|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
This Hungarian cream of green bean soup—called teifeles zoldbab leves—can be eaten hot or cold. Either way, it's a delightful use of the summer's bounty of green beans. You can make it with fresh beans any time of year, but there's something special about the summer's produce. As a light lunch or dinner starter on a hot day, this cream soup is cooling and refreshing, as well as filled with healthy green beans.
In a large skillet, place the green beans and cover with water; add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove green beans to colander reserving cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, make a roux (known as rantas in Hungarian) by melting the butter, adding the flour, and cooking, stirring constantly, until it is a light amber color. Add pepper, paprika, and 1/4 cup water to the skillet, stirring until smooth.
Temper the sour cream with a few ladles of the hot green-bean cooking liquid. Add the sour cream mixture to the pan along with green beans; whisk the mixture until smooth. Simmer until the broth thickens, 5 to 8 minutes, but do not let it boil.
Serve hot or chilled.
What is Hungarian Paprika?
Although all paprika is made from the pods of Capsicum annuum peppers, not all paprikas are alike. There is plain paprika, Spanish paprika, and Hungarian paprika. Plain is what we find on the grocery store shelves, is the mildest tasting, and is best used as a garnish. Spanish is what gives paella its signature taste and is available smoked, sweet, and spicy. Hungarian paprika offers the most varieties divided into eight grades ranging from mild to very hot. The most commonly sold grade in the U.S. falls somewhere in the middle, thus being a bit sweet with a little tinge of spice.
This recipe calls for making a roux and tempering the sour cream. Don't be turned off by the fancy sounding names—both techniques are simple and require few steps. A roux is a French term and is a mixture of a fat (most often butter) cooked with a small amount of flour. This combination is used to thicken sauces and soups. Tempering is a method used to avoid cooking a cold ingredient when combining it with a hot ingredient; if you add a little bit of the hot liquid to the cold ingredient, it will bring up the temperature enough that it won't curdle.