Grocery shopping sick is the worst. You try not to cough or blow your nose near the food that is everywhere, you don’t feel like cooking and you’re low on appetite in the first place. Also you remain conscious of your cold the entire time, which hurts your ability to pretend that your immune system is too good for seasonal colds. I hate it when my body proves me wrong.
I like this soup because it’s made up of things I’ve got in the house anyway, and with some buttered toast it’s a solid meal on its own. It’s adaptable, too – the type of beans or onions you use, the vegetables & spices you put in. The celery is courtesy of the bowl of veggies I was snacking on that afternoon and quickly lost interest in. I was out of sweet paprika (so long, delicious souvenir), so broke out spicy paprika instead – all the better for battling sickness. It doesn’t hurt that this soup reminds me of Hungary and the lovely people I met when I took my thesis on the road last spring.
Creamy Hungarian Bean Soup
adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant
1 cup dried beans (navy or kidney)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium carrot, diced
1 stick celery
2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
2 tsp cider vinegar OR 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp parsley, chopped (optional)
1. Soak beans overnight (or throughout the day) in a medium bowl of water.
2. Drain beans and place in a medium pot. Add water to an inch above beans. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until tender (~1.5 hours). Top up water as needed to keep beans covered by an inch of water.
3. When beans are almost cooked, in a large saucepan, saute onions in oil until softened. Add carrot, celery & garlic; stir for several minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, & paprika. Sprinkle flour over top, and stir occasionally for a few minutes.
4. Ladle 2 cups of water out of the beans and pour slowly into the vegetables, stirring. Add beans & remaining water; stir.
5. Remove from heat. If using, whisk in sour cream. Whisk in vinegar/lemon juice. Reheat soup gently while stirring (~5 min); add extra water if too thick, or cook for longer if too thin. Top with parsley just before serving.