Bab Leves (Hungarian Bean Soup)

"Pronounced bab le-vesh."
photo by Duane D. photo by Duane D.
photo by Duane D.
photo by Duane D. photo by Duane D.
Ready In:
4hrs 20mins




  • Quick soak method - Boil beans for 5 minutes in enough water to cover them completely, then cover pan and let soak for 1 hour.
  • Drain and rinse the beans and put them in a large pot.
  • Add the salt, pepper, carrot, leek, garlic, and meat.
  • Add stock plus enough water to cover 2" above the beans and meat; bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender (2 1/2 - 3 hours), adding water as needed to keep the beans covered; then remove meat to a separate plate.
  • In a heavy saucepan, melt fat or warm oil and sauté onions until they wilt.
  • Mix in the paprika and then the flour.
  • Gently fry, stirring constantly until flour turns golden beige (2-3 minutes) (be careful not to scorch the flour and not to get any on you).
  • Add the parsley.
  • Thin roux with 1/2 cup to a cup of the broth from the soup; mix well, then slowly pour back into the soup.
  • Let simmer for 10 minutes (then if soup is too thin simmer for 5-10 more minutes; if too thick slowly add hot water and simmer for 2-3 more minutes).
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Blend some soup into the sour cream to keep it from curdling when you add it, then add it to the soup.
  • Mix in the vinegar and taste soup for seasonings.
  • Cut the meat into bite sized pieces and return them to the soup.
  • Reheat soup before serving.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Laszlo 7
    Excellent flavors and the aroma in your kitchen. The key is not to use cheap paprika but the Hungarian Paprika. I used smoked ribs for full flavor. Very easy to put all together a truly hardy soup with square noodles yummy !!!!!!!!!!
  2. EllieSos
    Very nice, flavour-some and whole-some soup. I made this for my Hungarian Husband and was very much live he used to have when he was a kid.. Thanks
  3. prsnk
    From my Hungarian mother she used red kidney beans and added homemade dumplings. Always delicious. I don't recall any added vinegar. What does that do for the soup?
  4. jane.cleary
    My husband is Hungarian and although he smilingly says 'it's not like my Mum's' - he loves this soup, thank you! Our two year old can't get enough of it either.



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