Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hungarian Goulash by Helen M. Radics

Throughout the ages Hungarian food has always fascinated people regardless of their heritage. The most famous of them all is the fiery Hungarian Goulash, the national dish of Hungary. It's hard to believe that Goulash wasn't always painted red by red paprika powder.

Herdsmen of Hungary, "Goulash" in Hungarian cooked "Goulash Meats" in their cauldrons over fires on the great Hungarian plains. There were many varieties and none of them resembled todays world famous version.

Hungarians did not know the paprika plant until the Ottomans invaded Hungary in 1526. During the 15th century they brought with them exotic spices and the still loved coffee plant, that made Budapest Cafe Houses flourish in later centuries.

Tha paprika plant also came to Hungary at the same time. First these beutiful pants were mostly decorative, but slowly it found its way into the

kithens of the Hungarian peasants and the cauldrons of the herdsmen. They had more contact with the invaiding Ottomans and learned from them how to dry and ground the fruit of the paprika plant, and started using the fiery red powder to spice their dishes, including the "Goulash Meat". Hungarian Goulash as we know it today, was born.

I will share with you the most cherished recipe of Hungarian Goulash passed down from generation to generation in my family. Don't worry, it you don't like hot and spicy food, simply leave out the hot paprika.

500 grams pork shoulder, washed, cut into 1 inch sized cubes
1 large onion, peeled, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons of sweet red paprika powder
1/2 teaspoon hot crushed red chillies or 4 slices of fresh (optional, leave out if don't like hot)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 tablespoons of extra v. olive oil

Place oil in a medium stock pot, add onion, tomato, garlic, pepper and saute for about 2-3 minutes on medium high heat. Add red paprika, smok3ed paprika and stir fast, add meat, salt, hot peppers and saute for another 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add enough water to cover meat, roughly about 1 cup. Cook on medium high heat for about 40-45 minutes. Check liquid, if needed add another 1/2 cup of hot water. If you add cold the meat will stiffen. If meat is tender serve with "nokedly" which are Hungarian egg noddle droplets or boiled, cubed potatoes.

"Nokedli" Hungarian Egg Noddle Droplets

3 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup of water
1 spetzel maker as seen in video

Place flour in a mixing bowl, add salt, eggs and water. You need to get a sticky batter. Mix with a woodden spoon for about 5 minutes. Almost beating it. Follow my video to cook. Place 5 cups of water and 1 tablespoon salt in a large stock pot to cook "nokedli". When 'nokedli" floats to the top, ready to scoop out with a draing spoon. You are ready for the next batch. When all done, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to it, mix well and serve with goulash.

Boiled Potatoes

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 teaspoon salt
4 cups of water

Cook potatoes until soft, not mushy. Drain, place in a bowl, add 1 tablespoons of olive oil, and serve with Goulash. Hungarians also eat Goulash with pickles, pickled peppers or the most popular way is with "Hungarian Cucumber Salad" as seen on photo.
Hungarian Cucumber Salad
1 English cucumber, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons of white vinegar
1.5 cups of water
Slice cucumbers, palce them in a glass mixing bowl, mix salt into it, and let stand for about 5 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, water, mix well and serve instead of pickles. If you'd like it a little more sour add a little vinegar.
You can also make Hungarian Sour Cream Cucumber Salad.
1 large English cucumber, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons of sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dry dill weed
Slice cucumbers, place them in a glass mixing bowl, add salt, mix well. Let stand for 5 minutes. Now add sour cream, garlic, dill. Mix well and serve.

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