‘You ought to know that our womenfolk in Mahakam make the best potato soup, you’ll never eat its like. Made from a thick starter of black bread and rye flour, with mushrooms and well-fried onions…’
The post station potato soup was excellent, rich with chanterelles and fried onions, and if it was inferior to the Mahakam version made by dwarven women then Geralt never found out in what respect, as Addario Bach ate briskly, in silence and without commenting.
Season of Storms
The famous Mahakam potato soup (“zalewajka mahakamska” in Polish) from the book Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski is probably the most recognizable culinary symbol of the Witcher universe. It's all due to the way in which this dish appeared on the pages of the story about a white-haired monster killer.
The author not only introduces the topic of the dish into a dialogue line but also distinguishes the mahakam specialty by posting a complete recipe as a fragment from the cookbook by Eleonora Rhundurin-Pigott entitled: „Perfect Mahakam Cuisine, the Precise Science of Cooking and Making Dishes from Meats, Fishes and Vegetables, also Seasoning Diverse Sauces, Baking Cakes, Making Jam, Preparing Cooked Meats, Preserves, Wines, Spirits, and Various Useful Cooking and Preserving Secrets, Essential for Every Good and Thrifty Housewife”.
This hearty food, which Geralt had the chance to taste, is a soup originating from central Poland. Its basic ingredients are potatoes, forest harvest and a sourdough. Thanks to its simplicity, the soup spread throughout the whole country. It resulted in the development of several varieties of it but the method of preparation remained unchanged. Although, as Addario Bach says, only mahakam women can cook this soup in a proper way, we will try to match the level of their cooking craft!
TIME: 1,5 h
SERVING: 4 portions
potatoes - 4 medium
smoked bacon - 100g
fresh chanterelles - 400g
onion - 3 medium
dried marjoram - 1 tablespoon
cream 30% fat - 100ml
garlic - 2 cloves
sourdough (for sour soup) - 200ml (recipe below)
rye flour - 100g (+ 50 g for each day)
lukewarm water - 100ml (+ 50 ml for each day)
rye bread - 1 slice
Remember - the jar and wooden scoop for mixing should be perfectly clean!
Day 1: Pour 100g of rye flour into the jar, put in a slice of bread. Pour in 100ml of lukewarm water, mix. Cover with a cloth or gauze. Set aside in a warm and dark place for about 12 h. After this time, just mix the sourdough with wooden scoop. Set aside for another 12 h.
Day 2: Discard a half of a sourdough. Add 50g of rye flour and 50ml of lukewarm water, mix. Leave for another 24 h.
Day 3: Sourdough should smell sour, which is the sign of a proper fermentation. Discard a half of a sourdough. Add 50g of rye flour and 50ml of lukewarm water, mix. Leave for 12 h and after that just mix, then leave for another 12 h.
Day 4/5: Repeat the cycle from day 3 for the next 2 days. The sourdough should become thick and with a lot of bubbles inside. Then it’s ready to use.
Rinse the chanterelles under running water, put them in a pan, cover them with fresh water and soak overnight. Salt them (1 teaspoon), add half of the onion, bring to a boil, turn of the heat and leave covered for 15-20 min. Next, discard onion, drain the mushrooms (but save the broth for later!) and chop them.
Peel the potatoes, boil them until nearly soft, and dice them.
3. BACON & ONIONS
Cut bacon into cubes, add a splash of cold water and fry on a dry pan for a few minutes. Add the sliced onion, fry until lightly browned and sticky, stirring frequently. Then add the mushrooms and fry for 2 min. Add crushed garlic, mix and fry for 1 min.
Transfer fried ingredients into a pot, pour in the mushroom broth, add sourdough and add more water if necessary (to cover the potatoes). Bring to a boil, cook until potatoes are completely soft. Season with salt, pepper and marjoram. Add more water if the soup it too thick.
At the end, if you are human, add some cream. Adding cream to the soup is against dwarven tradition, but humans like to do so. Soup is ready to eat, however, it will be better after a few hours or even at the next day!