Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Ode to Autumn: Hungarian Mushroom Soup with Butternut Squash and Eggplant

Dearest Autumn,

I love the way you make the air smell like apple pie and fireplaces. I love the colors you wear, the orange of pumpkins, the reds of the leaves being pulled down to the ground in swirls by the wind, and the deep gray of storm clouds. I love the way you change how I dress, allowing me to wrap myself with scarves, knit hats, thick tights and big sweaters that still kind of smell like my dad's aftershave.

I love how milky Irish Breakfast tea in the Fassbinder mug my mom gave me years ago tastes so much better when it's raining. I love the way the light has shifted, and has that golden tinge when it peaks out from behind the heavy clouds before it sets, earlier and earlier. I love the way you give farmers the best apples and squash, the way you have everyone planning their disguise for parties and pranks at the end of October. I love the way you keep the tomatoes and peppers and zucchini and eggplants around, but show them up with the hearty fall flavors of sage and rosemary and caramelized pears. I love how you carry pumpkin spice lattes like presents to every coffee shop in the city.

But most of all, above most everything else, I love how you make me feel when I spend a few hours in the kitchen making a pot of Hungarian mushroom soup, warm in my nubby brown socks, anticipating a great meal and a greater season. This soup is the best of you, autumn. Hearty, comforting, rich, and complex while being completely familiar.

Also, I love how everything I cook this years seems to devolve into brownish mush. Well, maybe I don't love that so much. But trust me, I don't hold it against you. Much.

Thank you for everything you do, and love, always,
Allison Jones, the real Oakley Rhodes.

P.S. This is officially Lemonbasil's 100th Post! I figured it was about time I revealed my identity, if only because, someday, I'd like to be able to google my name and have my food writing show up in results. I can't believe I've been doing this for almost a year and a half. Thanks to everyone who spends a minute or two reading my words and checking out my recipes. You make my world go round. Here's to a future of eating well, online and off.

Autumn Hungarian Mushroom Soup with Butternut Squash and Eggplant


  • 1 pound mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup onion, chopped (any kind will do)
  • 1 or 2 large shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, diced, and roasted in a 350 degree oven until cooked through and golden
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk (any kind works, I used skim)
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon or more Hungarian, or smoked, paprika
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
1. Saute onion, shallot, and garlic in 2 tablespoons stock with a pinch of salt until translucent and fragrant.
2. Add mushrooms, eggplant, squash, dill, paprika, 1 cup stock, and soy sauce.
3. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Set aside.
4. In a separate large saucepan, melt butter.
5. Whisk in flour and stir continually until flour beings to darken slightly.
6. Add milk and cook, continuing to whisk, over low heat until mixture thickens.
7. Stir in mushroom and vegetable mixture and remaining 1 cup of stock.
8. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
9. Before serving, add sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.
10. Give thanks for fall.

1 comment:

  1. F A B U L O U S ! ! !

    Thanks for the post; I received both eggplant and BN squash in my CSA pick-up this week - so the timing was perfect. I used crimini mushrooms for both their texture and flavor. Time for a second bowl! ~chris