Cserta menti kanászleves

The name of this soup is another proof of the uniqueness of the Hungarian language. The English translation that can broadly describe its meaning sounds quite awkwardly: swineherd’s soup along Cserta. Cserta is a 16.6 km long stream in the hills of Zala. Zala county can be found in south-western Hungary, and it shares borders with Croatia and Slovenia and the Hungarian counties Vas, Veszprém and Somogy. 

This soup is one of those old peasant foods that were often eaten in Zala. Kanászleves is a vegetable soup with meatballs (and contains no pigman). It’s originally made with russula mushrooms, but you can use any kind of mushrooms you have at hand. You can add a small amount of finely chopped or grated onions to the meat mixture if you want. Concerning paprika I have found recipes that don’t use this spice, but I have also read recipes that list it among the ingredients.

Cserta menti kanászlevesphoto: zserbo.com


  • 70 g (~2 1/2 oz) bacon, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 parsley root, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1,5 l (~6 cups) water
  • 150 g (~5 oz) mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

For the meatballs:

  • 200 g (~7 oz) ground pork
  • 50 g (~1 3/4 oz) rice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rice, drain and place it in a bowl. Add ground pork, salt and pepper and mix them up. Set aside.
Fry the chopped bacon until crispy. Add finely chopped onion, diced carrots and parsley root and sauté for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, fry it a bit, then add paprika and water, and give it a stir. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper, bring it to a boil and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes.

Meanwhile shape the meat mixture into balls. After 8 minutes of cooking add the meatballs to the soup and cook for about 15 minutes or until they are tender. Turn off the heat and add finely chopped parsley leaves to the soup.

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