Here we go…the first dish of Hungary.
It’s sort of nice that mom cooked for me this week. It’s like being home without actually being home. It’s left me some time to start my next project: album-ing and scrapbooking my trip photos from 2009-present. Yes, it’s a winter activity, but I just felt like starting it now. I have so much to do I am pretty confident I’ll still be doing it this winter. As such, this is my kitchen table right now:
But we’re here to talk about this dish. THIS DISH. VEAL PAPRIKASH.
This one is one of my favorite mom foods EVER. Despite the fact that I was born under the sign of the Leo, I ask that mom make it every year for my birthday in August. Veal stew in August? It must be good, right?
Trust me, it is. I had even planned on making it for you last year when I did my birthday favorites, but alas, I could not find veal stew meat and ended up making tacos instead. THIS year however, here’s the stew for you. Mama Buddha to the rescue.
Why is this so good? Well, I know many of us like a good hearty beef stew to soothe the soul, and that’s essentially what this is. It’s the same, but different. The veal makes the meat a little more tender and therefore somehow “lighter,” the paprika gives it a slightly different flavor base, and its’ served it with a sort of orzo pasta “pilaf” rather than potatoes.
I know. I’m making pasta. That never happens, but orzo is just the best. At least this way, where mom makes it sort of risotto-esque, browning the little noodles in a bit of butter, letting them get golden, and then slowly adding warm chicken broth until saturated to perfection.
To be honest I’m not sure how authentic the orzo is. When mom makes chicken paprikash, we eat it with nokedli, which is essentially Hungarian spaetzle. Speaking of chicken paprikash, you can use this same method with chicken parts and viola! A whole new dish.
The one distinguishing ingredient that is not all that present in mom’s version is the grotesque amount of sour cream. I don’t really like it, so she adds just enough to slightly flavor the sauce without causing it to taste sour cream-y. However, order this IN Hungary and you’ll be scraping a layer off the top. After eating this at least 5 times in my two week jaunt there in 2005, I will proclaim loud and proud that mom’s is still the best. I hope you think so, too.
- 1 pound stewing veal meat
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped the same size as the onion
- 1 tsp, heaping of Sweet Hungarian Paprika
- 1 TB parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp flour
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 2-3 ½ cups of chicken stock, warmed
- ½ TB butter or olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- Saute the onions in 1 tsp oil and cook until golden. Add the carrot and cook until tender. Add the paprika and toast about 5 minutes.
- Add the meat, parsley and salt and pepper and simmer until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.
- Add just enough liquid to cover what is in the pan (not too much…)
- Mix together the flour and sour cream and add to the stew. Incorporate thoroughly and serve with orzo.
- In a large, somewhat deep skillet (preferably cast iron) , heat the olive oil or butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the orzo and toast about 5 minutes until golden brown.
- Add in the stock, a few ladles at a time, and stir for a minute with each addition. Keep adding stock each time the pan starts to become dry at the edges.
- When the orzo is cooked to al dente, season with salt and pepper and fold in the parsley.
Note: This post has been updated from its original version with new, much prettier pictures.
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