Hungarian Ham and Bean Soup (Csülkös Bableves)

A paprika-laced roux of lard, flour, and sour cream transforms a simple bean and ham soup into something luxurious. This recipe first appeared in our October 2013 issue with the article Rhapsody in Red.

Hungarian Ham and Bean Soup (Csülkös Bableves) Hungarian Ham and Bean Soup (Csülkös Bableves)
A paprika-laced roux of lard, flour, and sour cream thickens this simple bean and ham soup
Yield: serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 12 cup lard or canola oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 small parsnip, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large smoked ham hock
  • 14 cup flour
  • 1 12 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. Melt half the lard or heat half the oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, carrot, onion, parsnip, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 7–9 minutes. Add beans, bay leaves, ham hock, and 12 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, partially covered, until beans are very tender, about 2 hours.
  2. Transfer ham hock to a cutting board and let cool, then discard skin and bone. Shred meat and stir into soup. Heat remaining lard or oil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth; cook 2 minutes. Whisk in paprika, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Whisk in sour cream. Stir mixture into soup and cook until slightly thickened, 4–6 minutes more. Ladle soup into serving bowls; garnish with more paprika, if you like.