Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bab Leves - Hungarian Bean Soup Recipe

Very good, very Michigan and very Hungarian.

1/2 lb. dried navy beans
1 t. salt
1 carrot
1 leek (you may substitute an onion)
1 clove garlic stuck on a toothpick
1 ham hock or 1/4 lb. ham
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. chopped onion
1 t. paprika
2 T. flour
1 T. chopped parsley
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature (opt.)
2 t. vinegar

V.S.P. Wash beans and soak overnight in cold water to cover. (Or see quick-soaking method here). Drain and rinse the beans and put them in a large soup kettle.

Add the salt, carrot, leek, garlic and piece of ham or ham hock. Pour on enough water to cover beans and meat by two inches and bring to a simmer. Cook slowly, partially covered, for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until beans are tender, adding more water as necessary to keep them well-covered. When they are done, discard the garlic and remove the meat to a side dish.

Make a roux as follows: heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently sauté the onions until translucent. Stir in the paprika, then the flour, and let it froth for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the parsley. Thin the roux with 1/2 cup broth from the soup, then slowly pour the roux into soup, stirring. Let soup simmer for 10 minutes. If soup is too thick, add a little water. If too thin, let soup simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Take the soup off the heat and let it cool. Blend some soup into the sour cream to keep it from curdling, then slowly stir the sour cream into the soup.

Mix in the vinegar and adjust seasoning. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and stir them into the soup. Reheat and serve.

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