If someone asks me to tell a staple Greek dish for winter this would definitely be Greek bean soup with sausages.
I’m sure that as a kid you didn’t appreciate legumes. Me neither. When my mom was cooking Greek bean soup I was living my own personal drama. And believe me, my mum cooks great. But I was a kid. I had to feel this way about beans. Bean soup and okra.
However, over the years my eating habits have changed. As I grew up, I began to like spinach, looking forward for lentils, craving for chickpeas and oven cooked beans. But for Greek bean soup no, nothing changed.
But, my best friend and aslo Maid of Honor, gave to me a loooot of dried beans from here village which is located on Prespa Lakes region. Prespa Lakes region is a breathtaking beauty spot, rich in wildlife and history. Located in the north-western corner of Greece at 850 metres above sea level and surrounded by mountains, Prespa Lakes region is a natural park of great significance due to its biodiversity and endemic species.
Prespa is well known for its natural beauty and its high biodiversity with unique characteristics. It hosts more than 1,500 species of plants, 40 species of mammals, 260 of birds, 32 reptiles and amphibians, and 17 species of fish including a number of species found only there. The mountains are one of the last European homes of brown bears, wolves, chamois and wild boar whilst the lake host breeding colonies of Dalmatian and White Pelicans as well as pygmy cormorants.
The life of the local people is concentrated in villages around the lakes. The houses are built in a traditional style, out of stone and clay bricks with roofs of straw or stone tiles. It sounds magical, does it?
Also, Prespa Lakes area is well know for the excellent quality beans with special flavour, thin skin, and easy to cook. So I had to make bean soup.
Greek bean soup with sausages recipe notes
- Beans, like all legumes except lentils, need soaking. So before cooking, soak them for at least 8 hours in a very large bowl in plenty of cold water, enough to cover them by 7-8 cm.
- Each bean is different. So the amount of needed water for boiling may vary. I suggest not to overdo it with water, add some at the beginning and add extra boiling water if needed during cooking.
- The key is slow cooking. At medium heat, beans soften enough without dissolving, and the soup is thick and creamy as it should.
- If for some reason (probably due to poor quality of the beans) at the end of cooking the beans have softened, but the soup is not thick and creamy, don’t worry, this could be fixed. In a blender add 1 to 2 spoons of the bean soup, mash it and add it back to the pot. Then, boil the soup for about 5 minutes.
- ½ kg. navy beans, medium size
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 carrots, sliced into rounds
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 pork country sausage, sliced into rounds
- olive oil
- Soak the beans in a generous amount of water along for at least 8 hours.
- Fill a pot with water, add the beans. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Add to the pot 1.5 liters of water and the beans. Add the vegetables after finely chopping onion, garlic and carrots. Then add the tomato paste and bay leaves.
- Simmer for about 1 hour over low heat.
- Check soup form time to time and add more water if necessary. If you do need to add more water make sure it is boiling water, so that you don’t interrupt the boiling process.
- Five minutes before serving, in a pan add 2 tbsp and sauté sausage for 5 minutes or until until golden.
- When the soup is almost done add salt and smoked paprika.
- Serve soup in bowls and add on top sausage and some olive oil.
This was my try for loving bean soup. I have to admit it was succesful.