Jókai Bean Soup

Jókai bean soup, with sausage, parsley and sour cream.

The soup was named from Jókai Mór, a Hungarian writer. Jókai was a regular guest at a restaurant on Balatonfüred, where he almost always ordered bean soup, so in honor of the food Jókai bean soup named after him.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jókai_bean_soup

Jókai bean soup is another variation on the tomato and bean theme. This one has several varieties of smoked pork added, and plenty of paprika, as you would expect from a Hungarian soup.

The unusual ingredient in this soup is parsley root. I wasn’t able to find this in any stores here in Duluth. I even asked the sales rep from our produce company at work and they didn’t have it in stock. So I dug up the parsley plant from my garden. Luckily A) it’s almost winter, so I wasn’t expecting to harvest parsley much longer anyway, and B) the deer had eaten most of the leaves off it anyway. I had just enough little tiny roots to chop up for the recipe. Apparently in Europe, where parsley root is a common vegetable, they grow a variety that has a big tap root that looks like a parsnip. I enjoyed the flavor, so I’ll have to see if I can track down the real thing somewhere.

You’ll notice that I wrote this recipe in metric. Most of the recipes I looked at to base mine off were from European websites so I just went with the flow and didn’t bother trying to convert. Maybe down the road if I update this recipe I’ll try to figure out US measurements. In the mean time, get yourself a good digital scale with settings for both ounces and grams, and enjoy having less measuring cups to wash.

This soup also feature csipetke, little Hungarian noodles or dumplings. I haven’t quite gotten the magic touch for making homemade pasta dough. I feel like I always wind up with too much flour and a dry dough. This time I just mixed the flour in until I felt like the dough was the right consistency and left the rest of the flour behind, and it seemed to work pretty well.

I’ve never read any books by Jókai Mór, but the soup named after him is delicious. I think of all the soups I’ve made so far in this experiment, this one is my favorite.

Edit 4/18/2020: Made this again for photos. Due to Covid-19 (presumably) the only smoked pork product I could find in my closest grocery store was smoked chops. (Ok, they also had smoked ears… not exactly what I was looking for here.)

I had to use dried parsley root this time. I used about ¼ of the fresh weight called for.

I also wanted to try the kohlrabi from the optional ingredients, but couldn’t find any. I decided that since kohlrabi is the enlarged stem of a brassica family plant I’d throw in some broccoli stems. I can’t actually pick out which bits are broccoli, so I probably wouldn’t buy broccoli (or kohlrabi) just for this again, but if you’ve got some laying around go ahead and throw them in.

This batch of csipetke didn’t turn out as good as the last one. I probably worked too fast mixing the flour into the egg and my dough got too dry. I added a sprinkle of water and managed to bring the dough together, but the dumplings were pretty dry. They did soften up overnight in the fridge, so maybe I just needed to let them boil longer.


Jókai Bean Soup

Serves: 6-8
Prep: 45 Minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2:45 plus soaking time

380 g dried pinto beans
540 g smoked pork (knuckle, trotter, hocks etc)
2.75 L water
140 g carrot, diced
120 g parsley root, diced
160 g celery root, diced
150 g turnip, diced
2 bay leaves
2 small bell pepper, diced
2 small tomato, diced
280 g smoked sausages, sliced
50 ml oil
1 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
50 g flour
1 T sweet Hungarian paprika
200 ml sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ bunch parsley, chopped
Csipetke (see below)

Optional:
½ kohlrabi, diced
Black pepper
OR
14 black peppercorns
½ Tablespoon vinegar
2 L bone broth (in place of water).

Soak beans overnight.

Place smoked pork in soup pot with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Remove pork from liquid.

Add soaked beans, chopped root vegetables and bay leaves to pork stock. Simmer until beans are half cooked, 20-30 minutes. Add pepper and tomato. Continue to simmer until beans are tender, another 20-30 minutes

While the beans are cooking, make the csipetke.

Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a sauté pan. Remove to paper towel to drain.

Add oil to sausage grease and heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until it begins to brown. Stir in 50 g flour and cook until roux is lightly browned. Remove from heat and stir in paprika.

When beans are cooked, add a ladle full of soup broth to the roux and stir until smooth. Add roux mixture back into soup.

Stir in most of the sour cream, reserving some for garnish. Season with salt. Add csipetke and sausage. Simmer for another 20 minutes, until noodles are cooked.

Remove smoked meat from bones and dice. Place meat in bowls, ladle soup over it and serve garnished with sour cream and parsley. 

Csipetke

130 g flour 
Large pinch salt
1 egg, beaten.

Mix 130 g flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add egg. Gradually mix flour into egg and knead with fingertips until soft dough is formed. Pinch off bits about the size of a lemon seed and roll. Let dry for about 15 minutes.

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