|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
This recipe for Hungarian bean soup or bab leves (bawb LEH-vesh) (leves is the generic word for soup) can be made with a meaty ham bone or ham hock.
The real trick to the flavor is to use the defatted drippings from a baked ham. If you have none, ham base or chicken stock are good substitutes, just be careful with adding any additional salt. This recipe can easily be doubled.
- 1/2 pound navy beans (dried)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 large carrot (peeled and sliced)
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 ham bone (or smoked ham hock)
- 4 cups smoked ham stock (or ham base or chicken stock or water)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons onion (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (mild or hot Hungarian)
- 3 tablespoons flour (all-purpose)
- 1 tablespoon parsley (fresh, chopped)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
Place beans in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Boil for 5 minutes, cover, turn off heat but leave on the burner and let soak 1 hour.
Drain and rinse beans and place in a large saucepan (but not something as large as a stockpot).
Add pepper, carrot, onion, garlic, garlic, bay leaf, and ham. Add ham stock plus enough water to cover 2 inches above the beans. The ham bone may be sticking above the water a little.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until beans are tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally and adding additional water to make sure beans are covered with liquid. Remove bay leaf and discard and remove meaty ham bone or hock to a separate plate and reserve.
In a small skillet, make a roux by sautéing 2 tablespoons chopped onion in butter until they are translucent. Add paprika and flour, stirring and cooking for 2 minutes. Mix in the parsley.
Add several ladles of hot soup liquid to the roux and stir until smooth. Pour the roux back into the soup, bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
If soup is too thick, thin with additional water. If soup is too thin for your taste, continue to simmer until of the right consistency.
At this point, the soup can be chilled overnight to allow it to be defatted and the sour cream and vinegar can be added to the cold soup and reheated gently when serving.
Add the reserved ham meat, which has been cut into bite-size pieces. Serve hot with bread.