16 maggio 2013

Welcome to Hungary, the Gulyàs is on the table!

annuncio in italiano qui

It's my turn to host a country for The Culinary ABC of the European Community, we've been travelling since last January and already visited 6 nations.
Hungary is my choice, never been there but I have a very dear Hungarian friend, with a dear lovely mom, who helped me a lot in making the announcement recipe as much original as possible.
Maybe one day I will go and visit this lovely region with two special guides like them!

views from Budapest
image from wikipedia

Hungary (Magyarország in the original language) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine, and Romania to the east, Serbia, and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. 
Slightly more than one half of Hungary's landscape consists of flat to rolling plains of the Pannonian Basin: the most important plain regions include the Little Hungarian Plain in the west, and the Great Hungarian Plain in the southeast.
The highest mountains of the country are located in the Carpathians: these lie in the North Hungarian Mountains, in a wide band along the Slovakian border (highest point: the Kékes at 1,014 m or 3,327 ft).
Hungary is divided in two by its main waterway, the Danube (Duna); other large rivers include the Tisza and Dráva, while Transdanubia contains Lake Balaton, a major body of water.
 Hungary has 10 national parks, 145 minor nature reserves and 35 landscape protection areas.

 image from wikipedia

The country's capital, and largest city, is Budapest. Hungary is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the Visegrád Group, and the Schengen Agreement

The official language is Hungarian, also known as Magyar, which is part of the Finno-Ugric group and is the most widely spoken non-Indo-European language in Europe.
It 'also one of the official languages ​​of the European Union, and is based on the Latin alphabet, which was introduced only after the Christianization by Stephen, the first king of Hungary.

 The Holy Crown
 image from wikipedia

Following periods of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids, and Avars, the foundation of Hungary was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád, whose great-grandson Saint Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000 AD. The Kingdom of Hungary existed for 946 years, and at various points was regarded as a major political power in Europe, as well as one of the cultural centres of the Western world. After about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation (1541–1699), Hungary was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy, and later constituted half of the Austro–Hungarian Empire (1867–1918).
A great power until the end of World War I, Kingdom of Hungary subsequently lost about 72 percent of its territory, 64 percent of its total population, one third of its ethnic Hungarian population, five of its ten largest cities, and all its sea ports under the Treaty of Trianon, the terms of which have been considered excessively harsh by many in Hungary. The kingdom was succeeded by an authoritarian regime, and then a communist one (1947–1989). Hungary gained widespread international attention during the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal opening of its border with Austria in 1989, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.
Since 1989, Hungary has been governed as a democratic parliamentary republic, and is today considered a developed country with a high-income economy. Hungary is one of the thirty most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting 10.2 million tourists a year (2011). The country is home to the largest thermal water cave system and the second largest thermal lake in the world, Lake Hévíz, the largest lake in Central Europe, Lake Balaton, and the largest natural grasslands in Europe, Hortobágy (from wikipedia).

Hungary is home to the largest synagogue in Europe, Great Synagogue, the largest medicinal bath in Europe, Széchenyi Medicinal Bath, Hungary is a land of thermal water. A passion for spa culture and Hungarian history have been connected from the very beginning. Hungarian spas feature Roman, Greek, Turkish, and northern country architectural elements, one of the largest basilicas in Europe, Esztergom Basilica, the second largest territorial abbey in the world, Pannonhalma Archabbey, and the largest Early Christian Necropolis outside Italy, Pécs.

  image from wikipedia

Founded in 1826, Herend Porcelain is one of the world's largest ceramic factories, specializing in luxury hand painted and gilded porcelain. In the mid-19th century it was purveyor to the Habsburg Dynasty and aristocratic customers throughout Europe. Many of its classic patterns are still in production. After the fall of communism in Hungary the factory was privatised and is now 75% owned by its management and workers, exporting to over 60 countries of the world.

The music of Hungary consists mainly of traditional Hungarian folk music and music by prominent composers such as Liszt and Bartók.
The great collection of songs and dances is among the richest in the world. The most popular instruments and melodies are more present in the flageolet (furulya), harp (zither), the Jew's harp (doromb), the pound German (tekerö), the pipe (tilinkó) and the bagpipe (duda). The violin is widely used, especially in Gypsy music.


The Hungarian cuisine is a prominent feature of the Hungarian culture, just like the art of hospitality. Traditional dishes such as the world famous Goulash (gulyás stew or gulyás soup) feature prominently. Dishes are often flavoured with paprika (ground red peppers), a Hungarian innovation. 
Paprika is obtained from dried grinded pepper, and is one of the main ingredients in many Hungarian dishes, though peppers have been imported into the country only after the discovery of the Americas.

A tale says that a young Hungarian peasant, who had been forced to live in the turkish harem of the Pasha of Buda, had long spied the palace gardeners cultivating peppers. Once free, she taught the farmers in her village to cultivate paprika. 

Thick, heavy Hungarian sour cream called tejföl is often used to soften the dishes flavour. The famous Hungarian hot river fish soup called Fisherman's soup or halászlé is usually a rich mixture of several kinds of poached fish.
Other dishes are chicken paprikash, foie gras made of goose liver, pörkölt stew, vadas, (game stew with vegetable gravy and dumplings), trout with almonds and salty and sweet dumplings, like túrós csusza, (dumplings with fresh quark cheese and thick sour cream). Desserts include the iconic Dobos Cake, strudels (rétes), filled with apple, cherry, poppy seed or cheese, Gundel pancake, plum dumplings (szilvás gombóc), somlói dumplings, dessert soups like chilled sour cherry soup and sweet chestnut puree, gesztenyepüré (cooked chestnuts mashed with sugar and rum and split into crumbs, topped with whipped cream). Perec and kifli are widely popular pastries.
Some big corporations have long tried, butyet have not be able to imitate the Túró Rudi, a popular snack (chocolate with ricotta stuffing) made by Pöttyös (polka dots).
The territory of Hungary is ideal for wine-making. Since the fall of communism there has been a renaissance of Hungarian wine-making, the most famous are the white Tokaji and the red Egri Bikavér.
For over 150 years, a blend of 40 Hungarian herbs has been used to create the liqueur Unicum. Unicum is a bitter, dark-coloured liqueur that can be drunk as an apéritif or after a meal, thus helping the digestion.
At the end of a meal you can not miss a shot glass of the excellent Hungarian grappa called Pálinka  (the most popular are apricot, plum and cherry flavored). Since July 1st, 2002 the European Union has protected the name that can be officially attributed only to the spirits from 100% fruit or native grasses grown in the Carpathian Basin in Hungary and made without any artificial additives, having an alcohol content between 37.5% and 86%. It must also be distilled and bottled in Hungary.

Szakácskönyv by Ilona Horváth is a complete cookbook still used nowadays, almost the bible of Hungarian cuisine (szakács means chef  e könyv means book).


But now let's talk the recipe chosen to represent Hungary.
It could not be better choice because it is a complete meal, tasty and nutritious, and adding/making the traditional galuska (dumplings simply made with flour and egg) it also becomes a nice moment to enjoy with friends.
A fundamental element for its success, but above all to be as faithful as possible to the original recipe, is paprika. Not that brownish powder in prepackaged jars you usually find at the supermarket! The real original paprika, great souvenir hould you eevr fly there, is brilliant red and when you use it glows bright red to your preparation.

 organic paprika-paprika biologica

I am very lucky to have a dear Hungarian friend who soon became our drug dealer, she can have excellent organic paprika made by uncles/cousins​​/relatives who still live in Hungary. Each time she comes back from there she smells so good and turns everything she touches in red coral forever! :-)
As for the recipe I entirely followed Agnese's wise words, my dear friend's mom, and for the occasion she pulled out her old recipe book, dated 1956: I was deeply touched while reading it, knowing how many years of cooking life passed by in her hands! And I know that I will be sitting again close to her pretty sure for the next recipes to cook!
And also the props used for the pictures are original from her, as the characteristic red enamel pot, the linen cloth with red stripes and a monogram embroidered by hand, the little man shaped jug called Pista Baci, the shepherd of the Puszta.
Initially, the Gulyàs was made only with beef, but then there was a long period during the Iron Curtain, which was done with the more plebeian pig, since the cattle were more profitable if sold for export. Nowadays it is still often made with both meats.
Better to choose the less noble parts and the fatter, meat will then remain tender and tastier while cooking.
Just  few words about the use of lard: once it was pretty lifestyle, cheaper and more manageable to keep, of course people could not afford extra virgin olive oil. Nowadays we can replace it with healthier extravirgin olive oil, or make a compromise between the two (at least once in a while :-) just to recall the original flavors of the past.
If possible, better to use a cast iron pot, as  the old drovers'  bogrács. But you can do even in the most modern pressure cooker, optimizing the cooking time (especially when you add the potatoes, which will cook only 5 minutes or they will crumble).
The addition of hot peppers and thus the how much hot you like goes to personal taste, though the Hungarians are very spicy addicted.
The red wine in the recipe is a personal addition of Agnese, not provided in the original recipe, partly because the wine was an expensive drink, permitted only to rich people. So you can omit if you do not like, but it gives an extra strong taste.
It is not a preparation particularly difficult, perhaps a more masculine dish that will make happy all men at home very much!

A legend tells that seven princes guided the migration of the Magyars from the Urals to their promised land, the region of the great Carpathian Mountains, following the mythical eagle Turul. During the journey, nomadic knights and horsemen used to keep close to tthem heir old bogrács, the cauldron where they prepared their tokàny (stew).


Serving 6/8:

half a kilo beef muscle
half a kilo pork neck
2 onions, finely sliced
lard/extra virgin olive oil
a quarter of a green bell pepper, diced
half a medium ripe tomato, diced
meat or vegetable broth, 2 or 3 liters
(or made ​​with homemade stock cubes)
800 g potatoes
dried chilli
red wine, optional

galuska, recipe below


- Put the onion to fry in oil or lard (or both, like me :-) and let it cook over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until it becomes transparent and golden, even 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the meat into cubes of about 3x3 cm., leaving even the fat that gives flavor and keeps the meat tender.
- Remove from heat and add two tablespoons of paprika, mix well and put back on low heat, stirring occasionally, so that the paprika gives off its aroma but won't burn.
- After a couple of minutes add the meat and sautée well on all sides, stirring frequently.
- Add salt and a teaspoon of cumin seeds.
- Then add the pepper and tomato, chili and season with half a glass of red wine.
- Add broth and cook covered over low heat until the meat is tender, adding potatoes (cut into cubes as big as the meat) at three quarters of the cooking time: they do not have to be overcooked but remain in cubes and firm.
- Make galuska (dumplings made ​​of flour and egg) as per recipe below, add them to the soup and serveimmediately.
- If you have some Gulyàs leftover with galuska inside, these will tend to absorb the broth, then heat the soup by adding more broth and season again with salt, paprika and pepper if necessary.

Pista Baci jar representing the shepherd of Pustza


Galuska are typically dumplings made with egg and flour to be added to Hungarian soups, mostly Gulyàs.
Simple to do, you just need an egg, a pinch of salt and as much flour as it the egg reuires, to have a consistent dough as shown in the picture (to have an idea about 3 tablespoons per egg).

 facendo galuska-making galuska

Break the egg in a bowl, and whisk with a wooden spoon adding flour little by little, stirring vigorously and avoiding making lumps.
You need a special kitchentool (similar to the one used to make German spätzle) and the blade, preferably made in wood so it does not bend. And then a lot of your hand strength!.

But there you can see Susy making galuska in the video!

Susy told me that an old custom for young people next to wedding time was to have galuska test: the girls were set to prepare the little dumplings by hand (as shown initially in the video, on the wooden board and with a little knife) and the only able to make the smallest was the right girl to marry! :-)

 jó étvágyat!

If you want to be part of this wonderful culinary journey in Hungary please:
  • post about an  Hungarian recipe by midnight on June 2nd, 2013, Rome time
  • add in the post a link to this post and toThe Culinary ABC of the European Community,
  • use of the logo is optional 
  • leave the link to your recipe in a comment on this post,
  • old recipes are welcome, just update them with the links above.

Thanks for your cooperation and ... back to the kitchen!

Hungarian Recipes

Aranygaluska - Anisja di La cucina di Anisja 
Baigli con noci e semi di papavero - Cri di La cucina di Cristina
Beigli - Rotolo con semi di papavero - Carla Emilia di Un'arbanella di basilico
Biscottini a ferro di cavallo - Elena di Zibaldone Culinario 
 Brokkolikremleves - Crema di broccoli - Anisja di La cucina di Anisja
Csirkepaprikás - Pollo alla paprika - Resy di Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
  Cyühölcsös Kocha - Torta alle ciliegie - Rosa Maria di Torte e dintorni
  Doboš Torte - Resy di Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
 Francia mákos krémes - Torta al miele e semi di papavero con crema alla vaniglia
Resy di Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
Gombaleues - Zuppa di funghi - Leonilde di Le affinità elettive 
Gundel Palacsinta - Resy di Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
 Gulyàs - Cinzia di Cindystar 
 Hideg Toltott Halfilé Filetti di pesce ripieni -
Carla Emilia di Un'arbanella di basilico
  Kifli - Panini ungheresi - Simona di Briciole
Körözött - Crema di formaggio - Resy di Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
 Kürtőskalács - Torta camino - Resy di Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
Lángos - Cri di La cucina di Cristina
 Lecsó - Aiuolik della Trattoria Muvara
 Lecsó - Fr@ di Sciroppo di mirtilli e piccoli equilibri 
Lekváros derelye - Gnocchi dolci con confettura
 Resy di Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
 Mákos Cseresznyére Sütemény - Torta di Ciliegie e Semi di Papavero
Anima di Armonia Paleo
 Mákos Pite - Torta ai semi di papavero - Cinzia di Cindystar
Palacsinta di Gundel - Tamara di Un pezzo della mia maremma
 Porkolt - Spezzatino - Carla Emilia di Un'arbanella di basilico
Puncstorta ungherese - Resy di Le tenere dolcezze di Resy
Rántott sajt - Formaggio impanato - Un uomo dal bagno alla cucina
Ribizlis lepény - Crostata al ribes - Cinzia di Cindystar
 Sajtos Pogácsa - Lucia di Torta di rose 
Somlói galuska Cri di La cucina di Cristina
Spárga Magyar - Asparagi all'ungherese - Cinzia di Cindystar  
 Spárga Magyar - Asparagi all'ungherese - Kri di Tutto a occhio
 Stefánia Vagdalt - Polpettone Stéphanie - Anima di Armonia Paleo
Strudel di mele e papavero - Speedy di  A tutta cucina
 Szilvás Gombóc Keksz - Gnocchi/Biscotti di prugne - Anima di Armonia Paleo
 Tejberizs - Budino di riso - Alessia di le buiscuit à soupe
Töltött káposzta - Involtini di verza - Aiù di Trattoria Muvara 
Trecce ungheresi - Elena di Zibaldone Culinario
Zàrdakifli - Cornetti alle noci e limone - Lucia di Torta di rose

4 commenti:

Simona Carini ha detto...

Eccomi qui: kifli al formaggio, la mia versione di panini ungheresi http://www.pulcetta.com/2013/05/kifli-panini-ungheresi-hungarian-bread-rolls.html

Cindystar ha detto...

Simona, grazie mille, speravo i una ricetta panosa! :-P

speedy70 ha detto...

Eccomi con il mio contributo:
Un caro saluto!!!

Cindystar ha detto...

Speedy, grazie per questa dolce ricetta papaverosa :-P
Aggiungo subitissimo!

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