Schwammerlbrühe is a creamy mushroom stew from Bavaria where it is traditionally served with bread or pretzel dumplings.
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A Creamy Mushroom Stew with Many Uses
Known as Bayerische Schwammerlbrühe (Bavarian Mushroom Soup) or Pilzrahm (Cream of Mushroom) this delightful dish is a regional specialty of Bavaria. Essentially a thick, luxurious mushroom stew it also doubles as a hearty sauce to be ladled over classic Bavarian meat and noodle dishes.
When served as a stew it is traditionally accompanied by bread dumplings (Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahm) which are perfectly suited for mopping the mushroom goodness and the combination has rightfully earned itself a comfort food symbol status in German cuisine.
Typically prepared with cultivated mushrooms the dish truly shines during fall when wild chanterelles or porcini are harvested and used instead. These are the weeks when you can spot Schwammerlbrühe on the menus of biergarten and also as one of the many vegetarian options served on the Wiesn during Oktoberfest.
- Mushrooms. You can use cultivated mushrooms like white button and cremini or wild mushrooms such as chanterelles and porcini when in season. Even though not traditional to Germany, shiitake mushrooms make a great contender in combination with cremini (as seen above).
- Shallots or onion. Either use a few shallots or a large red or yellow onion.
- (Clarified) butter. Due to its low water content, but regular butter will work just fine.
- Flour. Optional, to thicken the sauce. We typically do not use it because the heavy cream in the stew reduces perfectly fine given enough simmering time.
- White wine. Traditionally used to deglaze the pan and impart flavor before the cream is added.
- Salt and pepper. For seasoning the stew. Sometimes we also add a teaspoon or two of umami seasoning.
- Heavy cream. The principal liquid for the dish – it is perfectly suited for simmering and becomes wonderfully infused with the flavors of the mushrooms, especially when wild mushrooms are used.
- Parsley or thyme. Mainly fresh, finely chopped parsley is added to the cooked stew. Thyme, which is very complementary to onions and mushrooms can also be used.
To make the dumplings use one of these two recipes – Semmelknödel Bavarian Bread Dumplings of Pretzel Dumplings.
How to Make Creamy Mushroom Stew
- Prep. Finely dice the shallots (or onion), wipe clean the mushrooms if needed and cut them.
- Saute & deglaze. In a large pan over medium-high heat the butter and immediately add the onions. Stir and saute for about a minute, add the mushrooms, saute for a couple of more minutes. Deglaze with the wine and scrape off the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to evaporate, then add salt and pepper.
- Simmer. Add the heavy cream, bring to simmer and cook for a few minutes until the cream begins to thicken. Sprinkle the chopped fresh parsley once you remove the stew from the heat.
- Bread dumplings. The classic way to dish up Schwammerlbrühe. Place prepared in advance dumplings into the pan with the mushroom stew and serve family style or ladle stew into bowls and place one or two dumplings in each bowl.
- Fried German meats. Ladle creamy mushrooms over pork or chicken schnitzel, or fried steak.
- Spaetzle or thick noodles. Ladle stew over spaetzle browned in butter or cooked pasta spirals.
- Mashed potatoes. A hearty, comfort food combination. Alternatively you can make potato dumplings.
- Rice. Cooked wild rice tastes especially good in combination with the creamy mushrooms.
- Skillet asparagus. Another great vegeterain dish option is born when these creamy mushrooms meet blissfully blistered asparagus.
Delicious Ways to Modify This Stew
- To amplify the umami flavor of the stew when using milder tasting cultivated mushrooms you can add reconstituted dehydrated wild mushrooms. Dried porcini serve this purpose really well – simply place a few in a little bit of hot water and let them soak for a couple of hours, then add them to the stew along with the cream and simmer.
- Add boiled diced potatoes after the wine has evaporated and before you add the heavy cream. This is a great modification if you intend to enjoy the stew without bread dumplings.
- Use a flavorful Bavarian beer to deglaze instead of white wine. You do no need to wait for the beer to evaporate entirely like when using wine. Good options for this purpose are bock, doppelbock, maibock and Marzen.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- 20 oz mushrooms*
- 4-5 shallots**
- 2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
- 1/2 cup white wine (preferrably dry)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- thyme, (optional, 1 tsp dried or picked leaves of 4-5 sprigs)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
- Finely dice the shallots or onion. Clean and cut the mushrooms depending on their size - slice, quarter or cut in half.
- Heat a large, deep pan over medium-high. Add the butter and saute the shallots for a minute or so. Add the mushrooms, stir well and saute for a couple of more minutes.
- Deglaze with the white wine and scrape off all brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine evaporate, then season with salt, pepper and if using thyme add it.
- Pour the heavy cream over the mushrooms, stir and bring to simmer. Let simmer for about 5 minutes until the cream begins to thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and add finely chopped parsley just before serving.
Make Bread Dumplings (Semmelknodel) or Pretzel Dumplings to serve with the stew as traditionally done in Bavaria.
*such as cremini, white button, chanterelles, porcini, shiitake (if shiitake remove the woody stems)
**alternatively use 1 large onion
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 564Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 31gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 1206mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 5gSugar: 11gProtein: 8g