paprika and bacon roux for soup

My very elderly mother is widely known among friends and family for her marvelous soups, which she made the way my grandmother and her mother (a chef in pre-WWI-Budapest) made theirs. Whether they were potato, green bean, bean, or something else, they were all thickened with a roux that began with bacon, then chopped onions sauteed in the bacon fat until translucent, then sweet paprika, and flour cooked quite a while into a roux. A ladle of liquid from whatever soup would be added and smoothed out, and then it would be returned to the soup kettle to thicken. Finally, some cream or half and half would be added. Has anyone ever heard of this type of roux and if so, have any proportions to work from? My mom always worked by feel, and I can reproduce it, but it doesn't taste the same.:( She is Serbian (first generation) but always called the family cooking "central European."

  • Posted by: ATL
  • October 31, 2013


ATL October 31, 2013
Thanks, Chris. Actually the color is more toward the orange than as golden in the photos. The top would be slightly flecked with paprika when done. She never used smoked paprika as a FYI. Pierino, you are absolutely correct: the paprika must be of the highest quality. I grew up ingesting it in a lot of things: soups, tomato-based stews, and even potato salad.
Greenstuff October 31, 2013
The same color as the one on the Hungarian cuisine site?

Here's another one I found in a bean soup recipe The Hungarian Cookbook by Susan Derecskey:
2 tablespoons cooking oil (she used cooking oil for the roux, but also calls for bacon or a smoked ham hock in the soup)
2 tablespoons onions
2 teaspoons paprika
2 heaping tablespoons flour

ATL October 31, 2013
I meant "faint orange," not mild orange. Compulsive editor in me.
ATL October 31, 2013
Thanks Pierino and Greenleaf! Maybe I'll try these proportions. It's possible my mother underestimated the amount of bacon. These soups have a delicious slightly smoky, slightly salty, and a tiny bit sweet taste. Hard to describe. There's enough paprika to turn the color a very mild orange--not bright.
Greenstuff October 31, 2013
For those who don't want to click on the link, their proportions by volume are 2 bacon fat: 3 flour: 1 paprika. They don't specify the amount for the onions, but they do have nice pictures of the process.
Greenstuff October 31, 2013
Here's one place that might help:
pierino October 31, 2013
ATL, I wish I could offer advice but it sounds like you already have it mostly nailed down---and it sounds delicious. Thanks for introducing this topic.
pierino October 31, 2013
Another thought, European "bacon" is unsmoked. So you might want to test it with pancetta or guanciale. And go with the best quality paprika you can find. Good luck!!
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