Hungarian Bean Stew


    1 pound (2 1/4 cups) red beans

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1 medium or large onion, chopped

    6 garlic cloves, minced

    2 carrots, peeled and chopped

    1 large or 2 small green bell peppers, cut in small dice

    2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika

    2 tablespoons tomato paste

    1 bay leaf


    1 teaspoon oregano

    Pinch of cayenne

    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

    ½ teaspoon sugar

    Freshly ground pepper

    ½ cup minced fresh parsley, or a combination of parsley and dill


  1. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the onions, carrots and peppers. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2.  Add 2 of the garlic cloves and continue to cook for another minute or so, until the garlic is fragrant. Season to taste with salt, add another tablespoon of oil and add the paprika. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, until the vegetables are well coated with paprika and the mixture is aromatic.
  3. Add a ladleful of water, stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to deglaze, then stir this mixture into the beans. Add the tomato paste and bay leaf, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.
  4. Add the oregano, the remaining garlic cloves, salt to taste, cayenne, vinegar and sugar, and continue to simmer for another hour. The beans should be thoroughly tender and the broth thick and fragrant.
  5. Taste and adjust salt, and add more cayenne if desired. For a thicker stew, strain out 1 heaped cup of beans with a little liquid and purée. Stir back into the stew.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the parsley. Serve over noodles or thick slices of country bread, topping each portion with a large dollop of drained yogurt.
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