Hungarian Bean Soup

This is a recipe that I can remember making with my mother many years ago. She saw the recipe in a newspaper and copied it so we could try it out. Then the fun started.

No matter that Toronto was a multi-cultural city and that we lived just north of it when I was growing up, Hungarian sausage and smoked paprika had not made it to our part of the world. We began a hunt that took weeks to find the ‘special’ ingredients for the soup. I wonder if the person who wrote about this soup in the newspaper gave any kind of a preamble to the recipe, letting people know where they could find what was needed. When Mum wrote the recipe down, that part didn’t make the cut.

Finally we tracked down everything necessary to make the soup and in the end, it was worth the effort it took to find the ingredients. When I decided to make this soup again, it was so much less work to get what I needed – one trip to St. Lawrence Market and I found the beans, Hungarian sausage, a pork hock and all the vegetables easily.

Talking with people who have moved away from Toronto or have shopped for food while visiting other parts of the world reminds me of how good I have it, living in this food-obsessed city full of people from all over the world who are happy to share the incredible flavours from their home countries. Hopefully you can find what’s required for this soup where you are.

Also included in this posting: a look at my new cutting board (thanks Dad!) and a shout-out for Robbie Burns Day, in keeping with the global theme.

Here we go.

Get the beans.

Romano beans.

Romano beans.

Grab some onions.

Onions.

Onions.

Use whatever cutting board you have to chop the onions. This one is lovely.

Chopped onions and the first test of my new cutting board.

Chopped onions and the first test of my new cutting board.

Mince the garlic.

Minced garlic (new chopping board test #2).

Minced garlic (new chopping board test #2).

Put the onions and garlic into the largest soup pot you have. Do not stint on the vegetable oil. We’ll see why in just a bit.

Onions and garlic into the pot (a whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Onions and garlic into the pot (a whatfoodimade action shot™!).

While the onions and garlic are cooking, chop the carrots.

Carrots.

Carrots.

The new cutting board works very well.

Chopped carrots (new chopping board test #3).

Chopped carrots (new chopping board test #3).

Onions and garlic are ready for the next step.

Onions and garlic have softened.

Onions and garlic have softened.

Smoked Hungarian paprika.

Hungarian paprika.

Hungarian paprika.

Add the paprika.

Add the paprika.

Add the paprika.

After the paprika has absorbed the oil, add the flour. Here’s where having all that oil makes sense – a roux is what this is.

Add the flour (one more whatfoodimade action shot™).

Add the flour (one more whatfoodimade action shot™).

After the flour has cooked for 2 -3 minutes, add a cup of the water and whisk to combine.

Add about 1 cup of the water.

Add about 1 cup of the water.

Continue adding the water, whisking to decrease the lumpiness.

Unlumpy liquid.

Unlumpy liquid.

Now add the beans.

Add the beans (another whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Add the beans (another whatfoodimade action shot™!).

And the carrots.

Add the carrots (one more whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Add the carrots (one more whatfoodimade action shot™!).

Here’s the pork hock. It is quite large.

A gigantic pork hock.

A gigantic pork hock.

Add the pork hock to the liquid (the Scottish reference: in the caption).

The Hock Ness Monster!

The Hock Ness Monster!

While the soup is becoming soup, slice the Hungarian sausage. How does the cutting board work for slicing meat? Very well.

Thinly sliced sausage (new chopping board test #4).

Thinly sliced sausage (new chopping board test #4).

After 2 hours, remove the pork hock and cut off all the meat.

 

Two hours have passed.

Two hours have passed.

Lots of delicious smoked pork.

Lots of delicious smoked pork.

Add the meat from the hock and the Hungarian sausage to the liquid.

Add the Hungarian sausage.

Add the Hungarian sausage.

Another hour on the heat and there is very tasty soup.

Hungarian Bean Soup.

Hungarian Bean Soup.

Hungarian Bean Soup.

Hungarian Bean Soup
Makes 16 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup oil
2 cups chopped onion
1-2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
3/4 cup all purpose flour
20 cups water or ham stock
1 lb. dried Romano beans
1 – 2 lb. smoked pork hock
2 cups sliced carrots
2 spicy Hungarian sausage
salt to taste

Directions

In a very large, heavy pot, fry the onions and garlic in oil until soft. Add the paprika and stir until the oil is absorbed. Stir in flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly stir in a cup of the water and whisk to combine. Continue adding the water slowly, whisking all the time to be sure there are no lumps, then add the beans, pork hock and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook uncovered, slowly for 2 hours or until the pork hock is tender.

Remove pork hock from soup and cut meat from bone. Chop the meat into small pieces and return to the soup kettle.

Slice sausage very thinly and add to the soup. Continue cooking 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Salt to taste.

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