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13.4.11

BEAN SOUP – BABLEVES


For two generations Hungary’s national and cultural identity was overshadowed by everything Russian and communist. When Hungary finally emerged from under the Russian yoke, Hungarians began to celebrate their national identity and culture. So it’s no surprise that ancient recipes and dishes associated with famous Hungarian people resurfaced, pushing aside all that is ordinary. 

Smoked pork hocks must be spectacular in Hungary. Either that or the cooking blogs are caught up in the same national identity search, because all everyone puts out these days is "Jókai Bean Soup". My grandmother or mother never made bean soup with smoked pork hocks, but I had to try what they call Jókai Bableves.

Jókai Mór was the most important Hungarian novelist of the 19th century. But the soup named after him I found disappointingly ordinary. It also proved  somewhat labour intensive and I couldn't help thinking that my old bean soup made from rich pork stock is considerably better. After all it is the recipe of famous Hungarian chef, Rákóczi János. Here it is:

1 cup white beans
6 cups of homemade pork soup stock
ham pieces
2 carrots,
1 parsnip
small wedge of celery root
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp onions, finely diced
1 garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp parsley
handful of fresh csipetke
sour cream

• Soak the beans overnight.
• The following day discard the soaking water and rinse the beans thoroughly.
• Place the soup stock in a medium sized pot.
• Add the beans and the ham pieces.
• Bring to boil, reduce heat to slow simmer and place a lid on the pot.
• Cook until beans are soft.
• Add a handful of csipetke and continue to simmer.
• Peel and slice the carrots, parsnip and celery root wedge.
• Add vegetables to the pot.
• Slowly simmer until vegetables and csipetke are all soft.
• Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in a non stick fry pan.
• Ass the diced onions and crushed garlic slowly cook until soft.
• Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, continually stirring.
• Remove from heat and stir in the Hungarian paprika.
• Add the paprika sauce to the soup, cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
• Serve bean soup with sour cream.
 

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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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