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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ciorbă de burtă falsă (Romanian shiitake and chantarellus mushroom soup)

The Romanian "Ciorbă de burtă" is a rich soup with pork belly strips, served with vinegar and garlic cream to taste, very popular around our country, a staple in restaurants etc. This is a still traditional but vegetarian version of it, made during lent in Romanian households, translated as "Fake ciorbă de burtă".
Personally I never liked the one with pork belly because I find those boiled strips of meat disgusting, though I always admitted the broth topping them was pretty good (mainly because of the addition of vinegar and garlic cream). But the vegetarian version using chanterellus mushrooms has always been a favorite of mine. Here I made it also with a bit of shiitake mushrooms given their special "vegan bacon" flavor which they release when properly cooked.
You should really try it, trust me, it's not famous for nothing :).

Last year: Crispy duck with five spices (Chinese).
Two years ago: Tapenade, wild mushroom and red onion galette (vegan).
Three years ago: Romanian and Moldavian "Tochitura" with polenta.

Ingredients (serves 6-7):
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 tablespoon goose fat (optional, skip it if you want to keep it vegetarian)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 200 g bio shiitake 
  • 300 g chanterells
  • 2,5 liters vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon hungarian paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 400 g sour cream (23% fat)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • some white balsamic vinegar to serve
  • For the garlic paste (called "mujdei"):
    • 4-5 garlic cloves
    • 1/3 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
    • 80-100 g sour cream 

    First of all, chop the onion and carrot and fry them in the olive oil (plus goose fat for extra flavor, if using), in a large pot.

    Stir and saute until softened, then add the paprika and stir well. Fry for 2 more minutes, then add the soup stock and all the mushrooms, cut into slices or long strips.

    Let them boil for 10-15 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat. In a separate bowl, mix together the yolks and sour cream into a paste:

    Get 1/4 of a cup of hot soup and gradually incorporate it in the cream, continuously stirring. Continue to incorporate more broth until you have about 0.5 liters of creamy liquid. Then pour it all in the main soup pot (again, gradually and stirring). It's ready.

    Make the garlic paste by crushing the cloves with the oil and salt in a mortar and pestle (traditionally called in Northern Moldova and Bucovina "scăciță"). When it all seems to be a paste also add the cream and mix well.
    To serve, transfer the soup to bowls and let everyone add a bit of vinegar and garlic cream to their liking. Dig in! Pofta buna ("Bon apetit" in Romanian) :)

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