Thursday, September 8, 2011
Hungarian paprika is not like American paprika. It has flavor, very distinct, somewhat smokey, and the hot is quite hot. It has a very rich color, not red, but more like a burgundy shade. It even smells different from the American stuff, with an aroma that tickles the nose with a slight peppery tease.
Put the pot'o'goodness into the oven at 350F for about an hour, with a lid on. After that, check frequently (about every 15 minutes) to make sure the water doesn't evaporate. You can take the lid off, too. Poke around in the pot and see how tender your meat is. If you have thighs with backs attached, you'll know it's ready when the meat starts to fall off the bones!
Now, on to the cabbage you've been looking at! Again, we're going to replace my grandmother's lard with chicken broth. Into the bottom of a large pot (large enough to hold your cabbage!), pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and add a few bits of raw bacon. Saute until they are mostly cooked, and then add some diced or sliced onion. I usually put in one large onion per head of cabbage (and my cabbage is generally the size of three fists together, though the one pictured is about two-fist size). Add a bit of garlic, some paprika (okay, a LOT of paprika), salt and pepper, and then let the onions cook until they begin to soften and go clear (see second picture).
This dish is ready when the cabbage is soft and falling apart, quite red, and the liquid is almost all gone. The last little while you'll have to stick around and stir to keep it from burning. It's a good time to make your 'gravy' for the chicken! Taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper - sometimes I add a bit, other times I don't.
These two dishes are often served together, along side some corn with butter, a nice, warm crusty bread, and egg noodles or spetzel. We usually pour the gravy over the chicken and noodles, and put fresh sour cream onto the top of the whole thing. It's a very easy dish to make, doesn't require a lot of finicky preparation, and tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen. You WILL be asked to make this again, and again, and again...