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European Peasant Cookery
by Elisabeth Luard

Pasulj (Serbia)
Pasulj (pronounced poss-ool-ya) means 'very small'. This dish is a good winter standby, a classic peasant one-pot meal to be eaten with a spoon, from the mountains east of Belgrade. The cold winds which sweep from the high plain down the valleys would certainly be kept at bay with such a supper.

Quantity: Serves 4-6
Time: Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 2--2½ hours


• 1 lb white beans (haricot or cannellini)
• Water for soaking and cooking
• 2 onions
• 3 cloves garlic
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 large carrot, scraped and sliced
• 6 peppercorns
• 1/2 tablespoon salt
• 1 lb Kielbasa (smoked sausage ring) or any German boiling sausage
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 2 tablespoons flour

Utensils: A large saucepan


Pick over the beans and rinse them twice in cold water. Transfer to a large saucepan and cover them with water to a depth of two fingers. Bring die water to a boil and then turn down the heat. Leave to simmer gently for half an hour.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour in enough cold water to cover the beans to a depth of 3 inches. The beans will settle on the bottom. Leave them for a minute or two, then pour off the water and replace with fresh water. Bring the water to the boil, and then turn down the heat to simmer.

Peel and chop the onions and garlic and add them, together with the bay leaves, parsley, tomato paste, carrot, peppercorns and salt, to die beans. Cook gently over a very low heat for 1½--2 hours, until the beans are soft. After 45 minutes of the cooking, add the kielbasa, thickly sliced.

Meanwhile, prepare a thickening for the soup. Heat the oil till it is smoking lightly, and then quickly stir in die paprika, followed by the flour. Mix all to a thin paste. Add this to the soup, stirring well. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the soup is thick and rich. Serve with bread and a young red wine.

Leftovers: Even better reheated on the second day.


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