Big summer heat was over, we were living the Indian summer and were waiting for all the paperwork to be done in order to finally begin the renovation of our house. My boyfriend, Áron diligently drove to the house to mow the lawn or tidy up. It was his way to deal with frustration of waiting. My solution was to stay away. It was too painful to see our house which was not a home any more.
Once Áron came back from mowing telling that our neighbours asked about me because they want to give us some beans that they grew in their orchard. “We will pick them freshly when Judit comes”, they told Áron. Their kindness felt so good, especially because we were away and they were thinking of us still. I decided it is time to face our situation: the renovation ahead of us, and the big holes on the walls so I accompanied Áron on a sunny afternoon.
It was all good: taking a look at our fruit trees, the grazing horses on the hill and talking with our neighbours who gave us a kilogram of freshly picked beans.
To be honest beans didn’t become my favourite ingredients over the years, except yellow beans, so I was a little bit confused what to cook from it. My mother proposed my to teach how to cook bean soup from fresh beans, since we live together now, it is a good opportunity to learn from her something new. So we cooked a soup from half of the portion, and I froze the other half for a later blog post.
Our little house is not abandoned anymore. We cannot move back yet, because inside is still quite windy, but every day sedulous hands are working on it to help us getting closer to the date when our house become a home again. Every day is a feast; we celebrate when the first rafters come to their place, then the first slats, then the rain gutter and the first roof tiles…
I cook into this soup everything which goes on my mind: my hopes, my waiting, my dreams.
And these beans.. maybe it is because of the caring love of my neighbours, or because of the ground it was growing in, where we also found our home. But when I taste the soup I realise that I have to give up my prejudice against beans, temporary or even better… for ever.
Hungarian bean soup
500 g beans
2000 ml water
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/4 yellow onion
1 bay leaf
2 parsley root
1 slice of yellow pepper
1 small slice of hot green pepper
30 g noodle
1 bunch of fresh parsley
For the roux:
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
20 g all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon paprika
sour cream for serving
If you use dried beans, soak it overnight. I used frozen beans, that I got from the neighbours last summer. Before freezing (or using them freshly) I dropped them into boiling water, cooked for 5-6 minutes and rinsed under cold water. I dried the beans with a paper towel and put them into the freezer in a plastic bag. I highly recommend to cook the soup a few hours (or even a day) before serving, because it tastes better with the time.
Peel onion and cut into quarter. Cut tomato into half, slice a piece from the peppers and chop parsley. Peel carrot and parsley root, cut them into half lengthwise and slice them. Chop parsley.
Heat some oil in a pot, add carrot and parsley root, season with salt and sauté for a few minutes. As my mothers points out: vegetables will release more taste doing this way. Add water, onion, peppers, tomato, bay leaf and salt. In case of using fresh beans add them immediately, if using frozen ones, wait until water is boiling. Cover it and cook for 1,5 hours at moderate heat or as long as bean becomes soft.
Let’s prepare the roux. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add flour and stir it until it gets a little bit of colour. Add pressed garlic, remove from heat and add paprika. (Paprika gets bitter in taste if it gets direct high heat) Then the interesting part begins. My mother adds roux to the soup immediately while carefully stirring the soup continuously. Some people add some cold water to the roux and add it to the soup. Or you can cool the roux for a couple of minutes, add a spoonful of soup into it, mixing it with a whisk and add it to the hot soup again.
When adding the roux, add the noodle as well, and cook for further 5 minutes. Check if the noodle is cooked, remove from heat and sprinkle the top with the chopped parsley.