Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Bob Chorba - Bulgarian monastery-style bean soup (gluten-free, vegan, kosher)

Bob Chorba, Bulgarian bean soup is one of the national dishes of the country. The most popular version is the vegetarian one so this comforting soup is suitable for all special diets!

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Ok, I admit: Bob Chorba does sound like a very awkwardly re-named former US president hiding somewhere in the Balkans under the disguise of witness protection program. But that it is not. In Bulgarian (like so many other languages in the region) chorba means soup and bob, well, beans. 

Bob Chorba, Bulgarian bean soup is one of the most beloved dishes in the country and something you're bound to run into where ever you go. Like patatnik, Bulgarian potato and mint omelette I've already introduced you to, it is simple and homely but oh, so comforting (and only gets better as it's re-heated!)

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There are several versions of this, but the most popular one only has beans and veggies in it. It is also known as the monastery soup, which apparently refers to monastery communities' habit of abstaining from meat.

And monasteries are something Bulgaria has a lot of. Of approximatelly hundred monasteries still in business the oldest ones have operated continuously for more than a thousand years. They often make intriguing destinations because of their amazing architecture alone. 

A particularly interesting is the monastery of Rila, located some 100 kilometres from the capital Sofia. It is also one of the nine Bulgarian UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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Serves 6

Bob Chorba - Bulgarian bean soup:

2 largeish onions
3 medium size carrots
2 largeish garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 dl tomato concentrate
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cans (á 400 g/ 240 g) large white bean, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 l vegetable or chicken stock
4 tbsp fresh spearmint (or 2 tbsp dried), roughly chopped

For frying: 1/2 dl oil

To serve: flat leaf parsley chopped

Dice the carrots and onions to small cubes. Sauté them in oil in bit pot together with garlic until onion is translucent. 

Add paprika, chilli flakes, tomato concentrate and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Keep stirring the ingredients for another 5 minutes. Then add beans and stock.

Let simmer, covered, over medium heat for an hour.

Remove about a ladlefull of the beans and a ladlefull of the stock. Measure them into a food processor and whizz them until smooth (this helps to thicken the soup and make it even more comforting!)

Return the bean mixture into the pot. Add mint and keep coooking for another 5 minutes.

Check the taste and add more salt, pepper and/or paprika if needed. 

Divide into bowls, sprinkle with parsley and serve. 

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Bob Chorba -_Bulgarian bean soup_monastery soup_gluten-free_vegan_kosher_PIN ME

Hey - how have you liked Bulgaria so far? Any of you familiar with the country or planning on exploring in the future?



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