icon Homemade Czech potato soup
(Domácí bramboračka)

There are as many Czech potato soup recipes as there are Czech grandmothers. Czech potato soup is peasant food, made with simple ingredients, but delicious and heart-warming especially on a cold winter day.

On a broader scale, there are potato soup recipes from France (the Vichyssoise, typically served chilled), Austria and Germany. In modern German cuisine for example, there are countless innovative variations, i.e. potato soup with smoked salmon, bratwurst, chicken, parma ham, speck, cheese etc. However, classic recipes, especially those originating in the Czech Republic and Austria are based on several common ingredients such as marjoram, carrots, celery root, caraway seed, garlic, lard (yes, lard - stop whining about cholesterol; this is a study in culinary and cultural history here...). They share one thing in common: they generous use dried wild mushrooms. Traditional German recipes typically omit this ingredient.


  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 lb potatoes, cut up into slices or cubes
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 parsley root, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 celery root, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cabbage leaf, minced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with salt and pepper
  • 1-2 handfuls of sliced dried forest mushrooms, otherwise several fresh ones
  • 2 tbsp lard
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds, crushed in a mortar
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp marjoram
  • Parsley and celery leaves, shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 strips of bacon, sliced into strips, for garnish
  • 4 tbsp of sour cream, for garnish


  1. Get up at 4 am, put on hiking boots and head for the nearest forest to pick mushrooms. Slice them, spread on a towel and wait a month or two until they are dried. Alternatively, take a leisurely drive to your favorite supermarket and pick up a bag of dried mushrooms, such as porcini.
  2. If using dried mushrooms, soak beforehand for about an hour in some hot beef broth.
  3. In a sauce pan or small pot, heat the butter and lard. When hot, add the onion, garlic, carrot, parsley root, celery root. Sauté until golden.
  4. Add the flour and carefully prepare a yellow Béchamel (undercooked roux, for those from New Orleans).
  5. Add the water and cool the mixture down. Add the mushrooms, potatoes, caraway seeds, bouillon cube and cook for about 30 minutes.
  6. In a sauté pan or wok, fry the sliced bacon strips until golden-brown. Remove from pan and dry on paper towels.
  7. Check the soup. When the potatoes and vegetables are soft, add the marjoram, garlic, parsley and celery leaves. Stir well, continue to cook for a few minutes and remove from heat.
  8. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish each with 1 tbsp of sour cream and some of the bacon.
  9. YIELD: Serves 4

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Last updated: March 22, 2014