Albanian White Bean Soup


For 4-6 people:
  • 1lb (454g) dried white kidney beans
  • 10 cups of water (x2)
  • 1 white onion (medium size)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose white flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper/paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
If desired, you can also add: 
  • a few small peppers
  • mushrooms
  • tomatoes
  • 1/4 hot red pepper
Duration: 1 hour + soaking beans overnight

1. Soak the beans

Rinse the dry beans in cold water, then cover with water in a stockpot and soak them overnight.  The next day, drain the soaking water and cook with a fresh batch of water.

2. Boil the beans

Rinse the soaked beans again and put in a pot with water to be boiled.  Bring to a boil in high heat. Lower the temperature to low and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until tender (not too soft, the beans should keep the shape.)

3. Sauté the onion, garlic and peppers

While the beans are simmering, finely chop the onion, garlic and peppers. Sauté all in moderately high heat with vegetable oil: start with the onion and garlic, stirring periodically; after the onion starts to soften (about 5-7 minutes) add the peppers, the salt and the black pepper. After the vegetables have softened (about 15-20 minutes), turn the heat to low and add the tablespoon of flour. Stir continuously for about a minute until the flour starts to turn light brown. Add the red pepper powder and stir for another minute.  Add a few ladle scoops of the boiling bean water to the sautéing vegetables. Mix and stir for another 1-2 minutes to let the flour cook and prevent from sticking.

4. Add the sautéd mix to the beans

Transfer the sautéed mix to the stockpot with the simmering beans. This will cause the bean soup to thicken slightly. It also gives the taste of the sautėd vegetables and the reddish color from the red pepper. Stir and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve hot in a soup dish. Complement with pickled vegetables (“turshi”).



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