Hungarian Bean Soup

I’m calling this Hungarian – the ingredients are basically correct, but I must admit my technique leans a little to the Canadian. Like Cajuns, Hungarians generally use a thick, dark roux in their soups, and between my open plan kitchen which wafts all cooking odours thoughout the house, and my laziness, I can’t be bothered. I like my soups just fine without it.

The beans need not be a mixture; use whichever you can get, although if you can get a mix it adds to the visual appeal. Yellow beans are particularly popular in Hungary, apparently. 

I had ham stock which needed no more salt added – au contraire, I’m going to throw another couple of potatoes into the leftovers to tone it down a bit – so I am not quite sure how much salt should be added if you start with unsalted stock. I’d add 1/2 teaspoon and take it from there. Right after the veg go back into the pot is the time to test. 

This is pretty quick to make, for soup. Which is good as it is still summer in spite of this weeks somewhat cooler temperatures. I’m thinking it will be just as good in the winter, made with some of our frozen beans. In spite of the slight tendency towards saltiness, we really enjoyed this – it hit a nice balance between being light and refreshing and yet fairly filling. The yogurt gives it a nice tang.

4 to 6 servings
40 minutes prep time

225 grams (1/2 pound) new potatoes
450 grams (1 pound) mixed green and yellow beans
3 to 4 shallots
3 to 4 cloves of garlic
salt as needed – 1/2 teaspoon? 
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon rubbed summer savory
2 tablespoons barley flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups unsalted chicken or other stock
3/4 cup thick yogurt
1 tablespoon barley flour

Wash and trim the potatoes, and cut them into dice. Put them in a heavy-bottomed soup pot and cover generously with water (the beans are about to join them) and bring them to a boil. Cook for 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and trim the beans, and cut them into dice as well. Add them to the beans when the time is up and cook for another 6 minutes. Drain well and keep them standing by as you cook the shallots.

While the beans cook, peel and finely chop the shallots and the garlic. Put the garlic in a small bowl with the salt, pepper, paprika, savory, and the first 2 tablespoons of barley flour.

Put the butter into the drained pot once the vegetables are in the colander, and when the butter is melted and sizzling add the shallots. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until softened and reduced in volume but not browned. Add the bowl of garlic and seasonings and mix in well. Once everything is well amalgamated into the butter and the garlic fragrant, start slowly mixing in the stock to make a smooth paste. Add the rest, mix well, and return the drained vegetables to the soup.

Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until the soup has thickened slightly. Mix the remaining barley flour into the yogurt, and slowly whisk it into the soup. Barely simmer another few minutes until hot through and thickened that little bit more, but don’t let it boil. Serve it up; it’s soup.

Last year at this time I made Watermelon Lime-Ginger Slushies

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