An easy, delicious and hearty bean soup, with a paprika-spiced broth, vegetables, greens and kielbasa sausage.
Bean soups are a favourite of mine, and especially this Hungarian bean soup. I love that it's chock full of beans and I love the warm paprika-spiced broth. And my husband especially loves the big chunks of kielbasa :)
This is a wonderful dinner soup. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top, if you like and some crusty bread, for dipping.
Kielbasa sausage - look for kielbasa sausage in with the deli meats. It's often sold as a chunk and wrapped tightly in plastic. While kielbasa sausage is most appropriate for this Hungarian-style soup, you can use any sausage you like. Polish sausage would be a decent substitute. If you only have raw sausage, be sure to cook thoroughly in the skillet before adding to the soup.
Chicken Broth - or substitute vegetable broth, if you prefer.
Tomatoes - I've used fresh tomatoes here, but if you don't have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can substitute 2 whole canned tomatoes instead (that's 2 canned tomatoes, not 2 cans of tomatoes :).
Paprika - this soup uses a combination of both sweet and smoked paprika. If you have Hungarian paprika, that would be the first choice. Alternately, a regular sweet paprika is fine. If you don't have smoked paprika, add another teaspoon of sweet paprika instead. I don't recommend a hot paprika here.
Kidney Beans - I've used one can of red kidney beans and one can of white kidney beans (also known as Cannellini). You can use all red or all white kidney beans here. Again, while kidney beans are most appropriate for this Hungarian soup, you can use any canned beans here. Any size can around 16-18oz is fine here.
If you prefer to cook your own beans, you can certainly start with dried red and white kidney beans and soak/cook ahead of time to add to this soup.
Parsley - flat or curly parsley adds nice colour to this soup. If you like, you can add any finely chopped green (kale, spinach etc).
Sour Cream - some soups of this style have sour cream stirred right in to the soup at the end of cooking and you can certainly do that, if you like. I like to serve a dollop on top of the soup when serving. Or you can omit the sour cream altogether, as you like.
You will also need - onion, celery, carrot, cooking oil, flour (optional), bay leaf, salt and pepper
This is a simple, visual summary of the steps to make this soup. Always refer to the complete instructions in the Recipe Card below.
To start this soup, gather all your ingredients together and prepare. Brown the Kielbasa in a skillet and set aside. Add the onion, celery and carrots to a large pot and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften. We'll add a bit of flour to the softened vegetables, just to give a bit of body to the broth. Add the chicken stock to the pot.
Add the tomatoes and spices to the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes, then mash to break up the tomatoes. Add the beans to the pot and simmer 10 minutes more.
To finish the soup, retrieve the bay leaf and discard. Add the kielbasa and more parsley. Stir and cook a few minutes until warmed through. Taste soup and season generously with salt and pepper, as needed.
As with all soups, seasoning is important to bring together all the great flavours. Be sure to taste your soup at the end of cooking and add salt as needed. If it tastes "flat", it needs more salt!
Speaking of salt, I prefer not to season bean soups until the end, as I think a lower salt environment helps the beans cook nicely.
This soup keeps wonderfully in the fridge, for left-overs or if you wish to make ahead. It should freeze, as well.
Hungarian Bean Soup with Kielbasa
- 7 oz kielbasa sausage (sliced, halved or quartered (200g))
- 2 tsp cooking oil
- 1/4 cup onion (diced)
- 1/4 cup celery (diced or sliced)
- 1/2 cup carrot (finely sliced and halved or quartered)
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour (optional *see Note 1)
- 2 to matoes (quartered *see Note 2)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sweet paprika (preferably Hungarian)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (*see Note 3)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup parsley (chopped, DIVIDED)
- 18 oz can red kidney beans (rinsed (540ml))
- 18 oz can white kidney beans (rinsed (540ml))
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Additional chopped fresh parsley
- Dollop of sour cream (optional)
- Add sliced and halved or quartered kielbasa sausage to a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, until browned in spots. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add flour to the pot, if using and cook stirring, about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, 1/2 of the chopped parsley, sweet and. smoked paprika and bay leaf to the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat slightly and simmer 10 minutes.
- Using a potato masher, smash the tomatoes to break up. Add the rinsed kidney beans and stir in. Simmer 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaf and discard. Add kielbasa sausage and the remaining chopped parsley. Stir in and allow to cook a few minutes to warm through.
- Taste soup and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed. If soup tastes "flat" at all, it needs more salt.
- Serve warm, garnished with more freshly chopped parsley and a dollop of sour cream on top, if you like.
2. If you don't have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can use a couple of whole, canned tomatoes instead.
3. If you don't have smoked paprika, add an extra 1 tsp of sweet paprika. Be sure to read the Ingredient and Cook's Notes above the Recipe Card for more tips on making this recipe. You will also find step-by-step photos there, as well, for a visual summary of the steps to make this soup.
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