Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gypsies, tramps and thieves........

My grandmother, Maggie Hart, was terrified of gypsies. My sister Judy remembers when she was little that Grandma would worry herself sick if one of us was playing outside unsupervised, because the "gypsies" might steal us.

We lived out in the country in a time when gypsies really did travel from house to house peddling their homemade pots and pans. I've always thought of gypsies as being Romanian, but, in fact, there were several nationalies represented. Each of them specialized in different things. The Rom arrived in the United States from Serbia, Austria and Austria-Hungary in the late 1880s in the huge wave of immigration from Eastern Europe. They were coppersmiths, and in addition to home cookware, they also made equipment for bakeries, laundries, confectionries and other businesses. The Rom have also been credited with introducing the art of fortune-telling. I assume that this group was the one that my grandmother knew about.

The many different groups of gypsies, or travelers, included Black Dutch, Hungarian, Romnichels, Scottish and Irish travelers, and Ludar. You can read about them at The Gypsy Lore Society

In honor of the gypsies that my grandmother feared, I'm posting the recipe for this wonderful soup. I have no idea if it has roots in Hungary, but I do know it is delicious and we love it, especially with a good crusty bread.


3/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
12 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 teaspoons dried dillweed
2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3-14-ounce cans beef broth (5 /14 cups)
1 1/3 cups half-and-half (or whipping cream, if you dare)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce

1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven, cook onion in hot butter over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, dillweed, paprika, garlic and pepper. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until mushrooms are just tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in beef broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the half-and-half or whipping cream, flour, sour cream, lemon juice and soy sauce until smooth. Gradually whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot mushroom mixture. Add all of the cream mixture to the remaining mushroom mixture in Dutch oven. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook 1 minute more.

Note: This came from Midwest Living Magazine which got it from Sibley Station, a restaurant in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota.


Wrensong Farm said...

Thank you for the great post! I have always been fascinated with the Gypsy
lifestyle and even named my horse Gypsy.:) Great pic of one of their beautiful wagons!

My grandmother told me that her family was from Gypsy heritage and I always wanted to go back to Europe and meet them.

More recently I have been curious about the Travellers and their beautiful horses. (The movie Into the West inspired me):)

I'll have to give that recipe a try!

Susan said...
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Susan said...

Tammy, I haven't seen that movie and didn't realize it had Travelers in it. Now I want to see it. I wish I could remember half the stuff that my sister does, but she's nine years older and had our grandmother a lot longer.

You won't regret trying the's easy and yummy!

Amy said...

My paternal grandmother was Hungarian and lived in the east Toledo. She married a full-blooded Frenchman (interesting blend). If you're familiar with the term "east side hunkie" you know my family roots. There may very well be some gypsy blood in me too.

Anyhoo, my whole point of this was to say that I have an appreciation for really good food. Grandma and her sisters all made Hungarian pastries from scratch. To this day I've never attempted making baklava. However, I can make soup! So this recipe is right up my alley.

Cindy said...

I love hungarian mushroom soup! There's a restaurant across town called Old Wives Tales that has some of the best I've had. Thanks for the recipe... it looks like I have most of the ingredients in the pantry already. Good hearty soups and crusty breads are exactly what we're craving on these cold days.

Your updated blog looks great.

Susan said...

Amy, I'm assuming "east side hunkie" is more Toledo, Ohio than Toledo, Spain? No, I've never heard that term before, but I have heard of Tony Packo's. Does that count?

Mmmm, I love baklava, but I would never attempt making it! That's why there are Greek restaurants, doncha know!

Susan said...

Cindy, this is one of my favorite soups! I first had it at a little out-of-the-way restaurant in Camden, Maine and practically licked the bowl clean! When this recipe popped up in Midwest Living, I had to try it. It tasted exactly as I remembered!

I love the name 'Old Wives Tales'. What a great name for a restaurant! If I ever get to Portland, I'll check it out.

Thanks for noticing the new blog look! I was tired of the old one and I'm already thinking of Spring, so I wanted to lighten it up. It also makes it easier to read, I think.

Marilyn Miller said...

I love Hungarian Mushroom Soup. Yummm! you have reminded me to make some.

Laurie Kruczek said...

SUSAN! I sooo want to eat this while the snow is still out in full force. I have a few Hungarian friends who swear by this stuff, btw. My husband is 3/4 Polish, and he also makes a mean mushroom soup.

That website you listed is great, btw. Thanks!

Susan said...

Marilyn, thanks for stopping by and I hope you visit again. I had no idea so many people knew about this soup!

Susan said...

Laurie, this soup is definitely one of my comfort foods for a snowed-in day. I hope you get a chance to make it. I had a feeling the name Kruczek was Polish.

What is Mitch's mushroom soup like? Would he share the recipe with me? I'm a soup-a-holic! I could eat it every day of the year.

Ruth said...

Gorgeous blog header!!

Hungarian mushroom soup? I've never heard of it, and so many here have. It sounds fantastic, and I will absolutely try it. Yum! Garlic and mushrooms - can't go wrong.

I love to think about gypsies too. That wagon is awesome. We used to see lots of Gypsies when we lived in Istanbul. They are very handsome people, but they looked like they had a very hard life.

And by the way, another thing to connect you and me: my maiden name is Hart.

Susan said...

Ru-uth! Are you kidding me? I can't believe your maiden name is Hart! You must tell me your dad's name and let my son do a family history...he's a genealogist. We might be cousins! Wouldn't that be awesome?

Thanks on the header! I'm glad you like it. I was really tired of the old one and wanted something Spring-y and easier to read. The old eyes ain't what they used to be, even with the glasses.

I've been fascinated by gypsies since I saw Chocolat, BTW, one of my favorite movies. How can you go wrong with Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche and chocolate? Knowing, of course, that it is just a movie, they do seem to live a very hand-to-mouth existence.

Fannie said...

I'm Irish and was regaled with tales of the "travelers". Oh, and I'm going to try the soup, sounds great!

Susan said...
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JackeeG4glamorous said...

Not a regular fan of mushrooms - but I am a HUGE lover of all that is soup. What kind of mushrooms? My mother often claimed that I looked like a gypsy during my early teen fazes. I think it was dangly earrings and maybe too much blush. Hey! I was a youngster trying out my womanly wiles! Do not judge.

JackeeG4glamorous said...

Oh, and by the way - LOVE the new header!

Susan said...

Hi Jackee, most of the time I use button mushrooms, but portabellas are really good in it, too. Or you could do a combination of wild mushrooms. It's versatile.

Hey, I bet you were a cute gypsy with that dark hair and the dangly earrings! I don't judge...anything we can do to enhance our womanly wiles is O.K. with me!

Thanks for the compliment.

Ruth said...

I had to come back and check this post after you commented about it. It's before I followed you!

What a gypsy wagon! It's splendid. I could live in one of those!

I love this post and all the information about gypsies. I had NO CLUE about it all. We had gypsies in Istanbul. They are very handsome people, and yes, there is stigma around them. It's sad.

The soup sounds fab u lous. I think I could make some vegan adjustments and rock the house. Thank you, Susie. :D