Category Archives: Hungarian

Hungarian Stuffed Paprika

If you have been reading this blog at all, you will have caught on to the fact that I am one quarter hungarian… do I speak the language? No. Hell, I haven’t even been to Hungary before (fo shame, I know). BUT, one crucial aspect of hungarian culture was transmitted to my generation, and that is hungarian cooking.

The big debate in the family? Which is your favorite “granny” recipe?? Each of us has a signature dish, the irreplaceable, unbeatable favorite of a laundry list of hungarian dishes that my grandmother used to prepare for us. The icing on the cake (so to speak) was that each year on our birthday, we got to choose that one special dish.

I must say though, there is one particularly popular dish in the family, and that is stuffed paprika (or stuffed green peppers). Though it’s never particularly been my favorite, I do love it for its warm spice, and on a Sunday winter evening, it really hits the home-cooking sweet spot! So last weekend, at the occasion of the Hungarian specialist in the family coming to visit, I got my little training on how to make stuffed paprika….. and here’s the result!

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So lets walk through this beauty:

Stuffed Paprika (for 8-10 people)

Ingredients:

– 12 green bell peppers

– 700g ground beef

– 700g ground pork

– 5 strips of smoked ham or bacon (minced)

– 1 cup of white rice (dry), + 50g rice per person

– 3 white onions (chopped and divided)

– 9 whole tomatoes

– 1 can whole peeled tomatoes

– 1 egg

– Tomato paste

– Paprika powder (by the bucket load)

– salt and pepper to taste

– Paprika paste and sour cream (for garnish)

Directions

1. For starters, cut off the tops of the green peppers and clean out the insides.

2. Cook the rice for the stuffing (one cup dry)

3. In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, mix ground beef and pork, smoked ham or bacon, half the onions, and about 1 tablespoon of paprika powder.

4. On the stove in a small stock pot, bring water to a boil and drop the fresh tomatoes in for about 15 seconds. Retrieve with a slotted spoon and peel off the skins.

5. In the meantime, you can also start frying up the remaining onions, just until translucent, and keeping the heat on medium to preventing them from getting burnt.  Add about 2-3 tablespoons of paprika powder, or to taste. (don’t be scared, there’s no such thing as too much paprika..!) cooking gently. Be sure not to burn the paprika as this will give the dish an unpleasant bitter taste. Then add 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste.

6. Add boiled and peeled tomatoes as well as the canned whole peeled tomatoes into the pan with the onions.

7. When the rice is done cooking, mix in as much as desired into the meat mixture.

8. Once the rice in the mixture has cooled, add the egg and mix everything together.

9. Take each of the peppers and stuff it entirely with the meat mixture.

10. In a large dutch oven (cast iron is the best), place the stuffed peppers on their sides and pour the tomato mixture over the peppers. The sauce should come up half way up the peppers.

11. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peppers are soft and the meat is cooked, turning the peppers onto their other side about half way through. Throughout the cooking, keep spooning the pool of tomato sauce over the peppers.

12. In the meantime, cook the rice so that it is ready to serve with the stuffed paprikas.

Aaaand that’s it! Serve one pepper per person with a scoop of rice and pour tomato sauce all over. Add a spoonful of sour cream and a dollop of sweet or spicy paprika paste and it just sends you to seventh heaven.

élvez! (that means enjoy – i think :p)

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Hungarian Home Cookin’: Porkolt

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.

PORK PORKOLT

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?

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