In the Hungarian cuisine dry pinto beans are commonly used, mainly for soup and sólet. However, dry bean stew is made with white kidney beans. This dish is so thick and nutritious that one plate of dry bean stew provides your daily energy needs; it makes you feel full for long and keeps food cravings at bay.
Beans are one of the mankind’s oldest foods. This vegetable, rich in fiber and protein, has been one of the most important energy source, especially in the winter season, for thousands of years. Currently, the world genebanks hold about 40,000 bean varieties, although only a fraction are mass-produced for regular consumption.
White kidney beans, just like other legumes, contain both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. They are heart-healthy as they are rich in vitamin B9, which reduces the levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the bloodstream – homocysteine increases your risk for heart attack and stroke. Thiamin (vitamin B1) content of white kidney beans is necessary for formation and operation of brain cells, and ensures that your memory functions properly.
Cooking dry beans takes time. It can take from an hour to three hours (or longer) for them to become tender. The age, variety and size of your beans all affect the cooking time. Therefore pre-soaking can’t be omitted from the preparation process.
Pre-soaking trims down the cooking time a bit, but even more importantly, it helps the beans cook more evenly and become completely tender all the way through. Another benefit of pre-soaking is that it decreases the amount of indigestible carbohydrates can be found in beans, so flatulance caused by beans can be reduced, as well. Besides pre-soaking simmering is the other factor that helps, too, beans gently cook evenly, and keep their skins intact.
- 300 g (~1 1/2 cups) dried white kidney beans
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp homemade seasoning blend
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 heaping tbsp flour
- 3 heaping tbsp sour cream
- dash of vinegar
- 2 onions
- 150-200 g (~5-7 oz) smoked sausage
The night before you plan to cook, soak the beans. Pick through the beans and discard any shriveled or unappealing beans. Cover the beans with a few inches of water and leave them on the counter.
The next day, drain the beans and rinse them gently under water. Transfer the beans to a cooking pot. Cover the beans with an inch of water, add salt, bay leaf and seasoning blend, and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and bring the beans to a very gentle simmer. Cook the beans until tender. Add more water as needed, and stir occasionally.
In the meantime heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan, add flour and make a blond roux. Let it cool. Once the beans are done, dilute the roux with some liquid and add to the beans. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly, until the stew thickens. Turn off the heat; in a small bowl combine sour cream and a ladle of soup, then pour the mixture into the soup. Flavour the dish with a dash of vinegar.
Slice the onions and the sausage. In 1 tablespoon of oil cook the onions until golden. Add a tiny drizzle of oil to a separate frying pan and cook the sausages for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Ladle the bean stew in plates and top with golden onions and sausage slices.