Sunday, February 10, 2013

Recipe File: Magyar Sauerkraut and Bean Soup.

Consider it a New Year's resolution, one that I'm finally getting around to honoring. Whenever I cook at home in 2013, I'll be taking my battered recipe cards and their frequent scratchings of revision and alteration, rewriting them for future reference, and posting here. As often as possible, I try to cook with beer, so expect it. Most of the recipes I use on a regular basis are vegetarian, or have been been changed to exclude meat, although pork will appear on occasion. Many date back to the 1980s and are of European origin. It was the period of my induction as a Europhile, and the connection is obvious.


Magyar Sauerkraut and Bean Soup

Serves 6 - 8

This soup is based on a recipe by Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet, in his book “The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors” (1990). I make it without the pork and beef stock used in the original.

1 can (16 oz) of navy beans, rinsed

Olive oil or other cooking oil

Mushrooms (8 oz package)

5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped

2 cans (14 oz each) of vegetarian broth and 24 oz of beer for stock. Malty beers work better: Brown Ale, Doppelbock and Dark Lager are examples

1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika

1 tablespoon hot Mexican paprika

1 lb sauerkraut from the bag or bottle, rinsed and strained

Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream for garnish


Saute chopped garlic and onions in oil until tender.

Add stock mixture, paprika and pinches of salt and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil. Add sauerkraut to the pot. Bring to a boil again, then lower temperature and simmer for an hour. Add mushrooms and beans, again bringing to a boil then reducing temperature to simmer. Adjust the seasoning; go lighter on the salt and heavier on the pepper. Simmer for another half-hour to 45 minutes. Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream, and good crusty bread if you can find it. It tastes better on cold days. Accompany with the same beer used in it, or with hearty red wine in the fashion of Bull's Blood.

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