The bean soup – “Ciorba de fasole” – is probably one of the most traditional dishes in Romania. It’s easy to make and everybody knows how to do it. Women anyway.

Ingredients for about 4 portions:
-250 g white beans;
-a big onion;
-one big carrot;
-one small parsnip;
-one small celery root;
-one red pepper;
-one tsp of sweet paprika;
-one tbsp of tomato paste(optional)
– a pinch of dried thyme;
-3 tbsp of oil;

Wash the beans and put them to boil. The water just needs to cover slightly the beans and no more. Boil until the skin starts to become wrinkled.
At that point change the water with some fresh one in which you add a bit of salt and bring it to boil again.
If the beans are very old you can leave them to soak in water starting the night before. Like that you can shorten the time you need to boil them.
If it happens for the water to go down during the boiling then add some more hot water. You can have some water boiled in the kettle for example.
After about an hour the beans should start to get soft. Try them and if you like the consistence then add the chopped onions, the parsnip cut in slices and the grated celery root.
It’s good for the beans to be boiled on a low heat, a long time with the lead on. After we put the onions and the roots, bring all to boil and let it boil for about 30-40 minutes
on a low heat. If the beans are well boiled after this time then add the chopped red pepper and the sweet paprika.
After about 15 minutes add the sliced carrot and boil for another 5-10 minutes.
If you wish and everything is boiled you can add a spoon of tomato paste – but that is optional.
The red pepper, paprika and the carrot give the soup a red colour anyway. The tomato paste intensifies it.
Close to the end of the boil add the dry thyme and as much salt as you like. Add 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil and leave it boil for 2-3 more minutes, after the soup should be done.
To serve it you can add some chopped parsley on top as it just gives it a special nice taste.
As you can see from the picture, traditionally the soup can be eaten with pickled cucumber and/raw onion sprinkled with salt.

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