Fr. Z’s Kitchen: A weird intro and then Hungarian food in honor of Bl. Karl’s centenary

I stumbled across Modernist Pantry.   “Well,” quoth I, “let’s see what this might be.”

Noting the similarity of theme with the Fishwrap or a German Synod (“walking together”) where they can whip up any sort of modernism you want, can make black into white, truth into lies, front into back, I looked around for a while, as one does.


Gramercy Kitchen Company Cocktail Smoker

I get smoking and a cocktail.  But, really, why not just save yourself a step and reduce the it all into one slug.


Who doesn’t need a “spherificator” in their kitchen?   Now, if it made large, perfectly clear ice spheresI’d be interested.

And… I’m fresh out of this stuff…

Pure Methylcellulose – High Viscosity  Non-GMO  Vegan  OU Kosher Certified

To think that I made Pörkölt in view of the centenary of the the death of Bl. Karl von Habsburg of Austria without any of these things!

First, I want to thank the reader who sent the good paprikas. You made this possible! Köszönöm!

My mise en place.  I had no pork lard so I used a little bacon.  And, no, that is not a spherificator!  (See what I did there?  What a transition.)

What’s that black thing?    That and the hysterically sharp, large knife were gifts from a great friend.  That’s my pepper cannon.   You all know what it is like to grind and grind and twist and twist again and again, to get a sufficient amount of ground pepper.  With this thing, one twist and KABLAM! you’ve got ground pepper, as much as many turns in other grinders.  Having this frees my other great grinders for different loads.

And so it begins.

Then the onion.  Let it go golden.  Add then the chopped bell pepper.   On retrospect… retrotaste?… I will used less next time.  This time it was half each of a green and red.  Colors, you know… Hungary?

How sharp is that knife?  The tomato hardly moved.  I just made the cuts.  Refreshing.

After that, the beef.   The recipe said to work with the beef until most, but not all, of the pink was gone.  We begin with all the pink, of course.

Now for the magic.  It called for the sweet.   FOUR tablespoons.

Paprika is somewhat delicate.  Take your mixture in its dutch oven off of the heat for a moment before adding paprika.  It can turn bitter if exposed to high heat before blending in.

NOTE: The cooking process involves slow braising in water.  That paste of fat and paprika will thicken.

In goes the tomato and bay and caraway seeds

Add water, not so that it covers, but about half covers, left side or right side.   HA!  No, just kidding.  It doesn’t work that way.

Let it simmer, actually braise, for a couple hours, covered.  If, later, it is too loose, keep the cover off for a while.

Meanwhile, although I opted not to have carbs with this, such as spätzle, or nokedli, I did have cucumber salad.  A little salt, drain, a little more salt and a touch of sugar with apple cider vinegar.

The only Hungarian wine available at the shop.

And here we are.  Szeretem a magyar konyhát.

In honor of Bl. Karl, a day early because Pörkölt would constitute poor cult tomorrow as it is a Friday in Lent.

Nagyon finom volt.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. InFormationDiakonia says:

    I have to say Father, you provide us with many culinary delights we get to see you make. Having been to Hungary twice after they joined NATO, I can still remember some of the good food we had in the Officer’s Mess at Kecskemet Air Base (still had MiG 29s….which the Russians charged an arm and a leg to fix for the Hungarians), along with Bull’s Blood to wash it all down! What an awesome red befitting it’s name! I have a bottle the base commander gave us after our inspection, beautiful bottle written in gold embossed Hungarian with a gold embossed MiG 29 on it. It is a 2002 vintage….not sure how well it has aged. You have me salivating!

  2. Paul says:

    Father ^,
    how do you do it.
    Looks absolutely delicious.
    My question, hope your not enjoying your meal at your desk? I see the books.

    Bless and pray for you daily.

  3. Mariana2 says:

    I will have to get Hungarian paprika. The paprika I’ve had to date has been totally tasteless, just a red powder.

    [This is what I used HERE]

  4. LoriAnnD says:

    Yum yum! one of my favorites made by my grandmother and my Hungarian grandfather always put a bit of dill on his cucumbers with slice of fresh dark rye bread. Such fond food memories…

  5. Gab says:

    Wow. That looks great. My dear Mother, may she rest in peace, was an exceptional cook and that was her trade. She hailed from Kecskemet and studied her craft in Budapest. I’ll never taste anything like her porkolt with nokedli and cucumber salad again, sadly. She used to also add a mix of cream and sour cream (not a great deal) to the cucumber/vinegar/water/sugar mix and then sprinkle sweet paprika on top (red, white, green get it?). Delicious in itself.

  6. exNOAAman says:

    Yes , Bull’s Blood. My family’s go-to hearty red since the 70s. We had a Hungarian friend (escaped the Communists) who was a fairly talented cook. I remember the Goulash, and the chicken paprika. He roasted espresso beans at home. (Don’t think I knew what espresso was before then).
    Great cooking post, Padre.

  7. Diane says:

    I love the things you cook, Father. They always look so delicious! I can smell the aroma from here!

  8. APX says:

    Another delicious Hungarian cucumber salad is made with heavy cream (my grandma used whipping cream). I know you have to soak the cucumbers in salt to get the bitterness out first, but alas, I can’t remember the other stuff my dad told me to make it, but it’s delicious, especially with fresh cucumbers from the garden.

    I have all the ingredients on hand to make this, and need to use them up, so I think this will be supper on Sunday. Thanks for the meal idea!

    [I didn’t have any dill on hand for the cucumbers, but I push forward anyway. We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.]

  9. Mike says:

    This looks great. I’ll have to make it before it gets too warm.

    The WSJ several years ago ran a nice piece on goulash that I’ve cooked many times. Wonderful comfort food, although its name stems from their word for herdsman, or cowboy!

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