When writing recipes, I have no specific person in mind that I’m sharing with. I feel most times that I share with the air. Both of my parents are gone. My brothers are living in other cities and live independent lives of their own. So I share to try to give anonymously.
There are recipes I had growing up, that for one reason or another lingered in my mind and I wanted to explore further. I was influenced greatly by the Hungarian culture of my father growing up because he came from a family very passionate about food. This idea, along with others along the way throughout December will comprise a collection of recipes akin to an advent calendar. One or more recipes opened with each day of advent until Christmas Eve.
Today involves a memory of red bean soup cooked with a pork hock, but I developed the idea a step further to have as a side similar to traditional North American pork and beans, with more intense, fresh flavours.
Smoked Pork Hock Stock:
3lb Sunshine Organic Farms smoked pork hock
12 cups water
In a large pot place the pork hock and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer on medium low heat, partially covered for 3-4 hours until very tender. Keep the stock and reserve the shredded pork hock meat. Discard the skin(if not making cracklings later) and bone.
Hungarian Pork and Beans
2 cups dried red kidney beans
2 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics canola oil
1 large Riverbend Gardens onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 Doef’s Greenhouses sweet red peppers, coarsely chopped
1 Doef’s Greenhouses red chilli, finely chopped
1/2 small can tomato paste
2 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
9-10 cups Reserved Smoked Pork Hock Stock
1 cup Reserved shredded smoked pork hock meat
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp Gold Forest Grains soft white flour
Soak the dried beans in a large bowl covered by 10cm/4″ of water overnight. Drain. Discard water.
In a large pot, place soaked beans along with 8 cups Reserved Smoked Pork Hock Stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over medium high heat for 45-60 minutes, until tender and one or two beans starting to split. Drain, reserving stock for another use (freeze to add to a future soup, cook rice, etc).
In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat and sauté onions, celery, peppers and chilli until softened, but not browned (about 7-9 minutes). Add the paprika, tomato paste and 1 cup of Reserved Smoked Pork Hock Stock and stir until the tomato paste loosens to a sauce around the sautéed vegetables. Add the cooked beans, shredded smoked pork hock meat and another cup of Reserved Smoked Pork Hock Stock, stirring over medium heat to coat and cover all the ingredients. Reduce heat to medium low and stir gently for another 10 minutes.
In a small bowl stir together the butter and flour. Add 1/2 cup Smoked Pork Hock Stock and whisk until smooth. Stir into the simmering pot to thicken.
Serve as a side for a brunch dish with eggs or on top of a traditional Hungarian egg dumpling called nokedli (see recipe below)
Nokedli (Hungarian Egg Dumpling)
1 cup Gold Forest Grains soft white flour (measured after it has been sifted)
1 Sunshine Organic large egg
1/2-2/3 cup milk
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and egg. When the egg makes the flour a bit crumbly, add 1/2 cup of milk. Stir until a thick paste-like batter is achieved. If it is too dry add a touch more milk.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and place a coarse grater over the simmering pot (if you can find a “spaetzle maker” in a kitchen store, it’s the same idea). Ladle 1/2 cup of prepared batter over the grater and scrape bits of dough through the coarse opening into the boiling water. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the dumplings float. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve as an alternative side starch or in soups to add more body.