Hungarian Mushroom Soup and homemade bread warm the soul. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Not only can a bowl of Hungarian Mushroom Soup soothe the savage beasties in your household, but this fragrant ambrosia can also be thickened a bit more with the addition of a tad more flour and/or sour cream for a company-worthy sauce for baked chicken, steak cooked in a skillet or can be spooned over a burger. Be sure to serve those burgers between toasted slices of this incredibly easy, no-knead bread. It can be stirred together in the evening before you go off to dreamland and then baked the following day.

For this lovely crunchy-crusted bread, you’ll need a Dutch oven. If you don’t have such a thing as this in your kitchen, you are going to want to borrow one or buy one ASAP. My red 3.5-quart Le Creuset beauty, well-loved and completely broken in, was gifted to me by a wonderful elderly neighbor who has completely retired from cooking. Not only do I use it for countless loaves, but for many batches of soups and stews of all sorts. I feel incredibly grateful to have this accoutrement – and the kind friend who gave it to me – in my life and fondly remember all the many times we shared a delicious meal together at her Cundy’s Harbor home.

And hey, loveys, since Thanksgiving is coming down the pike, I’m providing you with a new pie recipe every week this month so you can stockpile them and have time to do a test run before Turkey Day. Enjoy!

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

6 ounces Portobello mushrooms, sliced
12 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
3 cups vegetable or beef stock
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
3-4 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Melt butter in the bottom of a soup kettle. Add onions, mushrooms, garlic and half the pepper and dill. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mushrooms and onions are tender.

Add flour slowly and stir to make a roux. Cook for 5 minutes. Add stock, soy sauce and milk. Cook until slightly thickened. Add remainder of pepper and the lemon juice. Heat gently so the soup doesn’t curdle.

Add sour cream just before serving and adjust seasoning. Garnish with the remainder of the dill. Yield: 8 servings

Dutch Oven Bread

3 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon warm (110 degree) water

In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt and yeast. Add warm water and stir to combine.

Cover the bowl with cling wrap (poke a small hole in the plastic) and let it rise overnight or for at least 8 hours in a warm spot in the kitchen.

When you’re ready to bake the bread, place a 3.5-quart Dutch oven (with the lid on) in a cold oven and preheat it to 450 degrees. When the oven is up to temperature, carefully remove the (very hot) lid from the Dutch oven, lay a piece of parchment paper over the top of the pot, and drop the dough on top of the paper. The weight of the dough will push the paper into the pot.

Place the lid on the pot and bake for 35 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes.

Allow the bread to cool in the Dutch oven for 10 minutes then move to a cooling rack. Yield: 1 medium-sized boule

Apple-Cranberry Streusel Pie

Pastry for 9-inch single-crust pie
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 cups apples, peeled and sliced
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup light cream
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place pastry in pie pan. Do not prick the bottom and sides of the pastry. Line pastry with heavy-duty foil. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes until golden. Let cool.

Turn oven temperature down to 375 degrees. Pour boiling water over cranberries and allow to stand for 5 minutes; drain. Combine cranberries and apples. Place in pastry. Mix together sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, spices, lemon peel and salt. Stir in cream. Pour over apples and cranberries.

For the topping, combine 1/3 cup flour, nuts, brown sugar and spices. Cut in butter to make crumbs. Sprinkle over filling.
Cover pie edge with a strip of foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 10-15 more minutes until topping is browned and apples are tender and bubbling. Yield: 8 servings

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