Reaper’s soup – Kaszás leves

by | Jul 1, 2022 | Soups

Before the appearance of reaping machines crops were cut and collected by hand. Harvesting grains with a sickle or a scythe was a hard physical work, which required nourishing meals. Reaper’s soup (kaszás leves) was one of those foods that were usually cooked during the harvest season. Kaszás leves, which reminds us the old tradition of reaping, is a hearty soup containing smoked pork, vegetables, sour cream and croutons.

The meat can be any kind of smoked pork cut (shank, neck, etc.), preferably boneless and fatty. Smoked pork generally needs to be soaked in cold water for a couple of hours before cooking, otherwise the soup may be too salty and unpalatable. The following recipe was inspired by Szoky’s kitchen.

Reaper's soup - Kaszás leves
Reaper’s soup – Kaszás leves – photo:


  • 700 g (~1 1/2 lbs) smoked, boneless pork (ham, neck, shank, etc.)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 heaping tbsp sweet ground paprika
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 250 g (~1/2 lb) carrots
  • 100 g (~3 1/2 oz) parsley roots
  • 50 g (~1 3/4 oz) celeriac
  • 400 g (~1 lb) potatoes
  • 2 heaping tbsp flour
  • 120 g (~4 1/4 oz) sour cream
  • 1-2 tbsp parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • 4-5 slices of white bread

In order to reduce the pork’s saltiness, soak the meat in cold water overnight.

The following day rinse the pork and dice. Place it in a large pot, pour in 3 liters (~12 cups) of water, add bay leaves, finely chopped onions and garlic, bring it to a boil, cover and slowly simmer until the meat becomes tender (approx. 1,5-2 hours).

Meanwhile prepare the vegetables and the croutons. Peel and dice carrots, parsley roots, celeriac and potatoes, and keep them in cold water.

Cut the bread slices into cubes, put them in a baking pan and toast them in the oven at 170-180°C / 338-356°F until golden brown.

Once the pork is tender, season the soup with pepper and paprika. Adjust salt if necessary. Add carrots, parsley roots and celeriac and keep cooking. 10-15 minutes later add potato cubes and cook until all the veggies are soft and tender.

In a small bowl mix together flour, sour cream and 50 ml (~1/4 cup) of water. Stir some hot soup in the mixture, then pour it in the soup while stirring constantly. Bring it to a boil and cook for further 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat, add finely chopped parsley leaves and vinegar to the soup. Serve hot with croutons.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

Metric system vs cup

In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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