Bramboračka: Czech Potato Soup
Bramboračka is a classic Czech potato soup—a mouth-watering, nostalgic meal best appreciated during the frigid, short days of fall and winter. It comes together fairly quickly using just a handful of ingredients, but with each playing a distinctly key role and adding to the final, complex result: a silky, smooth soup with a nice, chewy texture.
Start with a roux base; it will make the soup creamy. Dice the root vegetables to the same size to get as many as possible in one bite. If you didn’t forage for wild mushrooms in a Czech forest last summer and didn’t sun-dry them yourself on old newspapers, by all means—use store-bought mushrooms. Dried marjoram goes stale very fast, so test it: Rub it with your fingers, and see if it smells fresh. To avoid bitter garlic taste, add it only after you take the soup off the heat.
- Serves 4
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 6 cups water
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup peeled, diced yellow potatoes (about 2 small potatoes)
- 3/4 cup peeled, diced carrots (about 1 medium carrot)
- 3/4 cup peeled, diced parsnip (about 1 small parsnip)
- ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and pressed
- Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter, and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until pale gold in color, about 4–5 minutes.
- Pour the water into the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the caraway seeds, salt, potatoes, carrots and parsnip. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Drain the porcini mushrooms, squeeze out and discard any liquid, and add them to the soup. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, and stir in the marjoram and garlic. Taste for salt.