stock
  • Peel the kohlrabi and shave it on a grader, – this is my mom’s secret. She claims that the shaved pieces make this soup pleasant instead of cutting them into chunks. You can keep the leaves from the top and put them in the soup as well.
  • Peel the carrots and cut them into small pieces.
  • Satué the kohlrabi in a little oil for 5-10 minutes. Add the curry and the paprika in for about 20 seconds, stir and add a little cold water, stir. If you don’t use curry, you can add caraway seeds and marjoram here.
  • Add the carrots and the millet and cover well with the stock. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat for 20 minutes. The millet needs 20 minutes to cook.
  • Serve hot with the croutons, parsley and hot pepper.

Enjoy!

Source:

https://www.hazipatika.com/taplalkozas/zoldseg_gyumolcs/cikkek/karalabe_az_eltekozolt_levelek/20080110163701?autorefreshed=1

Hungarian sugar snap pea soup (zöldborsó leves)

We just celebrated the Summer Solstice and suitably sugar peas are ready!  When I can make pea soup, I know summer is here. So why is pea soup so special? We can buy frozen peas all year long. Yes, it is true but we cannot make Hungarian pea soup with frozen peas alone, we need the fresh shells as well. This nourishing soup is mildly sweet and refreshing.

This soup brings back some very nice memories. My mother and my paternal grandmother also made it. We had it regularly in the summer. Unfortunately, these vegetables are becoming harder and harder to find. You will not be able to find them at supermarkets easily. However, they should be readily available at farmers’ markets and health food stores. Or just simply grow them in your garden. Again, the tastier your vegis, the better your soup will be!

RECIPE

Ingredients for the soup

  • 2 lbs of sugar snap peas with the shells
  • about 3 Tbsp of oil (I like sunflower)
  • 1 tsp of sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 6 stalks of fresh carrots
  • 1-2 kohlrabies
  • 1 tsp of salt or to taste
  • parsley
  • red hot pepper to taste (optional)
soup stock
dumplings

Ingredients for the dumplings (csipetke)

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of flour, possibly more
  • 1 tsp of oil

Directions

  • Start shelling the peas. Put the shells and the peas in separate bowls.
  • Wash the shells and put them into a larger pot. Add 3 stalks of carrots and 1 kohlrabi and enough water to cover all vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook on medium high heat for about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the dumplings (csipetke). This can be a little tricky. Lightly whisk the egg, add the salt and the oil. Start slowly adding the flour, enough so it forms a ball. You don’t want it to fall apart in the soup but you also don’t want it to be hard as rock. Try to find something in-between. The amount of flour really depends on how much the egg takes up. Once you found the right consistency, keep kneading it for about 5 minutes. Let the dough rise for at least 15 minutes.
  • Have 1/2 cup of cold water ready for the soup.
  • You can start the soup by now. Heat up the oil in a medium sized pot with a heavier bottom. When ready, put in the peas and stir. You sauté the peas for 5-10 minutes in the oil (the younger ones for less, the older ones longer). Make sure there is enough oil for the flour. Add the flour and stir. This thickens the soup. Then in 1 minute you can add the paprika and stir. This activates the paprika. In 20-30seconds add the cold water and stir making sure there are no lumps in the soup.
  • Add the pea shell stock. Make sure the solids are strained from the liquid.
  • Clean and scrape the outside of the carrots. Cut them up into bite sizes.
  • Peel the kohlrabi and cut it into small, bite sizes.
  • Put the carrots and the kohlrabi in the soup.
  • Bring to a boil and cook on medium low heat for about 20-30 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, we will make the dumplings.
  • Bring 1 quart of water to a boil for the dumplings.
  • Meanwhile, cut the dough into 6 long pieces and roll each to finger thickness. Each will make about a 6 inch long dough. With your thumb and index finger you can pinch a little piece off the dough or you can use a knife for this too. ‘Csipet’ means ‘pinch of’ in Hungarian hence where the name csipetke for this dumpling came from. When the water starts boiling, you can start putting these small pieces of dumpling in the boiling water. They should be ready in a few minutes when they come up to the surface of the water. Sample one to make sure they are ready. Strain off water and serve in the soup. If the dumplings are too hard, no worries! You can put them in the soup for a short time and they will get softer as they soak up a little liquid.
  • When soup is ready, add the salt, and hot pepper.
  • Serve hot with parsley.

enjoy!

Sources

George Lang: George Lang’s Cuisine of Hungary

Paul Pitchford: Healing with Whole Foods

Hot and sour burdock soup

When I go to Asian restaurants, I always wish I could make their foods. Well, here is one that can be easily made!

Spring is here! In the Midwest, one of the first edible foods in nature is Burdock root. A great way to include burdock in your diet is to make a soup with the roots. Asian cooks rave about their burdock soups that they make in the spring. I’m presenting a burdock root soup here that is inspired by Rosalee de la Foret’s blog. Well, here is one dish that can be easily made! There is really nothing exotic about this soup, all the ingredients can be found here in the US.

The website to the original recipe: https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/hot-and-sour-soup-recipe/

As we transition from the winter into spring, it is important to pay attention to our digestion. Heavy foods in the winter might be clogging our livers that can lead to some dreaded health problems in the spring like fevers and tiredness. We tend to eat heavier foods during the winter months but now as our livers are waking up, our body is ready to embark on something lighter and easier to digest. The spring season is the time to attend to the liver and the gallbladder. Our body tends to cleanse itself naturally as we eat less. In addition, it is nice to add some bitter plants that aid the liver to accomplish this process. Our ancestors ate a lot of bitters in the spring. One of these spring bitters is burdock.

Burdock is a lovely plant. It has a distinct flavor. It is earthy, slightly sweet, and bitter. The bitter flavor is lacking in our diet today and is what our liver needs at this time. It cools and clears the stagnation that was caused by the heavier winter foods. Oh and one more … it is also aphrodisiac! So yes! … you can make it for your date dinner, too!

This soup works great in the spring. The burdock’s earthy, heavier flavor pairs nicely with the carrot’s sweet and light flavor. In addition to bitter flavor, the liver also needs the sour flavor that it gets from this sour dish as well. This soup is a big favorite in our family, yes even the kids like it. Perhaps it is because of its interesting, well balanced flavors. In fact, it has all five flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and pungent!

Ingredients

  • 1 qt (or more to well cover the vegetables) of home-made stock (vegetable or pork, beef, chicken, fish). For the meat stock recipe, please refer to my Stuffed Cabbage recipe.
  • 1 cup of shredded burdock root (peeled and shredded through the largest holes of your grader) – if you don’t have it in your backyard, it is available at farmers’ markets, co-ops or also from Harmony Valley in Veroqua, WI.
  • 2 cup of shredded carrot (peeled and shredded)
  • 2 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp of minced ginger
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms (like morelle, shitake)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 4 Tbsp of water
  • 4 Tbsp of rice or white vinegar
  • 2 lightly beaten egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • scallions
  • soy sauce
  • hard boiled eggs
  • hot red pepper or sriracha sauce (optional)

Recipe

  1. Bring stock to a boil.
  2. Add carrots, Burdock roots, mushrooms, the crushed garlic and ginger. After it boils, turn it down to low medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add vinegar and the cornstarch mixture. Keep stirring it becomes thick for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir egg yolk in gently. Add salt and hot red pepper (optional).
  5. Serve in a deep bowl. Garnish with scallions and add soy sauce to taste.
  6. You can add hard boiled eggs too. Bring some water in a pot to a boil and add the eggs at room temperature. Boil them for 7 and a half minutes. Take them out and put them into cold water. Peel and serv. If the eggs are cold, straight out of the fridge then the cooking time is 8 minutes.

Enjoy!

Sources: