Bab Leves (Hungarian Bean Soup)
photo by Duane D.
- Ready In:
- 4hrs 20mins
- 1⁄2 lb dried navy beans (or use quick soak method below) or 1/2 lb pinto beans, soaked in cold water overnight (or use quick soak method below)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 leeks or 1/2 onion, very finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1⁄2 lb smoked bacon or 1/2 lb smoked ham hock
- 4 cups smoked ham stock or 4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil or 2 tablespoons lard
- 2 tablespoons onions, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 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.
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