Hungarian Ham Shank Soup with White Beans

Warmth and Flavor in Every Spoonful: Hungarian Ham Shank Soup with White Beans

Embark on a culinary journey to Hungary with this comforting Hungarian Ham Shank Soup with White Beans, where smoky ham and hearty beans meld together in a rich and soul-warming broth. View the recipe below!

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Hungarian Ham Shank Soup with White Beans

Hungarian Ham Shank Soup with White Beans (Bableves Füstölt Csülökkel)

This Hungarian Ham Shank Soup with White Beans, called Bableves Füstölt Csülökkel, is a delightful fusion of smoky ham, creamy white beans, and a flavorful broth seasoned with Hungarian paprika. It's a comforting and nourishing dish that's perfect for any season.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 smoked ham shank (approximately 5-6 pounds)
  • 2 cups dried white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini), soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Hungarian paprika (sweet or hot, depending on your preference)
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • Sour cream or yogurt for serving (optional)


  • Drain and rinse the soaked white beans.
  • In a large soup pot, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables become tender and the onion is translucent.
  • Place the ham shank in the pot with the sautéed vegetables. Allow it to sear for a few minutes on each side to develop flavor.
  • Sprinkle Hungarian paprika, caraway seeds, salt, and black pepper over the ham shank and vegetables. Stir well to coat everything with the spices.
  • Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, add the bay leaf, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer gently for 2 to 2.5 hours, or until the ham is tender and easily pulls away from the bone.
  • Add the soaked white beans to the pot and continue to simmer for an additional 30-45 minutes or until the beans are tender.
  • Remove the ham shank from the pot, cut or shred the meat from the bone, and return it to the soup. Discard any excess fat or bones.
  • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Ladle the Hungarian Ham Shank Soup with White Beans into bowls, garnish with chopped fresh parsley, and serve hot. Optionally, add a dollop of sour cream or yogurt for a creamy finish.


Cooking Tips for the Best Results:

  1. Soak the beans: Be sure to soak the dried white beans overnight to reduce cooking time and ensure they cook evenly.
  2. Choose quality paprika: Hungarian paprika is the star of this soup, so opt for high-quality sweet or hot paprika for authentic flavor.
  3. Simmer slowly: The key to tender ham and creamy beans is a slow and gentle simmer. Avoid boiling vigorously.
  4. Customize spice level: Adjust the amount of paprika and caraway seeds to suit your preferred level of spiciness and flavor.
  5. Make ahead: This soup often tastes even better the next day, so consider making it in advance for a richer flavor.

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FAQs about Hungarian Ham Shank Soup with White Beans

Can I use canned white beans instead of dried?

While dried beans provide a better texture, you can use canned white beans and reduce the cooking time accordingly.

What can I substitute for Hungarian paprika?

If you can’t find Hungarian paprika, use regular sweet or smoked paprika as an alternative.

Can I make this soup in advance and freeze it?

Yes, this soup freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers for freezing.

What side dishes go well with Hungarian Ham Shank Soup?

Crusty bread, Hungarian dumplings (nokedli), or a simple green salad are great accompaniments.

Can I use a different type of meat besides ham shank?

Traditional Hungarian ham shank is recommended for authenticity, but you can use smoked sausage or smoked bacon for a similar flavor profile.

Read more here for additional info about cooking ham shank. Also, I recommend other interesting articles and recipes related to this topic, including recipes for honey glazed ham shank, crockpot ham shank, baked ham shank with potatoes and vegetables, authentic German pork knuckle, and more.

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