The heritages of the Hungarian paprika
The heritages of the Hungarian paprika! I think the Hungarian foods with paprika are one of the most important components of the country’s spiritual and cuisine heritages. I can say that is the organic part of our folk culture, a heritage that we must improve, save, care of, secure and is an important part of Europe’s variegation. This is the only place on the Earth where this kind of foods is made, so we hope that one day this will be the part of the World Heritages.
The secret is simple: the unique and simple combination of fat, onion, paprika powder, salt and the fresh meat and the boiling with more or less liquid. Needn’t to waste more time to it, the magic makes itself in the Hungarians pot, which comes from the Árpád-era (from the 9th to the 13th century), the kettle.
It is well known, that the paprika in this form came to our cuisine 150 years ago, but as we use it, the cast of mind, the creativity, the innovation makes it Hungarian without a doubt.
Don’t be afraid to learn the apparently small, but important differences! The essence of the cooking is the basic-technology; which is also a guarantee to the perfect quality, and that we name a food made with paprika, which is really made with that!
The paprikás is a simple food; most of the housewives make this. Boil the grease on middle fire (if possible, use fat or cooking oil – the butter or the olive is not good!). Parch the diced onion (not minced, not filed or dried), powder it with paprika, and add the cut up fresh meat immediately, mix it, and with adding some liquid (water, wine, beer, bone soup, meat soup, vegetable soup) steam it until it’s ready. Stir it carefully, do not break the meat, and water it to avoid catching into the pot.
The essence of the stew is the diced meat, which is stewed in its juice in the kettle, without grease, water or seasoning. (If you are preparing a little amount, you can add some water, to avoid catching the meat into the kettle.) The boiling is easier if you don’t cut the meat in small pieces, and don’t remove the natural grease, suet and membranes from it. That is the point, to make a straight food, which reminds you to the taste of the meat, which bottom is shines from the juice and the grease tripped from the meat. When it’s half boiled, and soft enough, simmer the onion on some grease, add paprika to it, and add to the meat. Shake it carefully in the kettle, to avoid the catching, but not breaking the meat. Add the salt only in the end, to taste. (If the sheep has grown on a lick, its meat can be good without salt too.)
The goulash, or – as Ferenc Erdei classifies it – „neither paprikás, nor stew” is the simplest, you can’t even spoil it. It is the technology of the herds and the pig stickers’ and the fishermen’s and the shepherds’, so the men’s who are busy and has no time to niggle, and has no dish for it, not even the mood, but want to have a big, soupy, nutrient food.
This kind of man layers the chopped meat and the thinly sliced onion in the kettle, and adds the salt and paprika to taste, and waters it more or less (it depends on how soupy food he wants to eat in the end) and boils it to ready.
It is obvious, that the goulash and the fish soup needs more water, the shepherd-style mutton and the “toros”-style pork needs fewer. In this way the nutrient, tasty easily digestible juice is the goal, which can be eaten by the sensitive stomached people too.
It can be seen, that the preparation is very simple: put everything in when it is cold, and boil it to ready. During the boiling the only thing you have to do is to keep an eye on the fire or add some seasoning, vegetables, or pasta, or sour cream. What is makes difference from any other goulash-style made Hungarian foods, that it has a thick, almost sauce-like juice, has no watery middle, and inedible greasy top, only the blood like thick juice, which jellifies, when it colds. The next day this jelly is a very tasteful food with some fresh bread, or toast. Simple, but great, but the most people won’t try it, because this way is not popular, however the meat soup is made in the same way every week.
Well, this is the habit we secure in Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok country, in every settlement, in different opportunities. It is a habit that one of the settlements makes a cooking competition, where regularly loads of interested people makes appears.
In our county, the Goulash Festival of Szolnok is especially famous, which is held in every year since 1999, regularly in the second Saturday of September, in the Tiszaliget.
There is no question that Szolnok is the capital city of the goulash, since even in 1935 is a shepherd meeting is held in the city, where traditional shepherd foods are made in open fire. We are the successions of this habit.
With the permission of the organizers of the Goulash Festival of Szolnok. Extraction. Author: Árpád Kopasz (2006)