A hearthy Hungarian beef soup for winter

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2014 Xmas in Belgium and France 081The Hungarian meat soup is a soup made from beef or pork or chicken, simmered in water, usually with various other ingredients. The classic beef soup consists of a clear broth, often with pieces of chicken or vegetables; common additions are pasta. Beef soup has acquired the reputation of a folk remedy for colds and flus, and in many countries is considered a comfort food so it’s the very best time after the new year party!

There is only one problem the soup should be brought slowly to a boil and then simmered in a covered pot on a very low flame for one to three hours, meanwhile adding water if necessary. A clearer broth is achieved by skimming the drops of fat off the top of the soup as it is cooking, first bringing the beef to boil from a pot of cold water and discarding the water before continuing, or straining it through a strainer or cheesecloth.


1 kg/ 2.2 pounds of beef chuck

1 chicken breast with bones and skin

2 thick turkey necks

1 swine back or loin bone

(You can use any other meats and bones as well, you don’t need to be strict with them, and the main thing is here to have different types of meats cooked together)

half of a kohlrabi (Brassica)

150 gr celery chopped (it should be same size as kohlrabi)

2-3 celeries (the green leaves of celeriac)

2 small potato (same size as kohlrabi)

Savoy cabbage (a smaller peace is enough)

5 carrots, peeled (some peaces depending on your matter of taste, but don’t save on it!)

4 turnips (in Hungary we call it white carrot because it looks like carrot)

1 onion

2-3 cloves of garlic


A handful of black pepper (whole, not ground!)

2 beef stocks

1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika powder (or more)
Methods: One more important thing, you need to have a big pot! Please take this advice seriously. The more you cook, the better the taste

It is very important to clean everything carefully before you put it into the pot! You have to wash the meats and peel the vegetables. You will have to take some of the vegetables out of the soup early, because otherwise they will be boiled to rags and give the soup too strong of a taste. This is e.g. the kohlrabi. The main point is after you have cleaned everything to fill up your super big pot with lots of cold water and put the meats in it.

The foam:

Don’t be surprised! There will be foam on the top of the soup. This is totally OK, what you have to do is remove it with a spoon or strainer. You can repeat this until the soup is “water clear”. After you have removed the foam, you can add the vegetables. At this point, the vitamins can come out of the vegetables, because the fat of the meat has started to cook out. If you end up not having room for everything in the pot, don’t give up! You can fill up the remaining empty spaces with carrots. The Hungarian meat soup can be easily cooked for 2 hours until all the meats are tender enough.

But, don’t forget it on the stove! Time to time you should taste it and possibly add some salt. Also, be careful with the onion, if you see that it starts to collapse, just take it away and drop it into the rubbish. This way you can avoid having small onion pieces swimming in your soup.

Don’t forget to cook the soup all the time on a low temperature (lowest grade of your stove), with a lid on and never stir it! This is extremely IMPORTANT, because if you forget this your soup will be muddy!

After everything is tender, you can carefully strain the soup and place the vegetables and the meats on a plate. Let the soup subside. If you want to decorate the soup you can toss some finelly chopped parsley on the top.

To serve the soup: Place the meat and vegetables in a separate dish on the table and serve them alongside the meat soup. Don’t forget the pasta! You should cook some pasta separately. The best is to use vermicelli (this is a very thin pasta) if you cannot find this special pasta you can use whatever type you like, except spaghetti. (sacrelidge!)



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