Mushroom Ciorba with Caraway and Thyme

Mushroom Ciorba with Caraway and Thyme

Mushroom Ciorba with Caraway and Thyme


1 ounce dried wild mushrooms

1 cup boiling water

1/4 cup butter

1 lb. white button or cremini mushrooms, wiped, trimmed, and sliced

1 T. caraway seeds

4 C. vegetable stock

1 cup sauerkraut juice

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 tsp. dried red chili flakes

3 T. sour cream or Balkan-style yogurt

1 egg yolk

1 T. unbleached all-purpose flour

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

sour cream or yogurt, caraway seeds, and fresh thyme for garnish


Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid. Chop reconstituted mushrooms and set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add caraway seeds and cook for about 1 minute, until they are fragrant. Add sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released all their moisture and begin to caramelize around the edges. Remove from heat and reserve. In a large saucepan, mix stock, sauerkraut juice, and reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and add the reconstituted dried mushrooms, cooked mushrooms, thyme sprigs (just throw them in whole; the leaves will come away from the branches while cooking), and chili flakes. Simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Fish out and remove now-leafless thyme branches. Mix together sour cream or yogurt, egg yolk, and flour in a small bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of the soup broth to the yogurt mixture and stir until well blended. Scrape yogurt mixture into soup, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and a sprinkling of caraway seeds and fresh thyme leaves.

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