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28.2.12

HUNGARIAN RAGU SOUP - HUNGARIAN RAGULEVES


Starts as a ragu and ends as a soup. My grandmother called it raguleves, also known as becsinált leves. Designed to use up gizzards, backs and necks of the chicken with the skin attached. Herein lays my problem. I only eat crispy chicken skin. Since the skin slips off thighs easily, I make my raguleves from chicken thighs. A variation of raguleves is milk soup. All is very flavourful and satisfying.

3 Tbsp olive oil
3 chicken thighs
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, diced
salt and pepper to taste
3 carrots, chopped
2 parsnip, chopped
1/2 celery root, chopped
2 sprigs of celery leaves
1/4 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 sprigs of parsley
1 heaping Tbsp flour
2 pinch Hungarian paprika
6 cups of cold water
ground pepper to taste

• Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
• Turn heat down to medium and add the chicken thighs.
• Add the chopped onions and the garlic.
• Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
• Keep stirring and sauté for 5 minutes. There will be some brown bits in the bottom of the pot, from the meat, but its all good.
• Begin to add the chopped vegetables, lightly salting them as you add them to the pot.
• Keep stirring after each addition.
• Add the flour and the Hungarian paprika and stir.
• Add the cold water.
• Bring soup to a very slow simmer.
• Maintain the slow simmer; do not let soup come to rolling boil. Do not cover pot.
• Cook until meat is soft.
• Adjust the salt and the ground pepper and serve.



27.2.12

STRAWBERRY CLAFOUTIS


It is easy to whip up a dish of rustic clafoutis. Clafoutis is baked crepe batter with fruit. A little bit heavier than Dutch Baby, nevertheless it is delicious. Because the fruit will rise to the top, clafoutis is most picturesque when baked with red coloured fruits such as berries and cherries.

2 cups strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
cooking spray
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp butter
3 eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
4 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange rinds
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
icing sugar for dusting

• Wash, hull and halve the strawberries. Let them drain.
• Place in a bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of sugar.
• Let the strawberries rest at room temperature for a couple of hours.
• Drain and set them aside.
• Preheat the oven at 350F.
• Spray a 2-litre baking or gratin dish with cooking spray.
• In a medium sized bowl, toss the strawberry halves with cornstarch.
• Arrange the berries, cut side down, in the prepared dish.
• Dot the strawberries with the butter and set aside.
• Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, orange rinds, vanilla, and salt.
• Pour the batter over the strawberries.
• Bake for an hour or until set in the center.
• Dust with icing sugar and serve warm.








SAUSAGE AND KRAUT


Served over a bed of rice or pan-fried potatoes. After the rice or the potatoes are cooked, the sausage and kraut will only take a few minutes to prepare. Serve it with sour cream.

2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup red onion, diced
sprinkling of salt and ground pepper
1 stick dry Hungarian or chorizo sausage
1/2 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
2 cups sauerkraut

• Remove the skin and thinly slice the dry sausage.* Set aside.
• Dice the onions and set aside.
• Rinse and drain the sauerkraut and set aside.
• In a non-stick fry pan, heat the olive oil.
• Add the diced red onions and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. [The sauerkraut is salty, so go easy on the salt.]
• Cook the onions on medium heat for two minutes.
• Add the sliced sausage and sauté for one more minute.
• Stir in the Hungarian paprika and remove pan from heat.
• Add the drained sauerkraut and stir to combine.
• Slowly sauté, stirring often for 5 minutes or until sauerkraut is tender.
• Serve with sour cream on a bed of rice or pan fried potatoes.

*To remove the skin hold frozen sausage under hot tap water and pull off the skin.

HASH BROWNS


These are really, very crispy. A potato ricer is a handy tool to squeeze out the moisture, but it is possible squeeze it out by hand.

1-1/2 Tbsp oil
2 red potatoes
salt and pepper to taste

• Wash the potatoes and cut out all the dark spots.
• Shred the potatoes into a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt.
• Let it stand for 10 minutes and then squeeze out the juices with a potato ricer. Two medium sized potatoes should yield 1/2 cup of liquid. Discard the liquid.
• Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat.
• Add half the grated potatoes, spreading it out on the bottom of the pan.
• Sprinkle ground pepper on the top.
• Slow fry the potatoes until golden.
• Flip the potatoes over continue to cook until golden brown.
Serves 2





24.2.12

CHEDDAR CHEESE POTATOES


Any type of large sized, healthy potato can be prepared this way, but the best ones for this dish are large baking potatoes. Do not wrap them in foil, because that would steam and soften up the skins. You want the skins crispy and edible. White cheddar gives the best flavour to the filling, orange cheddar will do too, but the taste will be a little different. I used red onions, but other types of onions are good too, shallots, green onions or even chives. Fresh parsley is preferred, but since I was out, I used dried parsley. Serve these with a green salad.

2 large healthy baking potatoes of the same size
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced slab bacon
1/4 cup diced red onions
3/8 cup milk
2 Tbsp melted butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 sprig of fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese

• Preheat the oven to 400°F.
• Scrub the potatoes very clean.
• Prick them with a pointy knife all over.
• Rub the potatoes all over with oil and place them in a baking dish.
• Bake in the oven for 45 to 65 minutes, depending on the size, or until tender.
• Meanwhile, chop the bacon and cook them in a frying pan on medium heat until golden.
• Add the diced onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.
• Remove pan from heat and transfer the bacon onion mixture to a small bowl with a slotted spoon. Discard bacon grease.
• Slice each potato in half, horizontally.
• With a spoon, scoop the flesh out into a large bowl.
• Place the potato skins back in the baking dish and set them aside.
• Mash the potato with a potato masher.
• Add the bacon and onion mixture, the milk, the melted butter, salt and pepper, the parsley, and 1/2 cup of shredded white Cheddar to the potatoes.
• Beat it until smooth.
• Spoon the mixture back into the potato skins.
• Sprinkle the tops with 1/8 cup of shredded white Cheddar cheese and bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling heats through and the cheese melts on the top.





COCOA SWIRL BUNDT BREAD – KAKAÓS KUGLÓF


Any ovenproof vessel will work for Hungarian bundt bread, for this one, I chose a large size tube pan. Slightly reorganized, but the recipe is essentially the same as my previous Bundt bread. This one is slightly sweeter, in part to accommodate the additional unsweetened cocoa and also to make it sweet enough as not having to sprinkle icing sugar on every slice, because it looks so good. 

Plain Dough:
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
1-1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
1/2 cup milk, lukewarm
2 cups flour

Cocoa Dough
2 Tbsp butter
5 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
1-1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp milk, lukewarm
2 cups flour
3 Tbsp cocoa

cooking spray
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs

• To make the plain dough, place the butter the sugar and the salt in a large mixing bowl and beat it until very fluffy.
• One by one beat in the egg yolks.
• Add the instant dry yeast and the lukewarm milk.
• Add the flour with the 1/2 cup sweep method and stir to combine.
• Transfer to a board and kneed for 4 minutes.
• Shape the plain dough into a ball and set it aside.
• To make the cocoa dough, place the butter the sugar and the salt in the mixing bowl and beat it until very fluffy.
• One by one beat in the egg yolks.
• Add the instant dry yeast and the lukewarm milk.
• Add the flour and stir to combine.
• Transfer to a board and kneed for 4 minutes.
• Shape the cocoa dough into a ball and set aside.
• Generously spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray.
• Pour in the fine breadcrumbs and swirl it around the pan, coating all the sides, including the center tube.
• Now, roll out the plain dough into a thin rectangle and set it aside.
• Next, roll out the cocoa dough the same size.
• Place the cocoa rectangle on top of the plain rectangle.
• With the plain rectangle on the bottom and the cocoa rectangle on the top, press on the rolling pin and roll the two layers together.
• Starting at the bottom, roll up the two layers in jelly roll fashion.
• Place the rolled up dough into the prepared Bundt pan.]
• Let the dough rise until it tripled or quadrupled in size.
• Preheat the oven to 325F and bake the Bundt bread for anywhere from 45 minutes up to an hour. The type of pan will determine the Bundt bread’s baking time. Halfway through cover the top with aluminum foil as not to burn. If the bottom is not the same golden brown color as the top, the Bundt bread is probably underdone.
• Remove from the oven and let it cool a little before slicing.
• Sprinkle with icing sugar.











22.2.12

POZSONY SQUARES - POZSONYI KOCKA


Pozsony was a beautiful historic city of Hungary and at present, it is part of Slovakia. Pozsony was renamed Bratislava in 1919. Hungarians understandably continue to call it Pozsony. Pozsonyi kocka is a sweet pasta dish, named after the city of Pozsony or after the chef with a similar name. I could not find sufficient data on its origin, but if anyone knows for sure, I would appreciate the information. Pozsonyi kocka is reminiscent of the vargabéles, instead of túró, the pozsonyi highlights poppy seeds. The poppy seeds must be finely ground, and the best way to do that without a poppy seed grinder is to use a small handheld electric coffee grinder. It’s a little time consuming to grind in small batches, nevertheless the coffee grinder does the job. Few people have the powerful poppy seed grinder in Hungary, indeed most people buy ground poppy seeds. The original recipe calls for square pasta, but since I just made lebbencs pasta the other day, that is what I used. However, any broad leaf pasta will work well.

1 pkg. extra wide pasta [250g or 8 oz]
1 Tbsp butter, melted
cooking spray
fine bread crumbs for sprinkling pan
4 egg whites
1/8 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
sprinkle of salt
1-1/2 cups full fat sour cream
rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup poppy seeds, finely ground
1/8 cup liquid honey
icing sugar for sprinkling

• Cook the pasta according to package directions.
• Drain and rinse under cold running water.
• Place the drained pasta in a large mixing bowl.
• Toss with 1 Tbsp of melted butter and set aside.
• Preheat oven to 325F.
• Spray a rectangular pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with fine breadcrumbs. Set aside.
• Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
• Add 1/8 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
• Next, beat the egg yolks, 1/3 cup of sugar, 2 tsp of vanilla extract and a sprinkle of salt until thick and foamy.
• Stir in the sour cream.
• Add the lemon rinds and the raisins.
• Finally fold in the beaten egg whites.
• Gently fold the sour cream egg mixture into the buttered pasta.
• Spread half of the pasta mixture in the prepared pan.
• Sprinkle the top with the finely ground poppy seeds.
• Dot the poppy seeds with the honey.
• Top with the remaining pasta mix and place in a preheated oven for 40 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
• Slice into squares and sprinkle with icing sugar.
• This is best if eaten warm. Heat up leftover squares in the microwave.

CSAKY STEAK ROLLS - CSÁKY TÖLTÖTT ROSTÉLYOS


The Csáki rostélyos was named after its creator, Chef Sándor Csáky. The word “rostélyos” implies beef, but this is also nice with lean pork. The easiest is to butterfly thick boneless pork chops and then pound them very thin with a meat tenderizer. Serve it with some nokedli and sour cream. With my thanks to Judit for suggesting the recipe. This is one of those Hungarikum type dishes.

You begin with making an egg lecsó filling, which is just lecsó with eggs scrambled into the sauce. Then you spread the egg lecsó filling on thin slices of steak and roll them up. Fry the steak rolls in oil, make a paprika sauce, pour it on, and cook it tender. This is where my method separates from the original. The Csáky rostélyos is cooked on the stove entirely, but I prefer to finish it in the oven. This rather simplifies the process; because the saucepot does not need attending to. Just put a casserole in the oven and you are done already. Following the original recipe, I thickened the sauce at the end, but I revised the recipe to thicken the sauce before pouring it over the steak rolls. Thickening at that stage would only make a difference if I cooked the steak rolls on the stove, but since I baked them in the oven; this would make no difference. Recipe only makes two servings, but it is easy to increase the amounts.

EGG LECSÓ FILLING:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup diced onions
salt to taste
1 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup diced yellow pepper
1/3 cup diced tomatoes
ground pepper to taste
1 egg

STEAKS:
2 very thin roll-able sandwich steaks [roulanden]
salt and ground pepper to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil for frying the steak rolls

PAPRIKA SAUCE:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup diced onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 sprig of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 /2 tsp Hungarian paprika
1/3 cup water

• Make the filling first.
• In a non-stick fry pan, heat the oil on medium.
• Add the diced onions and sprinkle with salt.
• Slowly sauté until onions are soft.
• Stir in the Hungarian paprika.
• Immediately add the diced yellow peppers and the tomatoes.
• Sprinkle with ground pepper to taste.
• Slowly cook for a few minutes.
• When the tomato released its juices, add the lightly beaten egg and stir.
• When the egg solidified remove from heat and set aside.
• Next, prepare the meat. Butterfly it and pound it out very thin with a meat tenderizer.
• Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
• Spread the steaks all the way to the edges with the egg lecsó filling and roll them up.
• In a clean non-stick fry pan, quickly fry the steak rolls in 3 Tbsp of olive oil.
• Transfer steak rolls to a lightly greased casserole dish and set aside.
• Remove any chunks of filling that have fallen out of the steak rolls and if needed add more olive oil to the pan. The recipe lists 2 Tbsp, but if sufficient oil is left in the pan to sauté the onions; do not add more oil to the pan.
• Add 2/3 cup of diced onions and the minced garlic and sauté until onions are soft.
• Remove pan from the stove.
• Stir in the Hungarian paprika, 1 sprig of chopped flat leaf parsley, 2 tsp of flour and add 1/3 cup of water. Sauce should be very thin at this stage.
• Pour the paprika sauce over the steak rolls and place in preheated 325F oven.
• Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the dish, but do not warp it up with foil.
• Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
• Remove dish from the oven.
• Keep the steak rolls warm. Meanwhile puree the sauce. Hold onto the blender lid firmly; do not let the hot paprika sauce spurt up.
• To serve, slice the meat rolls in half.
• Spoon some sauce on the plate, and place the meat rolls on the top.




21.2.12

SAUERKRAUT


Even though sauerkraut is synonymous with being German, once again it’s one of those appropriated German things. Ancient Rome already had sauerkraut and when the Mongols invaded Europe in the thirteenth century, they too brought the fermented cabbage with them. All of these events occurred well ahead of the German discovery of sauerkraut as the German claim goes only as far back as the sixteenth century. Considering Hungary’s noble but miserable history, Hungarians had to have a jumpstart on cabbage souring as well. Indeed, there is a long and noble tradition on the making of savanyú káposzta.

Sauerkraut Vendors

I used only a half a head of a cabbage. This will only make a small bowl of sauerkraut, you would need at least 2 cabbages for a more substantial amount, but I figured this way is easier to show how it’s made. I don’t own a fermenter and you wouldn’t believe the contraption I had to assemble the last time Jim and I made sauerkraut. You may want to experiment with smaller amounts to adjust the recipe to your individual taste anyway. There is nothing more disheartening than making a huge batch and not liking the taste. My advice is to follow this recipe and from that develop one to your own liking. Right away you see my Hungarian heritage, hot pepper, bay leaf and caraway seeds are my choice of flavouring. The fermentation will be a couple of weeks give or take so I will be adding to this recipe as the sauerkraut develops. Two weeks, less a day and the kraut was calling to me from the basement. It smelled wonderful and tasted delicious.

8 cups of sliced green cabbage [about 1/2 head of cabbage]
1/2 Tbsp pickling salt
1 hot [red] Hungarian pepper with the seeds removed
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp caraway seed

• Remove the core of the cabbage and discard.
• Slice the cabbage with a chef’s knife on the cutting board.
• Place the cabbage in a large mixing bowl.
• Sprinkle the cabbage with pickling salt. Do not use iodized table salt.
• Toss the salt into the cabbage and let sit for half an hour. I didn’t wait I started right away. However, letting the cabbage sit with the salt saves you from some of the muscle work. Then again, if you can enlist a guy to do your squeezing, who cares.
• After half an hour of rest, start squeezing the cabbage. Pound it with a potato masher. Squeeze until the cabbage reduces at least by half and you have close to a cup of cabbage juice in the bowl.
• Take a handful of cabbage and squeeze the juice out. Place the cabbage in a medium sized bowl. Repeat until all the cabbage is used.
• Transfer the remaining cabbage juice from the bowl into a cup.
• Return the squeezed cabbage to the mixing bowl.
• Add the hot red pepper, the bay leaf and the caraway seed.
• Toss to combine.
• Transfer the seasoned cabbage to a nonreactive bowl and pack it down very tight, not leaving any air pockets.
• Place a slightly smaller bowl on the top. You have to leave an escape route for the fermenting liquid, on the other hand the bowl on top should press down on most of the cabbage, so the top bowl should not be too small. If you don’t have two such bowls, fit a plate on top of the cabbage, and place something on top to hold the weight.
• Put a large casserole dish or a tray underneath to catch the fermenting liquid.
• Place a heavy weight on top. The cabbage should be submerged by liquid.
• Place the whole contraption somewhere in a dark place at room temperature. If you don’t have a dark place cover the whole thing with a towel
• On the tenth day I removed the top bowl and wiped off the scum. Tasted the kraut and it's lovely, but it still needs to mature a little. The color is beautiful. I am starting to dream about kraut.
• After two weeks less a day and the sauerkraut is ready.












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It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. This is to my old on-line friends and visitors: policing the comment section for spam and answering questions has become a chore. Good wishes to you all, happy cooking and keep on feeding your people with good food.

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