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Hungarian White Bean Goulash

1 pound dried white haricot beans, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
8 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds unpeeled potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch dice
4 tablespoons oil (or for nonvegetarians, lard, the traditional ingredient)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 sweet green bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 large tomato, diced
3 tablespoons Hungarian paprika, preferably hot

In a bean pot, simmer the soaked beans covered in the water until tender, but not soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Add more water if necessary during the cooking. Season with salt and add the diced potatoes.  Cook for another 30 minutes. While the potatoes and beans are finishing their cooking, heat the lard or fat in a large saute pan and add the chopped onions, bell peppers, garlic and caraway seeds. Saute until the vegetables begin to color and add to the bean pot. Add the tomato and paprika to the pot. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, adjust the seasonings if desired, and serve in bowls.

Makes 6 servings as an entree.

If you wish to make a lighter version: Omit the salt; use oil, not lard. Increase the amount of garlic by 2 cloves, caraway seeds by 1 teaspoon, and paprika by 1 tablespoon (provided the paprika is not too hot). Add 2 tablespoons cider vinegar when the cooked vegetables are added to the pot.

Nutrition information per serving, regular version with lard: 459 cal., 19.5 g pro., 76 g carbo., 18.5 g dietary fiber, 10.3 g fat, 8.1 mg chol., 739 mg sodium.

Nutrition information per serving, light version: 389 cal., 20 pro., 77 g carbo., 19 g dietary fiber, 2 g fat, 0 mg chol., 20 mg sodium.