The Time Is Now

Support local, independent reporting.

Help the city we love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

JOIN NOW

The Kenny & Zuke's Chef Reveals How to Make His Much-Loved Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Compared to many of the soups I learned in Paris, it’s also a reasonably fast, easy and inexpensive recipe perfect for making at home.

By Ken Gordon @kennyandzukes

Few foods have the versatility of soups. They run the gamut from vegan to meat-laden, healthful to comfort food-rich. Some are complex and planned, others a fridge-cleaning-out hodgepodge of improvisation.

Everything I know about soup I learned while cooking in Paris, working under an old-school chef from Normandy who had spent a two-year apprenticeship doing nothing but preparing soups. He taught me about consommés and veloutes, thick porridges and light airy broths, stews and provincial porridges of vegetables and herbs. A master at extracting the maximum flavors from each ingredient, he passed his craft on to me.

I'd like to think the soups we make at my Jewish deli, Kenny & Zuke's, honor his legacy. And of those soups, there's no question about the most popular.

Our Hungarian mushroom soup has been on the menu since we opened, nearly a decade ago now. It has a loyal following that forbids ever removing it from the menu, even if we wanted to—which we don't.

Compared to many of the soups I learned in Paris, it's also a reasonably fast, easy and inexpensive recipe perfect for making at home. Willamette Week asked me to share the recipe.

Ingredients

3 large yellow onions, peeled and diced
2 peeled carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
1/2 pound of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 pounds crimini or white mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, cook diced onions, carrots and celery in unsalted butter, until the vegetables are softened. Stir in garlic and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Season lightly with salt and black pepper, stirring occasionally. Don't allow the vegetables to color. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add mushrooms. Stir frequently until mushrooms are cooked through. Season again. Sprinkle with paprika and dried thyme. (Note: Thyme is one of the few herbs I think are good dried, but if you want to use fresh, use a bit more and add it toward the end.) Stir to mix well.

Turn the heat back to medium and sprinkle with flour. Stir well and keep stirring for 4 to 5 minutes while cooking, coating the mixture well and making sure the flour, which has now formed a roux with the butter, doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. Add 2 quarts of hot water and stir well. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, and cook for about 10 minutes or so. Add a cup of heavy cream and bring back to a simmer. Correct the seasoning and serve. Should serve up to a dozen people.

Note: There are some customizations you can do to make this a bit finer, such as adding some wild mushrooms into the mix, or a little dry sherry a few minutes before the soup is finished. Feel free.

Another note: You'll notice I season often. I don't really add any more salt than I would if I just seasoned all at once, but seasoning each element of a dish as you go along gives more layers to the flavor of your food.

Ken Gordon is the owner and chef at Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen, 1038 SW Stark St., 503-222-3354, and Bagelworks, 2376 NW Thurman St., 503-954-1737, kennyandzukes.com.

Welcome to the Soup Issue

Why Are Tokyo Ramen Shops Suddenly Taking Over Portland?

We Tried 39 Bowls of Portland Ramen—These Are the Very Best, By Style

Pono Farm's Shabu Shabu Takes Portland Hot Pot To A New Level

Are You Confused About Hot Pot? Here's How Long You Should Cook Everything For

Tournant's Pozole Night is a Soul-Warming Event Built On Locally Made Hominy

The Epic Journey of the Family Behind Ha VL, Portland's Most Famous Broth Masters

Three Soups At Ha VL You Must Try

Jacqueline Is Reviving Cioppino, The West Coast's Sloppiest, Spiciest, Fishiest Soup

Lagman Is the Ramen of Central Asia, And One of Portland's Rarest Exotic Soups

The Kenny & Zuke's Chef Reveals How to Make His Much-Loved Hungarian Mushroom Soup

The XLB Soup Dumpling Craze Is Finally Coming To Portland

This Is How To Eat An XLB Like A Pro

Hey, Willamette Week Is Having a Soup Recipe Contest