Mom’s Bean Soup

Mom’s Bean Soup

Credit: Marika’s Kitchen


  • 2 lbs. pinto beans, dry
  • 1/2 pot water to soak beans overnight, then drain off in morning.
  • 1/2 pot water to precook beans, strain, discard water, rinse and set aside if not soaking overnight.


  • 38 cups water
  • 1 large smoked ham shank or 2 or 3 smoked ham hocks (approx. 3 lbs.) additional options; smoked turkey thigh and/or smoked Hungarian sausage
  • 4 cups onion, diced
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups bell pepper, minced
  • 4 cups carrots, diced
  • 5 cups celery, diced
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley stemmed and minced
  • 6 cups potatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • ½ tbsp pepper


  • 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. paprika (Hungarian)
  • (use liquid from soup to make paprika sauce/gravy to add back into soup)


  1. Pour beans out onto counter and sort through to remove withered beans and foreign objects like little stones or twigs. Rinse the sorted beans and then cover with cold water and allow to soak overnight.
  2. Fill stock pot halfway full with water. Drain and rinse beans. Add rinsed beans to stockpot bring pot to a slow boil. Boil for approximately 30 -45 minutes until beans are about halfway cooked.
  3. Drain, rinse well and set aside. (do not reserve water. according to my mom, this step helps minimize gas troubles usually associated with beans;-) Newer research claims harmful lectins that are troublesome to our gut health are actually reduced by this process. Google beans and lectins for more information about this.


  1. Fill 16 quart size stock pot with approx. 38 cups water (approx.9 liters/approx. 8 quarts)
  2. Add smoked pork shank or pork hocks and slow boil for approximately an hour.
  3. Add partially cooked beans, finely diced onions and minced garlic to water and continue to slow roll boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add diced carrots, diced celery, minced bell pepper, minced Italian parsley, salt and pepper and simmer for about 1/2 an hour to 45minutes.


  1. In another saucepan, heat oil a little and add flour. Sauté /toast flour, stirring continually until flour has toasted a bit, even to the point of turning a little tan. Be careful not to burn.
  2. Add minced or pressed garlic, add paprika stirring continually for 30 or so seconds. Take off flame and add enough liquid from soup with as little of the vegetables as possible and whisk till smooth.
  3. Place back on burner and stir to make a nice smooth thick sauce.
  4. Simmer and stir for a few minutes till smooth and thick. Add to soup and stir well.
  5. Add diced potatoes and continue to simmer until beans and potatoes are cooked through; 20 or 30 minutes.
  6. Taste broth and adjust seasoning to your preference.
  7. Remove meats, cut meat off bones and add diced smoked meats back in to soup.
  8. Suggestion: Always prepare several hours before eating to let all the flavors blend.

Notes and additions:
This makes a HUGE pot for sharing. Serve with medium width noodles. (my favorite is by Bende; large square noodles) most international stores or European delis carry them and you can also order them online.)

Optional additions and suggestions

  • Celery root, peeled and cut into quarters.
  • Parsley root, peeled and cut into quarters often very hard to find. It looks like parsnip but it is not parsnip. People often will tell you it is the same thing but it is not. (I made it for years without them, so don’t worry if you can’t find them. They are a very nice addition if you can find them)
  • Smoked turkey legs, thighs and wings also work well
  • Smoked Hungarian Gyulai Sausage about 8 Oz

Additional note about meats: Watch your meats. All meats do not cook evenly. A big ham shank can and often needs to cook a lot longer than smaller and less fatty cuts like smoked turkey thighs and wings and smoked Hungarian sausage. And when I say sausage, if you can’t get a good quality Hungarian Gyulai type smoked sausage, just leave the sausage out and stick with the smoked ham or turkey portions. Do not add bratwurst style sausage to this recipe. I once added my favorite smoked bratwurst and it was a terrible addition to this soup. Completely ruined the flavor of both for me. As I see the meats are cooked, I have a covered dish by my pot and pull the meats out and off the bones. I often return the bones to the soup for further simmering and hold the meat in the covered dish to keep from drying out. When the meat cools and the soup is ready, f I have added the additional things like parsley and celery roots, I remove them and I either store them in a separate container for whoever might want to add that into their soup, or I toss them. Often, the roots are just too fibrous to eat. When soup is done, add diced meats back in as instructed in step 7.

PS… if there is anything in this recipe you don’t understand, please ask. A appreciate having the opportunity to clarify things. We all can hear things quite differently from one another and our experiences with food and cooking can vary. Best of success in all your cooking endeavors!

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