Thursday, 23 February 2012

Supa de cartofi cu carnati

"Potato soup with sausages"

This recipe was sent to me by a friend from Arad, a city in the west of Romania very close to the Hungarian border. This winter potato soup makes good use of the peppers and paprika that are so fundamental to the Hungarian cuisine which influences Romanian food in the Transylvanian regions. If you can't find Hungarian paprika where you live (try to find out if there is an Eastern European store in the neighbourhood) you can use regularly paprika. Personally, I really like the slightly smokey Hungarian paprika. The sausages turn this soup into a hearty lunch or even a welcome dinner after being out in the cold but of course, the sausages could be left out or served separately to cater for vegetarian guests.

Servings: 3-4 bowls
Time: 40 minutes

1 large or two medium onions, chopped medium-fine
1 tablespoon of salted minced red pepper (or 1 teaspoon of mild Hungarian paprika powder, or 1 tablespoon of Hungarian paprika paste)
1 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns
1 to 1½ bay leaves, torn into smaller pieces
2-3 potatoes (depending on size), peeled and cut into small cubes
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into rounds (or half-rounds if too thick)
Sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of flour
1 or 2 sausages (depending on size) - either fresh ones or smoked ones like polonez, cransky, cabanos, whichever you prefer
Sour cream (optional)
Red onions (optional, side dish)

1. Pour the sunflower oil into a large pan, enough oil to just coat the base of the pan. Add the chopped onions (there should be enough to amply cover the base of the pan). Fry the onions gently until they become translucent.
2. Once the onions have softened (around 5 minutes) add the paprika, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Let them stew with the onions for a couple of minutes. It should already be starting to smell wonderful. Keep stirring so as not to burn or brown the onions otherwise they will taste bitter.
3. After a few minutes,  take off the heat, add the flour and stir it into the onion mixture to form a thick paste with the juices.
4. Return to the heat and bit by bit, add the water (the water can be warmed up first) and stir it into the paste until the paste has fully dissolved. Add approximately a litre to a litre and a half of water, according to how thick you like your soup.
5. Bring this stock to the boil and add the potato cubes and carrot and boil until they are soft, but still holding their shape. Keep the soup simmering, almost to a rolling boil. If it gets too thick, you can add a little more water.
6. About five minutes before the potatoes and carrots are cooked, add the sausage, thinly sliced.
7. Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary, then serve.

This gorgeous winter-warmer of a soup can be served with a big dollop of sour cream (smantana) and some crusty bread. It is also commonly served with a red onion salad, which complements the soup perfectly. To make the salad, simply finely slice a medium red onion, salt well, mixing together with your fingers so that the onion releases some of its juices, then dress with a tablespoon or two of good olive oil or sunflower oil.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting my recipe. I think it came out pretty good... and it looks as it should ...but as I told you, I think the best taste is given by home made red peppers mince preserve.

Romfoody said...

I'll make some for next time! Can you post the correct recipe for the pepper preserve here for us?

Anonymous said...

I definetely can:
Get some nice and healthy red capsicums or gogosari/capia, cut off the stalks, deseed them and cut off the white strip where the seeds were. Either put them in a food processor and chop them or grind them trough a fine meat grinder. For 1 kg of deseeded capsicums (before grinding) add 1/4 kg of normal fine salt (un-iodised)at the ground capsicums. Stir it well until the salt is melted. Put the mixture in clean jars and keep them in the fridge. I usually make a smaller quantity, from 2-3 capsicums - makes a small jar. Excellent add-on to my Potato and sausage soup or to stews, casserolles, essential for paprikas. Enjoy it in the winter as is as tasty and fresh like a just bought capsicum.