Pasulj or Serbian bean soup is a dish common to the Baltic region with several variations.  It often features white, cranberry or pinto beans. It is a hearty winter recipe and is comforting to eat in the cooler months. Pasulj can feature different meats (often smoked) and baked beans can provide a vegetarian option. A perfect recipe for large gatherings! Thanks to Nenad Predic.

Ingredients:

2 onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 cup, diced parsley

2 bay leaves, chopped

½ cup dill, chopped

½ cup basil, chopped

2 carrots, diced

2 sweet peppers (banana peppers) or chilli peppers, diced

2 cups of white beans or baked beans

3 medium sized potatoes, diced

1 parsnip. diced

1 tsp ground pepper

1 smoked hock

2 fresh pig trotters

¼ kilo smoked bacon or half a kilo of smoked ribs

2 smoked pork sausages, chopped

½ cup, flour

3 tbsp smoke-flavoured paprika

5 tbsp of olive oil (or lard)

Method:

Chop onions and place in large pot.

Chop all of the meat into smaller pieces and add them to a large pot.

Fill the pot halfway with water, or until the meat is fully covered.

Add 1 tablespoon of paprika.

Dice the parsley, dill, pepper and bay leaves and add them all to the pot.

Add 2 cups of beans (beans preferably soaked in water overnight).

Cook for 3 hours on low heat.

Dice the carrots, potatoes, parsnips and banana peppers.

When the stew has been simmering for two and a half hours, add the diced carrots potatoes, parsnips and banana/sweet peppers.

In the last 10 minutes dice up two cloves of garlic and half an onion and put in a pan with 5 tablespoons of olive oil.

Add flour to the pan and stir until it goes brown.

Add 2 tablespoons of paprika to the frying pan.

Take two cups of water out of the pot and add it to the pan.

Stir pan for 1 minute until mixture boils.

Put contents of pan into pot.

Keep contents of pot on simmer for another 10 minutes and then turn off  heat.

Let the pot sit for 15 minutes.

Serve.

(This recipe serves 6-10 people)

The story behind the recipe (from Nenad Predic).

“I call this Pasulj and the main ingredients are smoked beans and sausages. It is a common family dish and was made by everyone at some stage or another. Growing up, this was a favourite winter family cuisine. While I call this a Serbian dish, it features some influences from the Austrian and Hungarian cultures – especially through its use of paprika and smoked meat. When I think about my memories of eating this dish, I feel warm and content. Potatoes are the main standout ingredient. Growing up, our family grew carrots and potatoes, beans, parsley and dill, which were all a feature of the recipe."