A 1000 Year History Cuisine of Hungary

Where do we place middle age in history cuisine?

(We place it at this time of Stephen I, a.k.a King Saint Stephen (Hungarian: Szent István király)  born 975 – 1038 AD (The year of his birth is uncertain). Was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians between 997 and 1000 or 1001, and the first King of Hungary until his death in 1038.)

In the Middle Age period, at the time of King Saint Steven era the cooks were respected artisans and evolved the cuisine of Hungary. At the palace and at homes the meat dishes made from pork, poultry, beef, duck and goose were consumed. Mostly the fish-based dishes were highly popular. At the time being at the Buda market offered food products, ingredients and variety of herbs and spices from far lands (these were the times when the Hungarians meals were cooked with the new ingredients available. The birth of the Goulash (Gulyás) soup was indeed a melting pot, spirit of its original Magyar folks who combined the heavy soup  with several ingredients to their own taste.

The original  Goulash was being prepared by itinerant cowherds or shepherd,  cooked in cast-iron cauldron (bogrács) over an open fire with ingredients they carried in their saddle-bags, such as onions, cured bacon, lard and millet. Whenever one of their animals was too weak to go on, or they had the good fortune to come across a wild pig, they would kill it and add its meat to the pot. This become national speciality  with a number of alternative variations.  The Hungarian paprika, which was only added early in the 161th century after the arrival  by explorers who brought hot and spicy peppers (capsicum annuum) from Central Mexico to Spain. The Hungarians were fond of the paprika and kept in use as dried, crushed and made into a spicy powder.  Added addition of tomatoes during the first half of the twentieth century with potatoes or noodles to modern adaptations. The thick soup is often eaten as a main course. It is served with thickly sliced dumplings, or with csipetke (egg noodles). The history of goulash illustrates it is that it is really no one’s. Rooted in the restless wandering of medieval stockmen, always been a dish without borders.

The recipes are for portion/person 3-4 dl (1 and ¼ – 1 and ¾ cups).

Ingredients: 360g (2 and 1/2 cups) cubed beef, 80g (5 tbs) lard, 150 g (7/8 cup onion, 15 g (1 tbs) paprika, salt, garlic, caraway seeds, 800 g (1 and ¾ lb) potato, 3-4  red and white carrots, 140 g (1 cup) green pepper, 60 g (1 small) fresh tomato.

Slowly simmer for cca  2 and a 1/2 Hs. The Hungarian goulash soup is often served in a loaf and the loaf can be eaten as well.

Steps to make it  … chop the veggies and cut the meat about the same size. Chop the onion finely – start to sauté in oil on high heat until it starts getting soft but not brown. Remove the pot from the fire and add the paprika powder. Pour some water in the pot but always just a touch. The goal is to make a ”pörkölt” – stew base Add the mat and the spices (salt, pepper, caraway seeds (cumin seeds will do as well), bay leaves. Turn around so that they are covered with the „pörkölt” sauce. Keep cooking for an hour. When the meat is half cooked add the veggies and mashed garlic, spices (in the absence of stock bouillon cubes may be used) and keep cooking. When almost cooked, add twice as much water to the „pörkölt” base, lower the heat, cover and slowly boil. Keep adding water as necessary as the soup simmers.

Csipetke  – egg noddle – pinched pasta: cca. 15 mins. before finishing add the „csipetke” – means pinched dumpling. It is a stiff dough from flour, egg and salt. Make it fresh or buy ready-made dried version if available at your end.

If possible cook the soup in family size „bogács” (round metal pot which gives an authentic air to the table serving… in the absence of stock bouillon cubes may be in use. The Hungarian goulash soup is often served in a loaf and with the fresh loaf is simply delicious, and can be eaten as well.

Many folks knows that macaroni is Italian.

The Austrians in Vienna have tasty schnitzel

The French eat frogs

Hungarians are fond of their traditional Goulash thick soup

© Aggie Reiter

Cook your own Goulash Soup and would like to hear your own feedback …Tks.

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