Sour Bean Soup (Kyslá Fazuľová Polievka)

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Ingredients: beans (300g), one potato, 2 bay leaves, two cloves of garlic, 1.5L of water, 3 whole black peppercorns, 3 slices of smoked bacon, sour cream, milk, flour, salt, vinegar, sugar
Prep Time: 1.5 hours, plus a day to soak the beans

This weekend I wanted to go for something healthy, so I decided to make a soup. Here is the recipe for the Slovak sour bean soup, kyslá fazuľová polievka. This is one of my favorite soups, along with kapustnica and the lettuce soup. The beans (fazuľa) that grow in Slovakia are, well, bean-shaped, have spots and come in many different colors. I couldn’t find anything like that in my grocery store, so I ended up using “cranberry beans”. These were very much like the Slovak beans, except that they were all uniformly colored. To make the soup cook faster, you start by soaking the beans overnight. Rinse the beans, place them in a large pot and add 1.5L of water. Let sit overnight.

cranberry bean
The dry beans

soaked cranberry beans
And after an overnight soak

Some people like to use fresh water, but the traditional way is to use the same water in which the beans had been soaking. Either way, the soup will turn out good. Add 2 cloves of crushed up garlic (cesnak), 2 bay leaves (bobkový list), and 3 black peppercorns (čierne korenie). I also added one potato (zemiak), cut into half-inch cubes. This is optional, but I like this soup better with the potato.

sour bean soup before cooking
Add the ingredients and bring to boil

foaming soup
The soup will foam up so stick around to reduce the heat. This foaming is due to the protein in the beans changing shape (denaturing). It’s similar to what happens when you add hops when brewing beer (I’ve made couple batches of beer in the past).

sour cream mixture pouring sour cream mixture
Let the soup cook until the beans and potatoes get soft. This will take about 40 minutes. Then, make a mixture of sour cream, milk and flour. You want to use about 2 or 3 tablespoons of sour cream, maybe little bit more of flour, and enough milk to make the mixture liquid. Slowly pour it in while stirring.

You next season the soup. First, add salt. I ended up using about 1 tablespoon, but this is just an estimate. Next, add one teaspoon of sugar. Finally, add vinegar. I added about 5 teaspoons, but this again is just an estimate. You want to go slow, and keep trying the soup after each addition. It’s very easy to ruin it by adding too much…

fried bacon sour bean soup with bacon added
Take 3 slices of smoked bacon, and cut it into small pieces. Fry the bacon for about 3 minutes. You want it to turn pink, but not crispy brown. Add into the soup, and cook for another 10 minutes, until the sour cream mixture completely dissolves.

sour bean soup (fazulova polievka)
And there you have it, Slovak sour bean soup! Enjoy!

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