Monday, May 16, 2011

Hot Hot Hungary

Knowing several folks with Hungarian backgrounds, I knew I wasn't going to be disappointed when visiting their motherland. But wow-Budapest is a fantastic place.  Most likely my favorite destination on my whole Euro/Turkish adventure. The city is sophisticated but still trés cool, think fancy cafés and vintage shops against a backdrop of homestyle food and post-soviet rule. Can I mention the food enough? It's so rich and comforting, read: fresh sour cream on top of everything! We went to the Great Market Hall, a food destination frequented by tourists and locals alike and enjoyed our fill of yummy dishes at the cafeteria. "Cafeteria" does not do it justice but it's the best way to describe the place - trays, hot n' ready food, plus beer and wine on tap, of course. I chose the cauliflower casserole and would have sampled something else as well had the server not given me an enormous portion in one fell swoop of the spoon! Elise had beef stuffed cabbage rolls, red cabbage (bacon is involved) and a spot of goulash. 
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Images via: Me

So we feasted and feasted and then checked out the produce offerings. With such a meat-centric cuisine, the selection of beef/swine/poultry/you-name-it products was immense. I would have liked to bring home some Mangalica (Hungarian bacon from the furry Mangalica pig), but alas the #1 item us Americans cannot bring home is unpackaged animal products.  That said, some canned duck liver made it back. And don't worry, if you're also on the hunt for spices, caviar, wine, honey, cheese, fruit and veggies, they've got you covered. Love the set up of an indoor market, I have been to ones in Philly and Toronto ages ago...I need to investigate this once again. Road trip? Anyways, I purchased the obligatory tins of smoked paprika and thus made chicken paprikash (paprikáscsirke in Hungarian) at home the other day. I adapted a recipe I found on Savuer's site and abstained from making the dumplings, using brown rice instead as my weak attempt to make the dish healthier. Really you just need a vehicle for soaking up the sauce on your plate. The finished product is below - still getting this food photography thing down - but it tasted great, I swear. It's an all around simple, satisfying, very red dinner!

::Chicken Paprikash::
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, skin removed
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. sweet paprika
2 tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream

1) Season chicken with salt and pepper. 
2) Put 1⁄2 cup flour on a plate; dredge chicken; shake off excess. 
3) Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, turning once, until brown, 8–10 minutes. Set chicken aside. 
4) Add paprika and half the peppers, along with the tomatoes and onions, to pot; cook, stirring, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. 
5) Add chicken and broth; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, turning chicken once, until fully cooked, 25-30 minutes. 
6) Whisk in sour cream. 

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