Entertain at home: Paprika mushroom soup

This creamy, hearty mushroom soup made in a Hungarian style is the perfect way to welcome autumn. Made with earthy paprika, fresh cream, white wine and lots of herbs, it is a versatile dish and pairs beautifully with both Stellenbosch Hills’ Chenin Blanc and Merlot.

Hallmarks of the Chenin Blanc include its fine balance, fruity character and crisp acidity. Imagine a burst of passion fruit and stone fruit from the glass with notes of melon, green apples and litchi, held together by a hint of lemon zest. As for the full-bodied Merlot, the wine sings of red, black and mulberries as well as ripe plums on a backdrop of oak spice and hint of cloves. It won Double Gold at the 2021 National Wine Challenge and was named Red Wine of the Year in the 2021 Ultra Value Wine Challenge.

The recipe that marries the two – a Hungarian-style paprika mushroom soup – was developed for Stellenbosch Hills by well-known foodie and cookbook author, Ilse van der Merwe, aka The Food Fox.

“This hearty, earthy, meatless soup is made with Stellenbosch Hills Chenin Blanc,” says Ilse. “It’s crisp acidity just lifts the dish, but also impeccably meets the wine that is served alongside. On the other hand, the umami flavours conjured up by the mushrooms and paprika really connect with the Stellenbosch Hills Merlot, thanks in particular to the wine’s oak and spice.”

Serve 3-4 as a main, or 6 as a starter

You’ll need: 60g butter; 30ml extra virgin olive oil; 2 large onions, chopped; 500g brown or portabellini mushrooms, sliced; 3-4 garlic cloves, finely grated/ chopped; 20ml sweet paprika; 30-45ml fresh thyme leaves, stalks discarded; 10ml dried origanum; 500ml chicken/ vegetable stock; 125ml dry white wine; 30ml soy sauce; 250ml milk; 45ml flour – cake or white bread flour; 250ml fresh cream; salt & pepper; 15ml lemon juice; a handful Italian parsley, finely chopped, to serve; fresh bread/ baguette, buttered & toasted, to serve (or chunky croutons); a few dollops sour cream or thickened cream, to serve (optional).

How to:

In a large wide pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the oil. Add the onions and fry until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the mushrooms, garlic, paprika, thyme and origanum and continue to fry for about 10 minutes, stirring until the mushrooms have softened and the bottom of the pot starts to become sticky.

Add the stock, wine and soy sauce and bring to a simmer – cook for 5 minutes. In a medium jug or mixing bowl, add the milk and flour and whisk to mix thoroughly. Then, add the mixture to the pot along with the cream. Stir well and bring to a simmer, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the soup has thickened, stirring often. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, then taste and season further if needed.

Serve hot in bowls, scatter with chopped parsley, toasted bread/croutons, and if you wish, a dollop of sour cream or cream.

The wines are available online via www.stellenbosch-hills.co.za or at leading wine retailers countrywide.

* Recipe by Ilse van der Merwe.

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