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Hungarian Bean and Ham Soup

Serves 8-10

Preparation time: 20 min

Cooking time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Traditionally called ‘Csülkös Bableves’ in Hungarian, this is a thick and tasty soup – rich in protein and good fats -perfect for a cold winter night!


  • Cannings lard
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 small parsnip,  finely grated
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 500g dried pinto beans or cannellini beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 smoked free range ham hock
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Sam's Guide

  1. Melt half the lard* or heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion, stirring until they start to go translucent – then introduce your carrot, parsnip, and celery; and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and aromatic – around 7–9 minutes.
  2. Then, add your bay leaves, pinto beans and ham hock to the saucepan and pour in 12 cups of water. Bring it to a rolling boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until beans are very tender –  about 2 hours. Transfer ham hock to a cutting board and let cool. Cut away the skin and remove the meat from the bone – this should be fairly easy after 2 hours simmering. Shred the meat and stir it into the soup.
  3. In a separate, smaller saucepan, heat the remaining lard or oil over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth and cook for 2 minutes. Add the paprika, salt, and pepper – whisking for another minute. Finally, add the sour cream. Add this mixture to your soup and cook until slightly thickened, for about 4-6 minutes more.
  4. When it’s done, ladle your soup into serving bowls and garnish with more paprika and sour cream to taste.

*Check our post about Tassie Tallow

 Images courtesy of Saveur.