Friday 28 November
Arnie and Zsolt reach Komando, a little logging village over 3,500 feet up in the Carpathian Mountains.
Along the way, they make an unscheduled stop at the ancestral home of Count Kalnoky, who invites to join his guests for dinner, in exchange for a fantastic performance, and insists they stay the night.
Bean Goulash (Babgulyás) from Kulács Restaurant, Budapest
This is the tastiest and most filling Goulash we tasted on our trip. It’s a Rroma (gypsy) recipe and should be served with a teaspoon of sour cream stirred into it and a bit of chopped fresh chilli or Erös Pista (unsweetened chilli sauce) if you want to spice it up. It’s best accompanied with chunks of fresh white bread.
Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a starter.
300g borlotti or red kidney beans, or a mixture of both, soaked overnight in 1 litre of water
250g mixed, roughly chopped smoked meat (Hungarian kolbász and szalonna if you can get it, Spanish chorizo and Italian pancetta if you can’t)
500g braising beef, cubed
6 (yes six!) tablespoons of sweet paprika - the sort commonly found in UK supermarkets
½ to 1 teaspoon of hot paprika (according to taste)
2 heaped teaspoons of ground caraway seeds
3 red onions, chopped into medium size pieces
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
2 medium-sized carrots, diced
2 medium-sized parsnips, diced
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon Knorr Aromat (or similar)
Salt and pepper to taste
For the nokedli (small dumpling like noodles to put in the soup)
100g plain flour
Pinch of salt
Cook the beans, with the bay leaves, in the water they’ve soaked in for about an hour until they are soft. Simultaneously, simmer the chopped smoked meats in a small saucepan with just enough water to cover them.
In the meantime soften the onions in the oil in a large saucepan (it will have to be big enough to hold the finished goulash). Then add the cubed beef and brown. Remove from the heat and add the paprika, Aromat, garlic and enough water to stop it burning (about a third of the way up the meat and onions). Return to a low heat and simmer - you’re aiming for a good thick meat stew. Stir occasionally and if the water level drops too low then top it up.
When the beans are soft, add the sauerkraut and the carrots and parsnips and cook until they’re softened too.
Then add the beans and vegetables to the meat stew along with the caraway and smoked meats (you can add the water they’ve simmered in too, after straining off the surplus fat) and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about another 20 minutes adding more water if you want to make it into more of a soup.
In the meantime make the nokedli by beating the egg with the salt and combining this with the flour to make a viscous dough.
Using a teaspoon scoop out tiny dumplings and drop into the soup for a few minutes.
Serve with bread, sour cream and chilli.
Anikó Gergely’s recipe for Lecsó
Anikó gave us a guided tour of the Central Market in Budapest. Her enthusiasm for food matches her vivacity and energy for life. This is a very simple “peasant” dish that can be served as a side dish or main course. It features, along with many other recipes and interesting “foodie” facts and folklore, in her excellent cookbook Culinaria Hungary. You can add beaten egg, sausage, fatty bacon (or any combination of all three) towards the end of the cooking if you like. Home- grown tomatoes and peppers really improve this dish! Serves 4
1 kg peppers
1 large onion
1 tablespoon paprika
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
Remove the stalks and seeds from the peppers and cut into finger-width strips or rings. Remove the stalks from the tomatoes and chop them. Finely chop the onion and fry until soft, stirring continuously until translucent. Remove from the heat and stir in the paprika. Add the peppers and salt, cover with a lid and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft.
Pork pörkölt (stew)
This is another of Anikó’s recipes, although I have added a few touches of my own. Serves 4.
800g diced pork (leg, shoulder or loin)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 smallish peppers, seeded and chopped
1 large tomato, cut into 8 pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt to taste
1 sprig rosemary or sage
1 sliced pepper for garnishing
Fry the onion in the oil until it’s on the verge of browning. Remove from the heat and add the peppers and the meat. Return to the stove and cook for a few more minutes, stirring continuously. Add the paprika, salt, garlic, tomato and herbs. Cover and leave to simmer in its juices for at least an hour. You can add a little water from time to time to compensate for any evaporation.
Garnish with the sliced pepper and a couple of teaspoons of sour cream. Serve with potatoes, rice or pasta and some gherkins on the side.
Creamed Marrow - fit for a Transylvanian Count!
This was a big hit with the dinner guests at Count Kalnoky’s Estate, where we pitched up for the night. Luckily for me I’ve been familiar with this dish for years - it was a firm Somogyi family favourite - and, although it’s a side dish, I could quite happily eat it on its own, by the bowlful. Serves eight but make the lot - you’ll want more the next day!
1.5kg marrow or large courgettes
1 medium-sized onion
1 heaped tablespoon flour
120g pickled gherkin
120 ml liquid from the gherkin jar
150 ml sour cream
½ teaspoon sugar
Peel and halve the courgettes/marrow scraping out any seeds. Shred into matchstick strips. Spread out in a colander and sprinkle with a level tablespoon of salt. Put a heavy dish on top and leave for at least an hour.
Drain off the liquid from the marrow and squeeze the shreds as free of moisture as you can.
Fry the onion in the butter until soft and golden. Stir in the flour and cook for two minutes. Liquidise the gherkin and its liquid; add to the roux and then spoon in the sour cream. When smooth and boiling add the courgette/marrow. Bring back to the boil and stir for about five minutes until the courgette/marrow is just cooked but not soggy. Adjust the seasoning and add a pinch of sugar to bring out the flavour. Serve with a dill garnish.
Rosenstein’s Poppy Seed and Honey Topped Pancakes
Our first food-music trade off was at Rosensteins in Budapest. We left full to bursting! This serves six large portions.
200g plain flour
300ml soda water
pinch of salt
A little caster sugar (approx. 2 teaspoons)
100g ground poppy seeds
50g icing sugar
100ml runny honey
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Add a little of the combined milk and soda water and whisk, gradually adding more liquid until you have a batter the consistency of single cream. Then add the caster sugar and whisk again until the sugar has dissolved (the more you whisk the fluffier the pancakes!).
Add a knob of butter to a very hot frying pan, ladle in the batter and fry both sides of the pancake. Repeat until you have used up all the batter (you should have about 10+ pancakes). Roll them up and cut into approx 1cm slices. Place in a serving dish, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven.
When ready to serve remove from the oven and sprinkle generously with the poppy seeds and honey. Dust with the icing sugar.
Serve with a good quality berry jam and fresh fruit.
*These recipes were freely gathered from chefs, food writers and kitchens across Transylvania during his journey by Arnie Somogyi, who, as a fan of goulash (and other local delicacies!) has made sure they work by trying them since he got back. We hope they work for you.