A few years ago I visited the Alaska State Fair and ate my way through a variety of comfort foods, including Hungarian mushroom soup, or gomba leves. It’s a mushroom-heavy soup spiced with Hungarian paprika, dill, and thyme. This soup just hits the spot on a cold night. There are a number of variations that include pasta, turnips, soup dumplings, and more. This recipe, however, is a simple version that includes milk for a creamy, rich texture. Feel free to substitute the paprika with garam masala and a pinch of turmeric and chili powder for a spicier Indian-style soup. You can also use plant-based butter and vegan sour cream to make this soup vegan. —Hetal Vasavada
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medium yellow or white onions (about 1½ lb.)
lb. mushrooms (crimini and/or shiitake)
medium carrots (about 12 oz.)
handfuls of parsley leaves with tender stems
cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika, plus more for serving
tsp. dried dill or ¼ cup fresh dill
tsp. dried thyme or 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme
cups low-sodium vegetable broth
cups whole milk
cup all-purpose flour
cup sour cream, plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare your ingredients. Chop 4 medium yellow or white onions (about 1½ lb.) into ¼" pieces. (You should have about 4 cups.) Gently clean 2 lb. mushrooms (crimini and/or shiitake) with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Remove and discard stems; slice caps ¼" thick. Peel 2 medium carrots (about 12 oz.). Cut in half lengthwise, then cut those halves in half lengthwise (you’ll have 4 long spears per carrot). Cut crosswise into ¼"-thick pieces.
Smash, peel, and finely chop 6 garlic cloves. Finely chop 2 handfuls of parsley leaves with tender stems until you have ¼ cup; set parsley aside.
Melt ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter in a medium Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of kosher salt (this will help the onion release water and cook more quickly) and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until onion is softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and carrots to pot and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms start to brown, 12–16 minutes. Add garlic, 4 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika, 4 tsp. dried dill or ¼ cup fresh dill, and 2 tsp. dried thyme or 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Whisk 2 cups whole milk and ¼ cup all-purpose flour in a small bowl or measuring glass to combine. Pour into soup and stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until soup is thick enough to thinly coat spoon, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
Mix ¾ cup sour cream and 2–3 Tbsp. broth from soup until loose, then add to soup and stir well to incorporate. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls and top each with a dollop of sour cream, some reserved parsley, and a pinch of paprika.
Do ahead: Soup (without sour cream and toppings) can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat before adding sour cream as directed.