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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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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!