Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hungry for Hungarian

Being pulled in multiple directions, it is hard sometimes to get the inspiration to come up with great dinner ideas.

I finally got a zap and decided to go ethnic heritage week.

I chose an "oddball" from my bloodline. My late grandmother mentioned years ago that there was Hungarian in the bloodline. This is not been verified yet in my ancestry research.
I went with it anyway. Researched quickly some "traditional" Hungarian fare. Looked up some recipes. Made a list and dropped almost $300 big ones at the Fred Meyer (aka Kroger) for a week of culinary exploration.

After our Eggs Benedict fiasco, I spent the day juggling the "Hungarian bakery", work on a custom knitted Etsy order, tending the fire and taking care of house and hen.


Mushroom soup with braided poppy seed bread.         
 Recipe modified from: 

Hungarian Mushroom Soup
1lb baby portobella mushrooms sliced
2 cups diced yellow onion
4 tbsp butter (unsalted)
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh chopped dill
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup milk
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp paprika
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 tsp)

In large pot, sweat the onions in the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook til they are soft and reduced. Add Chicken stock, soy sauce, dill, paprika. Lightly simmer about 30 minutes on low heat. Mix flour into milk till mixture is smooth. Pour milk mixture into pot and mix well. Simmer on low for at least 15 minutes until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.
Just before serving, take off heat and mix in sour cream and parsley and lemon juice. Don't let soup with sour cream boil 'cause it can make the cream clump up.

So good!
This soup is rich and meaty tasting because of the baby bellas. I did not add salt or pepper and it was great! I always figure one can add those if they wish.
My hubby and kid loved it too.
I will save this recipe.
Next time: make more so hubby and kid can take to work/school for lunch next day.

Serve with toasted slices of ...

Hungarian Braided Poppyseed Bread
Hungarian Braided Poppy-seed Bread.
Recipe followed as written by J.P.K. on

Things I would do next time:
I find that up here in the "wet" I have to use a tad more flour - usually in the kneading/shaping part because it is easier to control. I bake breads a lot by the feel of the dough. For some reason, baking bread just comes naturally for me. I don't know where it comes from.
I would divide dough in half. Then divide each half into 3 ropes each. Then braid 2 separate loaves.


Breakfast of Hunza Bread and coffee                   
Hunza Bread

I used unsalted butter instead of margarine, and regular raisins instead of golden. I only had regular raisins , so I guess this bread wouldn't really be "Hunza" would it?
I also added a glaze frosting.

 This is a lightly sweet bread. The dough is a bit on the moist side. The key is in the shaping process. You will need extra flour to get the texture buttery smooth. Again, dough seems to "speak" to me and let me know when it is right. It's hard for me to translate. Buttery smooth is the best description I can think of.

The frosting is just a powder sugar and milk combo. Hubby says needs more frosting - he has a sweet tooth. He also made a cream cheese brown sugar spread and it is also good with that.

 Dinner:      Hungarian Pork Chops with egg noodles    

Hungarian Pork Chops over Egg Noodles
I used more paprika - about 1 tbsp

I liked this dish. The sauce is, for lack of better word, foreign to my taste. It has a sweetness to it. While cooking, it smelled like hamburgers in the kitchen. But, I did like it.

Next time I will cook longer. I used thick cut boneless pork chops. I like my chops fork tender - almost falling apart! I did cook longer than recipe said, I think at least another half hour might have done it. For a total simmer time of 3 hours.

Also, the creator's description said that the sour cream adds a tartness. I didn't get tart. A friend of mine from Poland uses plain yogurt a lot in her recipes for that creamy tartness.  I wonder what difference substituting yogurt for the sour cream would make. After all, Poland is not too far from Hungary - I'm sure they have some blending of culinary culture :-)


Chicken Paprikash   Recipe adapted from

Photo by Anna-Bat of Sunnyvale, CA, Posted under copyright usage permissions of
My photos turned out looking like cat sick so, I chose this one from the website.
This resembles what the finished product looked like.

What I did different:

I used bacon ends and pieces fats chunks. browned them and kept them in the pot.
No added salt.
4 tbsp Paprika
Put chicken in whole.
Cooked 2 hours instead of 1 (I am paranoid about cooking chicken).

Things I would do different next time:
Not sure if there will be a next time. Although my hubby loved it, I was less thrilled with this dish (so was my gut).
The sauce was really runny! I would simmer the last hour with the lid open to reduce the sauce.
I would also use boneless chicken tenders or breasts because when it all cooks together into the sauce, the bones and other not so great stuff gets all mixed in. Not to mention it is a pain to de-bone a chicken sans sauce!

I served over spaetzle.

Wednesday: Leftovers

I made a not-so traditional cake by adding bananas etc.... 
I read zebratorta is a popular eastern European cake.

Zebra Cake (Zebratorta)
How I made it on the fly...

Banana Zebra Cake
3 really ripe bananas ('cause they had to be used in something and they can take the place of the egg yolks for moistness and they go good with chocolate).
About 6 egg whites ('cause I had them all left over from all the Hungarian baking)
1 cup sugar
2 cups-3 cups
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4-1/2 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, mix together with electric mixer, the bananas, sugar and egg whites - mix really well! Mix in 2 cups of the flour.  Mix in the milk, oil, vanilla, Salt and baking powder. Mix should be like cake batter consistency. If too thick, add a little milk, if too thin add a little flour. (My bananas were super ripe, so my batter was a bit wet).  Pour half the mix into a medium bowl. To ONE of the bowls, add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup cocoa powder and mix in well.
To make the stripeys... pour a cup at a time into center of cake pan, alternating chocolate and vanilla mix. Yes, A cup in the middle of chocolate, then pour a cup of vanilla right on top of it, then chocolate then vanilla...etc. This is how the stripes are made! If you want more, thinner stripes, use a smaller measurement at a time ie. 1/4 cup.
Bake about 40 minutes.
Because I used so much banana, mine came out wet in the center - it was cooked, but super moist and sticky.
Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and coffee.

Thursday:   Hungarian Goulash  Recipe adapted from

Hungarian Goulash
I did not alter this recipe.
I used my big dutch oven. 
It turned out good.
So easy to make.

I like this dish but am not crazy about it. It gives a sense of a comfort food. Reminds me very much of beef stew without the veggies or traditional Texas chili without the kick.
I served it over spaetzle.

Friday will be leftovers

 Saturday's breakfast will be a "traditional" Hungarian big breakfast.
Eggs, cold cuts, sausages, cheese, toast, coffee, and orange juice or milk.
Sounds good to me!

The Chicken Chick

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had a fun time making up lots of great food! My husband loves beef stroganoff. Not sure if it's Hungarian, but the sour cream in the sauce made me think so. I will have to try a few of the recipes, they look good! Have a great week...blessings, Nancy from livininthegreen


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