It is cold and soup is warm and comforting this time of year. Soups vary from thin to thick. A bowl of chicken noodle soup or chicken matzo ball soup, Jewish Penicillin, can really help to rehydrate you and comfort you. A spicy soup can help unclog your sinuses when you have a stuffy head.
Soups can be not only delicious, but nutritious. I am a big fan of bean soups. I love a Tuscan Bean Soup made with Hutterite beans. It is quick and easy to make with my pressure cooker. The pressure cooker lets me have Ham Hock and Bean soup, starting with dried navy beans, on the table in one hour.
Yesterday I mad one of my favorite bean soups, Serbian Bean Soup. This is a spicy thick soup with vegetables. I first ran across this soup when I was stationed in Germany. I went to one of the local super markets and saw a can of Serbian Bean Soup. It looked good and so I bought a can. It was good, very good. It was easily the best canned bean soup I’d ever had.
After getting out of the service I looked for a recipe for Serbian Bean Soup for years with no luck. A last effort was to ask a reference librarian at the library for help. She pointed me to a book, “The Old Wold Kitchen”. It had a recipe for Serbian Bean Soup. I copied the recipe and took it home and made it. I had found my soup!
Since the book was out of print, I found a copy at Powell’s Books cookbook store when I visited Portland. I’ve found a lot of very good recipes in that book. It has become one of my go to cookbooks.
I have printed the recipe for the Serbian Bean Soup below. I stick fairly closely to the recipe. The main difference is that I use the pot in pot method to rehydrate the beans before cooking the soup. After rehydrating the beans, I emptied the pressure cooker and put the beans in and added water and started to add the vegetables as I prepared them while the water was heating up. I used the accessory glass lid to use the pressuer cooker as a stock pot. The other changes are that I use more pepper corns, I like it spicier, and use more paprika, a mix of hot Hungarian an d smoked Spanish paprikas. I use a paprika sausage instead of the called for kielbasa. The papprika sausage is a double smoked sausage that I prefer.
The soup can be easily modified to use more or less vegetables and even other vegetables as desired.
Serbian Bean Soup
Yield: 10 servings
Preparation time: 2:30
Source: Old World Kitchen
2 pounds navy beans
4 each onion – coarsely chopped
7 cloves garlic – minced
6 each bay leaves
5 tablespoons parsley – chopped
1 stalk celery – coarsely sliced
1 each leek – coarsely sliced
5 tablespoons tomato paste
2 large carrot – sliced
10 whole peppercorns
1 1/2 pounds kielbasa – thickly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons flour
In a large saucepan put beans and cover with water to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Leave to simmer for 1/2 hour.
Remove beans from the heat and pour in enough cold water to cover the beans to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Leave to soak 3 minutes, then drain water. Cover with fresh water to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer.
Add onions, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, tomato paste, carrot, and peppercorns to the beans. Cook gently over very low heat for 1 & 1/2 hours, until the beans are soft. After 45 minutes of cooking add the sausage.
Fifteen minutes before serving, prepare a liaison for the soup. Heat oil until it is smoking lightly, then quickly stir in the paprika followed by the four. Mix to a thin paste. Add to the soup, stirring well. Simmer 5 minutes until the soup is thick and rich.