Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Beans , Beans are good for your heart...

I was at the butcher today as I needed some fresh chicken breast. The breasts are for my spoilt cat Pitzi who will only eat raw chicken breast or for a treat raw chicken liver. Apparently the Vet said that chicken liver was not a good thing to give cats only as a very special treat. So chicken livers are special treats only but as she is the love of our lives, after our daughter ,she gets raw chicken breast daily.

Here she is on a feather pillow on an very old handmade pillowcase which  is half on leather and half on a sheepskin. She speaks Hungarian and knows English but she pretends she does not . She will come when I say  such words as "chicken liver raw!" or " are you hungry" . This can be said in Hungarian or English and she will come.  As you can see she is not happy when her nap is disturbed.

Anyways I was in the butcher shop and I saw the smoked pork hocks hanging and realized that we had not had a bean soup for a quite a while. It did not take me long to get all the ingredients and before I knew it I was at home and getting the pot ready.

1 kilo approx. smoked pork hock uncooked
250 grams beans white or kidney or mixed
5 bay leaves
3 carrots, 2 parsley roots 1 celery root cut up into pieces
2 medium onions chopped , 2 garlic cloves banged.
2 tbs oil,
2tbs flour
1tbs paprika powder
1 tbs white vinegar
a few sprigs of parsley

This is a celery root. You have to peel off the outer skin and cut off the stalk. You end up with a round ball of root. , this is what you cut into cubes for the recipe. You can add a few leaves also into the soup.

 From the picture you can see I love to combine white and kidney beans, I feel you get a slightly smoother taste.

Once you have washed the hock and the beans  you place the beans and the hock in a pot together with cold water and soak for at least 24 hours.  You should use dry beans and not the canned stuff.  The beans are soaked to get them back to their natural  state, the hock to get rid of some of the smoky salt . If you do not soak then it will be too salty and if you do not soak the beans then the soup will never be ready as the beans will not soften.

After the soaking period you are ready to start to cook.

After rinsing the hock and the beans a few times you fill up the pot again with cold water place in the hock, spread the beans around and put in the bay leaves.
You cook this on medium low  slightly covered for about 1 1/2 hour until the meat is almost soft. It will take some time so this is not something you can  whip up for a fast dinner. This is more of a weekend dish where you are not worried at the time. It is fun to put this on the stove in the morning while reading the paper and having a coffee as it almost cooks itself.  You just need a few steps and so by the afternoon your dinner is done OR put it in the fridge and have it the next day . Actually Bean Soup gets better 24 hours after making it .

Now once the meat is sort of soft and you can stick a fork in it but it does not fall apart and still feels raw, you will add the carrots, parsley roots , parsley  leaves and the celery root. NOT the onions or garlic.  This you let cook now for about 2-3 hours on a simmer.

It will look like this .If you noticed I also have cut into the skin of the hock a  bit just so it can open easier as it cooks. So you put a lid half way on the pot and just leave it alone for a few hours. No need to stir.
And you can go back to your drink  and magazine.

 When the meat is soft and you can remove the bones easily then take it out of the pot and place on a cutting board.  Cut off all the fat and the skin and cut the meat into bite size pieces.

This is the time Pitzi decides that she would like some meat, it must be the scent of this wonderful piece of smoked meat. I take a piece and mush it up, put it on her plate and let her taste it . She eats it and then looks at me for more... but I know this trick...... I will cater to her and give her another piece, she will sniff it, give me a look  , turn her nose up in the air together with her tail and walk out of the kitchen . She is saying "  it was not bad but it is not going to be my meal" .

So the meat is cut up on a plate. I placed the bones and all the fat and skin in a bag for my girlfriends dog. Dogs do not have a problem eating anything and they are so grateful.

If you go into a restaurant in Hungary and order this  most of the time you will get these pieces of fat as they do not cut them off. The Hungarians seem to enjoy eating it , I don't this is why I make my own bean soup all the time.                                                                                                                   

 Now we are ready for the roux. Put the pot back on the stove on simmer .                
 In a frying pan add the oil and the flour and fry until the flour is a beige color.  This will be the beginning of the spiced roux.

Once it is beige you add the onions and garlic and fry again for a few minutes.  This is important as this will add an additional taste to the bean soup. Many people just add the onion directly but I always think that frying it abit brings out a different flavor.

Now you take this off the burner and add the paprika powder and stir fast as you can not let the powder get even a little burned.
Add a bit of cold water 1/3 cup and put it back on the stove to mix.

After adding the water it should look like this . A beautiful red/orange colour  and you continue for about 1 minute on low heat stirring.

Now this is placed into the pot of simmer soup and stirred . You will add 1 tbs of white vinegar to this.  We add the meat back and we simmer for about 15 minutes, this is so all the  flavors get mixed.

We serve this by placing a tbs of sour cream in a bowl and ladling  the soup on top of it . 

Some people make mini dumplings to this soup but most just leave it this way .  The dumplings are made with 1/2 cup flour , 1 egg and 1 tbs water. This is stirred together and becomes a hard paste. You then drop tiny pieces of it ( size of a pea)  using a teaspoon into the boiling soup and cook for 5-10 minutes until they are ready.
This picture came out a little dark but here you can see the finished soup with the dumplings also.
I usually make a large pot of this soup and the freeze the leftovers. I take out the carrots and parsnips as they do not freeze well. When I want to use this I  it thaw out and add water and some boiled carrots. For decoration you can always use parsley leaves.

Well my soup is done , a meal in a bowl with some crusty farmer bread.  The leftovers are placed in freezer containers for a day when I am too tired to cook.  I just love when you can make 3 meals at one time.  From one 1kilo hock you can make 6 servings

Pitzi has said it is now time for my afternoon coffee. So I make my latte while cleaning up the kitchen actually not a hard job as I usually clean as I finish using anything , then I microwave a chocolate chip cookie and finally sit down with a book for my coffee break. But Pitzi wants my attention she sits beside me and stares at me wanting to talk so I tell her about Libya and give her a review of the book I am reading. .She looks forward to this coffee break every afternoon, and I must admit I do also.  What would I do without a cat who tells me that now is the time to take a break?

No comments:

Post a Comment