For years now I have told myself I would practice my grandmother’s hungarian recipes. Best I’ve been able to pull off so far is to pull out the family recipe book on very rare occasions and practice my favorite dishes: turos csusza, veal paprika, stuffed paprika, rakott krumpli…. but when I say “recipe book” I really mean “dish descriptions” – in some cases the recipes don’t even have quantities on there! (Notice any pattern with my own half-baked recipes??)
Basically, hungarian food revolves around some key ingredients: paprika, sour cream, paprika, peppers, paprika, pork, paprika, cream, paprika, pickles, paprika, beef, paprika.. get the picture? It’s heavy, creamy but with enough sour to cut through the heaviness, spiced warmly, and therefore perfect for cold weather.
So finally, after two years of threatening my friends, I finally prepared a hungarian dinner for them. I decided on pork porkolt, a paprika-based dish, served best with spatzle, cucumber salad, and sour cream and a pickle as garnishes. You can also make it with chicken, beef, veal.. your meat of choice basically.
Ingredients for 4: 800g of pork (thinly sliced like an émincé) – one or two chopped onions – 1/2 or 1 whole green pepper (optional, to taste) – about a table spoon of tomato paste – tons and tons and tons of paprika – bouillon – a touch of heavy cream
The step by step:
As usual I failed to take pictures, but here’s how it went down:
1. brown the meat in a little oil
2. add chopped onions and peppers
3. cover it generously with paprika – I didn’t measure, but don’t be shy with this.
4. add in the tomato paste and stir
5. reduce heat and let it simmer until the meat’s juices run out
6. Let up with bouillon little by little, letting the sauce attach each time.
7. You can continue adding paprika, salt, pepper and tomato paste to taste until you get it to your liking.
8. Remove from heat and add a touch of heavy cream to desired creaminess.
9. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a pickle, along with cucumber salad and spatzle.
As you can see, it is very simple, and like any other recipe, it has its variations, probably at least one variation per family.
In fact, I am positive my own family has much more to say about this recipe than I do – did I miss anything? Do anything wrong? Any one care to share tips? Variations? Faux pas?