It’s been raining in Prishtina for at least two days straight and snow is due in tomorrow so time to look at some comfort dishes to get you through the cold, shivering days to come.
Soup is the first port of call and it can seem like a hassle to make it fresh at home but if you prepare the stock or broth in advance and freeze, a fresh bowl of soup is easy to whip up on dreary days. Or you may use a stock or boullion cube for instant broth. Fresh stock is easy to make and useful to have for soup, risottos, sauces etc… Get into the habit of saving trimmings from vegetables or bones from roasts and then putting them into a nice pot to boil. Season it the way you like with bay leaves or extra onions (this is also a good way to use up vegetables going spare) and then leave it to simmer. It takes awhile-about two hours- so just leave it and do it in big batches so you can freeze it. If you are using bones you want most of them to dissolve. The same if you are using vegetables. If you don’t have a freezer it’ll last a week in the refrigerator.
So here is a recipe for a mushroom and potato soup with loads of fresh herbs. Everything can be bought from from local producers here in Kosovo which makes this a very cheap feast. The wine I use is Stonecastle Verë e Kuqe. Dried Porcini mushrooms can be found from local Kosovo producers at Meridian, Tregu and other markets. Same for fresh herbs which are found at Market Albana on UCK as well. You can also pair it with toasted sourdough bread from Artizan bakery in Sunny Hill which is also sold at Tartine Deli downtown.
Mushroom and Potato soup
2 cups mushrooms (fresh button are fine but you can also used dried porcini mushrooms or both)
3 garlic cloves
1 medium size onion
3 large potatoes or 4 medium sized
Thyme, oregano, sage salt and pepper to taste
A cup of red wine
Vegetable stock or stock cubes or
Beef stock or stock cubes or
Save the water from rehydrating dried mushrooms and use that. The beef version gives it a more heftier taste. But the mushroom or vegetable broth is just as good.
Start with a good glug of nicest quality you can find olive oil. Dhermi or Borsh from Albania are quite good. Heat the oil in a good size pot. Chop the potatoes, mushrooms, garlic and onion and fry them in the pot. Add fresh thyme, sage and dried oregano. salt and pepper. And here taste. Once the ingredients are softened, carmelized and brown add vegetable stock or beef stock-your preference. Or you can use stock or bouillon cubes and add water to dissolve. Or the water from rehydrating dried mushrooms. Add the wine. Bring to a boil and then simmer until reduced to how you like your soup. You can also smash the potatoes up in the soup to add more heft.