Bean Soup with Smoked Pork Knee

Location: Žilinský kraj, okres Námestovo, Oravská Lesná

GPS: N49°22'8'' E19°11'7''

The cuisine of northern Slovakia comes from areas with harsh climatic conditions, where at least three months it is usually intensively cold. This is one of the reasons, why there is a predominance of smoked meat, potatoes, sauerkraut, dairy products, products of flour and pulses in this cuisine. 

In our country, the pulses belong to the oldest cultivated crops. Large consumption of pulses was also conditioned by the frequent and prolonged fasts. Beans, which spread in Europe after the discovery of America, gradually began to push out other pulses. The most famous food, still popular in the Slovak kitchen, is bean soup. Festive kinds shall not be without sausage or smoked meat. Bean soup used to be part of the Christmas Eve dinner for many families.

Ingredients for 6 - 8 portions:
1 of smoked pork knee (1 – 1,5 kg)
220 g of big mottled beans
2 pcs of carrots
3 pcs of potatoes
1 bigger onion
1 clove of garlic
3 teaspoons of fine flour
50 g of lard
2 bay leaves
4 blobs of whole black pepper
salt, ground black pepper, marjoram, ground sweet red pepper

Dip beans into water a day in advance. Let the washed smoked knee cook in a larger pot with the bay leaf and peppercorns. Cook until tender. After cooking, take the knee out of the pot and let it cool, take off the meat from the bone and cut it into small pieces. Strain the broth. Meanwhile, pour out the water from the beans, wash them and let them cook in the broth from the knee. 

Add the carrots cut into slices and the diced potatoes and cook until tender. Finally, prepare a roux on the lard from the finely chopped onion, flour, paprika and pour it into the hot soup. Season it with salt, pepper, marjoram and crushed garlic. Finally, insert pieces of lean meat from the smoked knee into the soup.