Q.: I remember my mother preparing a Lenten (no meat) soup of chunk potatoes and green beans in a light colored broth.
I believe she browned some flour for the broth. I can’t recall if you used any milk. The recipes I find online use cream or evaporated milk. I don’t recall my mother using sour cream, but I do recall her browning the flour — possibly souring some milk with vinegar.
This was a World War II recipe; money was scarce. Absolutely no meat. The ethnic background was Slovak. Does this make any sense? Can you help?
— L.V., Sagamore Hills
A.: Sounds like Slovak Green Bean Soup.
The recipe I found calls for sour cream, but it is possible your mother just substituted whole milk soured with vinegar for the sour cream. When times were tight, it would have been a cheaper version of sour cream.
As with many ethnic recipes, everyone had their own way of making things based on what they had available to them at the time.
Try out this recipe and feel free to adapt it to how you remember your mother making it. Enjoy!
SLOVAK GREEN BEAN SOUP
1 lb. fresh green beans
6½ cups water (7½ cups for thinner soup)
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 tbsp. butter
5 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. paprika
8 oz. sour cream
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vinegar, or to taste
Freshly chopped dill
Wash the beans. Cut off the ends and then cut into sections about half an inch long.
Bring a pot of salted cold water to a boil. Add the cut beans and potatoes. Cover and cook until both potatoes and beans are soft, about 20 minutes.
Prepare the flour mixture to thicken the soup. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the flour and the paprika and stir to combine. Cook until well combined. Stir into the soup.
Once the flour mixture dissolves (break up large chunks by pressing them against the side of the pot), add sour cream. Start by adding about ¾ of the tub. Taste and add more to your personal preference.
Next, season with a tablespoon of sugar and about a teaspoon of vinegar, more or less to taste. Simmer to allow all of the flavors to blend. Finish with a handful of finely chopped fresh dill.
Makes about six servings.
— Adapted from www.slovakcooking.com
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