Russian Mushroom and Potato Soup

This soup is one of my absolute comfort foods; its great for holidays, too, and isn’t difficult to make.  Fresh dill works well with cold dishes, but doesn’t impart the correct flavor in cooked.  Use freshly dried dill: its pungency makes this soup unforgettable. The salt content is a matter of choice, and of how much salt if any is in the vegetable broth.  Potato-based dishes need more seasoning because potatoes absorb the salt, but be careful you don’t over do it! I’ve successfully doubled and tripled this recipe for guests.   This is a heavier dish, so serve smaller portions with fresh rolls and maybe just fresh fruit or a light side salad.  Yum! 

5 Tblsp.  Butter or butter replacement such as Earth Balance, or vegetable oil, divided

2 large shallots

2 large carrots, sliced thinly

6 cups vegetable broth

2 teaspoons dried dill weed (use freshly dried!)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt to taste

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and diced

1 pound fresh mushrooms (use a mix), sliced

1 cup half and half or water

¼ cup all-purpose flour

Fresh dill (optional) for garnish

Melt 3 tablespoons butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Mix in shallots and carrots.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Pour in broth.  Season with dill, salt, pepper and bay leaf.  Mix in potatoes, cover and cook 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but firm.  Remove and discard the bay leaf.

Melt the remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat, and sauté the mushrooms 5 minutes, until lightly browned and have given off moisture but not dried.  Stir into the soup.

In a small bowl, mix the half-and-half or water and flour until smooth.  Stir into soup to thicken.  Add more salt if needed.  Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh dill to serve.

Serves 8 main dishes.

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