Friday, November 13, 2009
HUNGARIAN GREEN BEAN SOUP
Ta-da, my collection of pureed green soups is now complete! Actually, it didn’t occur to me that this soup might be a dead ringer for several others in my repertoire until I set out to take pictures of it and felt a strong pang of déjà vu; there are only so many ways to photograph pale green liquid in a blue bowl in a poorly lit kitchen, after all. I’d had the recipe bookmarked in my copy of The St. Paul Farmers’ Market Cookbook for several years, mostly because I’d never heard of a green bean soup before, and green beans are one of my favorite vegetables, but also because the sour cream/dill combo (the thing that makes it “Hungarian,” I guess) sounded alluring.
This is an easy recipe, assembled along the ol’ boil-and-puree line, and (I feel like I say this all the time) I feared it would be bland, but it wasn’t. A feared it would be super-green-beany, and it wasn’t that, either. It mostly tasted like dill and sour cream (well, I used crème fraiche, and plain yogurt, preferably Greek, would also work), sort of like a lighter, fresher, tangier, less oniony potato-leek soup, but with a vague green undertone. It didn’t bowl me over with its uniqueness (at least, I’m not sure I could identify it as green bean soup if I were blindfolded), but I enjoyed it and will certainly make it again, not least because it’s so versatile—lemony and green for spring, delicate enough for summer, and accessible enough for winter (the recipe says you can even use frozen green beans). We ate it with dill, red onion, and cheddar drop biscuits (a good way to use up the rest of that bunch of dill), but garlic bread would also make a good accompaniment.
3 cups good-quality chicken broth (or vegetable broth, for a vegetarian version)
½ pound fresh green beans
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small onion, quartered
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup sour cream or crème fraiche (can also substitute plain yogurt)
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Combine broth, beans, potatoes, onion, butter, dill, and garlic in large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
2. Transfer soup to a blender or processor in batches and puree until smooth, then return to saucepan (or leave in the pan and use an immersion blender). Stir in sour cream and lemon juice. Warm over low heat until heated through.
Time: 40 minutes
Leftover potential: Good