Polish Christmas Mushroom Soup {Zupa Grzybowa Wigilijna}

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The difference between Christmas mushroom soup [zoo-pah g-rzyh-boh-vah vee-gee-leey-nah] and “regular” mushroom soup is that Christmas mushroom soup is vegetarian. As a matter of fact, all 12 dishes served at Polish Christmas Eve dinner are meatless or made with fish (we don’t consider fish meat). The 12 dishes represent the 12 Apostles and mark the beginning of Christmas festivities with the most important dinner of this holiday. As soon as the first star is spotted on a dark December night sky, we’re ready to share the opłatek (a thin wafer, resembling a communion wafer) wishing each other good health, happiness and good fortune. After that we proceed to the table filled with steaming soups, pierogi, herring, and more.

The 12 dishes may vary from home to home. My family mainly eats only beetroot broth with mushroom-filled dumplings, but many families opt for a small portion of wild mushroom soup instead, and some do both. Only a small portion of either soup will be served, to save room for the remaining 11 dishes. 

Wild mushroom soup is a clear soup, nothing but mushrooms in it. Broth is bold and mushroomy, and lightly creamy.

Polish Christmas Mushroom Soup {Zupa Grzybowa Wigilijna}

  • Yields: 5-6 small servings
  • Prep Time: 4hrs + 5 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min

Ingredients

  • 1 oz / 30 g / 1 cup of dried wild mushrooms*
  • 1.5 cups of water for soaking
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth (or 6 cups of water and the next 4 ingredients)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 of celery root
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 1 parsnip
  • 6 allspice and peppercorns - whole
  • 3 bayleaves
  • Salt (careful if using broth that may contain salt already)
  • 2 tbs of butter
  • 2 tbs of heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Soak wild mushrooms overnight or at least 4 hours.

  2. Next day, place mushrooms with the water they were soaking in medium pot. Add broth (or water and vegetables), spices and a pinch of salt. Boil covered on low for 30 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.

  3. When wild mushrooms are cooked strain everything out, reserve the liquid broth. Discard the vegetables (or save to make a Polish vegetable salad), and once the mushrooms cool, dice them and return to broth.

  4. Add cream and heat through. Taste, add salt, if needed and a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper. Finish by adding butter for extra flavor.

Notes

This soup develops more flavor with time. It will taste a 100% better the next day.

Will you be cooking it this Christmas? Happy cooking and tasting!

Much love,

Anna

* I like this mixture of wild mushrooms as it reminds me very much of mushrooms picked in Poland.

 

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18 Comments

  1. Here in the south we’re sadly lacking in ethnic stores, and I’ve found nothing Polish, as there was living in NY. So do you have a suggestion to find “wild mushrooms” that are in the Christmas mushroom soup? I remember that as part of the feast babka prepared every year for our family gathering… now everyone is gone, and I miss the food. I’ll try to prepare the dishes, but finding ingredients is difficult when all they eat is BBQ and biscuits ! Thank you if you can help.

    1. I feel your pain. It’s been my frustration living in the US but I found alternatives. Please read the instructions in my recipe. I posted links where to buy ingredients similar to Polish equivalents. Good luck cooking!

  2. Okay this sounds like I am on the right track.i have been recently searching for a soup we would have when I was a kid that had mushrooms and I thought there was potatoes fried in onions and butter that would be placed in the bowl of soup.is this the same soup,or do you no of the name I am referring too? I am sure the soup was changed over the years,I remember not liking it as a child but as always,would love it today.appreciate any help.
    Thank you.
    Gina

    1. Kazimierzu,

      what I meant by “clear” is that it is not served with noodles, potatoes or any vegetables other than mushrooms… clear broth. 🙂

      Smacznego! Anna

  3. My heritage is Polish. We. as an extended family, always celebrated Christmas Eve together and had traditional Polish food similar to yours. We typically had about 30 people at the meatless dinner – young and old. One tradition we also had was to have an empty chair at the table in case we had visitors. Of course the “visitors” were the “Holy Family who could find no room at the inn.”
    Am keeping some of the Polish holiday traditions alive for my children and their families to understand and appreciate the importance of family and heritage.

  4. Hi! So excited to find your blog, as I am trying to prepare a traditional Wigilia feast this year even though I can’t be with most of my family. I will be using many of your recipes – they sound delicious!

    For this soup – I have ground allspice and pepper; would it work to use these for flavoring, or do I need to buy whole allspice berries and peppercorns? If so, how much would you suggest of each?

    Dziekuje bardzo!

  5. I am looking for a Wigilia recipe for a kvass based soup with wild mushrooms and potatoes. The broth was cloudy and light brown as made by my grandmother

  6. I’m making your recipe for Christmas Eve. It’s very similar to our family’s (we came to Canada from the Krakow area about 100 years ago). Our recipe was never written down, so it’s nice to have your guide. I am using “zur”, a starter from our local Polish store, where I also found the Polish dried mushroom. I used the rest of your recipe and it looks great, so far. Merry Christmas!

  7. Anna, do you know the secret of how to make pierogi dough soft and tender. I’m a first generation American but my mother was an awful cook so our pierogi were always tough as a hockey puck. If so please post. You may save our teeth.

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