White beans soup with smoked meat and vegetables. A Romanian tradition.
Made all over the country, this white bean soup is quintessentially from Transylvania.
Whilst in the south they use more veg, and finish the soup with lots of fresh parsley, and in the east in Moldova they use sometimes (a lot) dill, still the most popular is in Transylvania.
Rich with smoked meats, whole pig knuckles or ribs, thick slabs of bacon or just chunks of smoked meat.
It’s served always with fresh red onion salad and either fresh or pickled chili, always with a shot of plum brandy (palinca) before.
And fresh bread, but if there is no bread, a think polenta will replace it quite well.
- 100g dried white beans
- 400g smoked meats (bacon, pig knuckle, ham, ribs)
- 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper
- 1 onion
- 100g celeriac
- 1 large tomato
- 50ml vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon flour
- fresh celery, parsley, lovage, tarragon, thyme
- If dried white beans are used then the beans need to be soaked overnight in plenty of cold water. Otherwise the beans will take three times as long to boil.
- With the beans soaked, put them in plenty of water to boil. They’ll boil initially for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse them.
- Now depending on the meat used, the time of preparation varies. To make it easier for “beginners” I’ll try to simplify the recipe.
- Add the meat to be used in water, bring to boil and simmer (skim impurities should it have any) until the meat is tender. Take the meat out, portion it and keep aside.
- Over the liquid in which the meat has boiled, add the beans and water.
- Bring to a medium to low simmer for 30 minutes. The beans have already cooked for 15 minutes.
- Now chop finely the vegetables, into dice. The onion, celeriac, tomato and the peppers. For even better flavor the peppers can be roasted in advance and peeled. Add to pot.
- Optionally (there is tomato in the white bean soup) tomato puree can be added (about one spoon) or 200ml of tomato passata.
- When all the veg and the beans are cooked through (should take another 15-20 minutes, taste the beans) add back to the pot the meat and remove form the fire. Almost there.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the flour and gently cook until a pale brown color develops.
- Careful, add soup from the pot to the flour, ladle by ladle stirring constantly until you get a thick soupy mixture. Add to pan.
- To finish add plenty of fresh herbs, we like lovage in Transylvania, and tarragon that’s been preserved in vinegar, also dried thyme.
Other popular recipes in this category:
- Best Romanian chicken paprikash with flour dumplings.
- Traditional cabbage rolls (sarmale) stuffed with minced pork and smoked meats.
- Chicken and noodles soup.