In the kitchen with Bishop Kulick: Slovak Christmas Eve Mushroom Soup
In Western Pa, one of many ethnic traditions from Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Central and Eastern European heritage is having Kapustnica on the Christmas Eve dinner menu. For Bishop Larry Kulick, mushroom soup was a staple in his Slovak family on Stedry vecer.
“When you smell it, it brings back a lot of wonderful memories! The role of faith and its connection to food is so important in this recipe. The symbolisms of this food carry beautiful scriptural imagery,” Bishop Kulick said.
For example, the garlic is a bitter herb reminiscent of the bitterness of sin.
“Christ, by coming through the gift of the incarnation has sweetened the bitterness of our human condition, and has taken away the bitterness of sin. So when we have garlic in our Christmas Even meals, we are reminded with the incarnation of Christ, the Word becoming flesh, Christ has come to save us and that begins with his birth,” Bishop Kulick said.
“I also love mushrooms,” he continued. “They are a wonderful symbol of prosperity because they grow where they are not planted. They are a symbol of free bounty and God’s goodness. They are harvested without having the work of being planted,”
Mushrooms take on the taste of the other ingredients. The longer you cook this soup, the better it is!
Bishop Kulick’s Slovak Christmas Eve Mushroom Soup Recipe
1/4 lb. rehydrated dried mushrooms sliced
2 cups fresh white mushrooms sliced
2 cups wild mushrooms sliced
2 cups Yukon Gold potatoes cubed
3 tbsp diced garlic
2 cups celery
2 cups sweet onion
12 bay leaves
2 tbsp caraway seed
2 tbsp dill
2 tbsp parsley
1 bag of shredded sauerkraut juice
Half full pot of water
1 stick of butter
Add all mushrooms, potatoes, celery, onion and seasonings to water and stir.
Open bag of sauerkraut and remove handfuls at time, squeezing only the juice into the pot.
Heat on medium flame and add butter.
Cook on low for 2-3 hours, stirring frequently.
Add salt and pepper to taste.