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Oct 12, 2011 01:20 PM

**Austrian*** White bean/ham soup (?)

A friend of mine recently returned from trip abroad, and throughout his travels he said his favorite meal was had in Vienna, and it was a bowl of white bean soup!

He is kind of a weird eater, and he had never had white beans before - ever - and he really thought this was a pretty *exotic* and exciting thing to have - he was very proud to tell me he tried it...and that he LOVED it!

I would love to recreate it for him.

I saw a picture of it, and it was a hearty looking soup, not pureed, and it looked like it had tomato or was tomato based. (it was reddish)

I have been browsing recipes., and can figure out a basic soup, but I am wondering if there might be any herbs or something i might add to make it taste more authentically *Austrian*

Paprika, parsley, dill, perhaps??

I was wondering if anyone might have any ideas for me here.

Who knows - it could have served from an American restaurant, so who knows, but any good ideas would be welcome!


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  1. I lived in Austria for a while and I don't remember ever eating or being offered anything with white beans in it. I have an Austrian cookbook at home, so I'll have a look for you, but I'm guessing it's not an Austrian specialty. Do you happen to know what the name of the dish was?

    5 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      Oh, thanks so much!!

      No - he said it was called "White bean soup"

      It looked to have ham in it and when I asked - he said it did.

      Upon googling - I found a German white bean soup recipe - which looked not too different from Southern (American) white bean soup recipes..only it had parsley in it - which is why I mentioned parsley in my OP.

      He is not the kind to be able to identify the tastes or ingredients, so I won't even ask!

      I really appreciate you trying to help!

      Thank you~

      1. re: NellyNel

        I just checked my cookbook (which is admittedly not comprehensive), and no luck. However, I also checked (the Austrian google site) and found a ton of recipes by searching "Weisse Bohnensuppe." Some call for tomato, some don't, but nearly all of them call for some type of pork. Paprika is also a popular ingredient. If you read German (or are handy with Google translate), you can browse through them and see what you think. Here's one I've translated - it got pretty high marks on a German recipe sharing site and includes tomatoes:

        750g Pork, diced (I would suggest pork shoulder, or a combo of shoulder and something cured, like Speck)
        3 onions, diced
        1 large can of white beans, drained
        1 large can of peeled tomatoes, diced
        250ml broth
        1 small can tomato sauce
        oil, salt, pepper and paprika to taste

        Saute the pork and onions in a bit of oil until the onions are translucent and the pork is just cooked. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to cook for a half an hour or so. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.

        1. re: biondanonima


          Thank you so much for all you research and help!

          Thanks for the pork advice too - and thats exactly what I shall use.

          I'm going away this weekend, I am planning to make it next weekend, but I will post to let you know the results!

          Again, I really appreciate all you've done!

          Have a great weekend - thank you!

        2. re: NellyNel

          My guess is that what he had was probably pretty similar to a lot of Northern Italian recipes for white bean soup (it is a popular dish in Italy.) Austrian cuisine varies a LOT regionally and has a lot of influences (one reason why it is so good). Because it shares a border with Italy, a lot of the food you find in the far North of Italy and in a large part of Austria is pretty similar, even though we don't often associate the two countries because of the linguistic and cultural differences. So check out Northern Italian recipes too. Either way, I don't think you can go wrong.

      2. I love white bean soup, and this one you're describing sounds really good too. I was wondering though and since your friend isn't really able to help you, if this might be it or very close.

        Wolfgang is Austrian, and thought perhaps his version might be closest.
        ps, and I agree with Lady_Tenar, that you're likely to love any close version, white bean soup is delicious.

        1. Thanks, everyone!

          I will definitely check out Wolfgangs version
          I'm so excited to make it for my friend - his repetior of foods that he loves is quite small, so if I can recreate something similar for him, I will be incredibly happy!

          3 Replies
          1. re: NellyNel


            I really like the look/sound of Wolfgangs!!

            I would tweak it a bit here and there, using pork as biodanamina - mentions above, as well as the bacon, or perhaps small bits of pancetta.

            It even looks like the soup in my friends photo!!

            I'm so excited - thanks so much chef chicklet - i think you've nailed it!!!

            1. re: NellyNel

              The most common bean soup I can recall being served during the many years I lived in Germany and Austra was usually referred to as Serbischebohnensuppe (Serbian Bean Soup) made with canellini beans (white kidney beans), smoky bacon, onions and paprika, bay, lard, flour marjoram, S&P, and beef stock...and a splash of vinegar, there are many slight variations in online recipes, as with most traditional dishes. It is definitely worth eating!!!

              1. re: grammywheels

                Thanks, mmm sounds so good!!
                Wofgangs recipe has vinegar also...

                Nice and hearty..
                soups are good because you can improvise allot!