Many soups are associated with the name of a famous person or an ethnic group. Thus János Gundel created Palócleves soup for the birthday of Kálmán Mikszáth (1847-1910). It was named after the Palócs, a sub-ethnic group which is native to the mountainous north of Hungary. Mikszáth, who came from the same area, romanticized the life of these "good highlanders" in his first successful novel.

The actor Ede Újházy (1844-1915), himself a gourmet, created a chicken soup á la Újházy for which he used only roosters, according to the memoirs of the author Endre Nagy: "Old roosters were required ..., such as those whose tough tendons were proof of the spice of passionate love scenes. They had to boil for three days and three nights, before they combined with the stock and vegetables, above all with the "legendary" celeriac. The master paid particular attention to coxcombs, and other powerful organs of the rooster, in whose hereditary effect he passionately believed. And it was deemed a sign of the greatest consideration if he served someone one of these components." Perhaps this description explains why Ede Újházy's dinner guests, who consisted of men only, prized this soup so highly ...

Marhahúsleves velőscsonttal

Beef broth with marrowbone dumplings

The author Gyula Krúdy (1878-1933) immortalized this soup in many stories.


ˇ        1 piece of marrowbone
         (9 oz/250 g)

ˇ        1 1/2 lbs/700 g beef
         (leg, chuck, or shin)

ˇ        9 oz/250 g beef bones

ˇ        10 peppercorns

ˇ        1 tbsp salt

ˇ        1 medium onion

ˇ        1 clove of garlic

ˇ        2 medium carrots

ˇ        2 medium parsley root

ˇ        1 small celeriac

ˇ        1 small kohlrabi

ˇ        1 piece of savoy cabbage
         (or 1-2 cauliflower florets)

ˇ        2 mushrooms (optional)

ˇ        1 bell pepper
         (capsicum) (optional)

ˇ        1 small tomato (optional)

ˇ        1 bouillon cube

ˇ        Soup garnish, e.g. noodles

ˇ        Sliced white bread

ˇ        Salt

ˇ        Paprika

1.    Dip each end of the marrowbone in salt, so that as little of the bone marrow as possible oozes out during cooking.

2.    Put the meat, beef bones, marrowbone, and peppercorns in a large pan of salted water. Bring to the boil slowly over a low heat, then simmer.

3.    Peel the vegetables. Cut the carrots and parsnips into strips. Add all the vegetables to the stock when the meat has been cooking for about 2 hours.

4.    Continue cooking the meat for another 1-2 hours, until tender.

5.    Bring a second saucepan of water to the boil, then dissolve the bouillon cube in it and cook the chosen soup garnish. When the soup is ready, leave it to stand for a few minutes.

6.    Strain it into a warmed soup tureen, reserving the marrowbone and beef. Strain the garnish and serve separately.

7.    Toast the bread. Scoop out the hot bone marrow, and spread it on the toast, then sprinkle over salt and paprika. Slice the beef, and serve with grated horseradish and mustard.


Jókai bableves

Bean soup á la Jókai

This soup was named for the Hungarian novelist Mór Jókai (1825-1904).


ˇ        1 1/3 cups/250 g red kidney beans

ˇ        10 oz/300 g smoked ham
          shank (boned)

ˇ        1-2 bay leaves

ˇ        1 large carrot

ˇ        1 large parsley root

ˇ        1/2 small celeriac

ˇ        7 oz/200 g Frankfurter

ˇ        4 tsp/20 g butter

ˇ        4 tbsp flour

ˇ        1 small onion

ˇ        1 clove of garlic

ˇ        1 heaped tsp sweet paprika

ˇ        1-3 tsp vinegar

ˇ        3/4 cup/200 ml sour cream

ˇ        Bunch of parsley


1.    Soak the beans overnight, and also the ham shank, so that the dish will not be too salty. Drain and rinse the beans.

2.    Put the beans, ham, and bay leaves in a saucepan with 6 cups/1.5 liters cold water, and bring to the boil over a low heat.

3.    Peel the carrots, parsnip, and celeriac, then dice them finely. After 30-40 minutes, add the vegetables to the saucepan with the sausage. In about 10 minutes remove the ham shank and sausage from the soup.

4.    Melt the butter, then add the flour, stirring all the time, and sweat it until the flour turns pale gold. Take the pan off the heat. Stir in the diced onion, crushed garlic, and paprika. Stir the roux into the soup to thicken it, and bring the soup to a boil again.

5.    Dice the ham shank, and slice the sausage. Season the soup to taste with vinegar. Add the sour cream to the soup and bring it to the boil again, then add the ham and sausage.

6.    Sprinkle chopped parsley over the soup and serve immediately.

Sometimes plucked pasta (see page 39) are added to the soup toward the end of cooking.

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