Bulgarian Bean Soup - Bob Chorba

June 5, 2012

Author Notes: Bean soup in Bulgaria is a "national" dish. Most popular is the Monastery Version which is totally vegetarian. When our family makes it, however, we like to add a little meat for a smoky flavor. A smoked ham hock or smoked neck bones along with paprika and fresh mint give this a very distinctive flavor.inpatskitchen

Makes: about 5 quarts


  • 1 pound dried Great Northern beans, soaked in water for about 6 hours, rinsed and then cooked in water for 45 minutes to an hour until tender
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrot
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 large smoked ham hock
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh winter savory ( or one teaspoon dried savory)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Additional salt, black pepper and paprika for reseasoning
In This Recipe


  1. After cooking your beans, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and add the onion, carrot celery and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the onion softens.
  2. Add the crushed red pepper, paprika, salt and black pepper and continue to saute for just a few more minutes.
  3. Add the water, chicken broth and ham hock, bring up to a boil and simmer for about an hour, partially covered.
  4. Remove the ham hock from the pot to let cool. Turn the heat off from under the soup pot and stir in the beans, mint, parsley and savory.
  5. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup for just a minute to break up some of the beans. (Alternatively remove about a cup of the beans to a bowl and mash them with a fork and then return them to the pot)
  6. Remove any meat from the ham hock, dice it finely and return it to the pot. Return the soup to a simmer and reseason with salt, pepper and paprika.
  7. NOTE: This soup is best when made very early in the day or even the day before serving.

More Great Recipes:
Soup|Celery|Bean|Parsley|Carrot|Mint|Paprika|Serves a Crowd|Make Ahead|Fall|Spring|Summer

Reviews (3) Questions (0)

3 Reviews

Martin P. February 22, 2018
The isn't quite Bob Chorba as there is meat in it. Typically this is eaten during Fasting when no meat apart from certain fish can be eaten. There is a version Bob sus Kyofte which is more of a stew consistency, with something like meatballs but they are more similar to the German Frikadellen. This recipe here is probably more of a celebration version or something more likely a variant Rodope bean stew which does contain a ham hock or gammon piece (used as cold cuts with salad after) and of course served with Rakia (schnapps).
boulangere June 5, 2012
I love the smoky-mint combination. And anything with beans is aces in my book.
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 5, 2012
Thanks,b. The mint is my favorite!