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In Search of the Real Paprikas Krumpli

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 02 June 2013 at 15:58

As some of you know, my latest book project is called “The Gumshoe Gourmet.” In it I explore the relationship of food and detective mysteries.

While researching that, I came across, in Sue Grafton’s “R is for Ricochet,” the following passage:

“’For you and your friend, I’m fixing Krumpli Paprikas. Is stew made of boil potato, onion, and what you call weenies cut in pieces. Is always serve with rye bread and on the side you have choice of cucumber salad or sour pickle. Which you want? I’m think pickle,’ she said, scribbling a note on her pad.”

Sounded intriguing. Though I doubted hot dogs were part of the original, so researched it further.

Turns out, Paprikas Krumpli is the most popular peasant food in Hungary. For “peasant” you can just as easily read “comfort.” Many Hungarians eat it every day, for lunch or supper.

Krumpli Paprikas, as described above, may be a misnomer. According to chef Clara Czegeny, Paprikas Krumpli, under that name, is made just with potatoes. When you add sausage it becomes Kolbaszos Paprikas Krumpli. I’ll take her word for it.

Here’s her recipe for the expanded version:

1 pair Hungarian sausages
6 med potatoes, cut into wedges (Yukon Gold preferred)
1 large onion, chopped
1/8 tsp Hungarian hot paprika
2 tbls bacon fat
1 ½ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½-1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
2 cups water
1 tsp caraway seeds.

Cut sausage into slices on the diagonal. Clean and peel onions and cut into small-medium chunks. In a large, heavy pot, fry onions in bacon fat. Add paprika to the fat and allow it to “bloom” only a minute. Then, add sliced sausages and sauté for 10 minutes. Add caraway seeds, salt, pepper and garlic. Add potato wedges. Then, tip pot to the side and pour just enough water to cover tops of potato wedges (about 2 cups). You don’t want to wash off the paprika---it’s precious like gold! Bring to a rolling boil, then turn down heat, ¾ cover with a lid and let it simmer 20-30 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, pierce fork in potatoes to check for doneness. Then, if it’s ready, don’t cook a minute longer. Depending on the type of potatoes used, you could end up with MASH---and that’s not what you are looking for.

In the Hungarian cookbook Unokainknak ajanljuk (We Recommend it for Out Grandchildren) by Lejtenyi-Waldhauser, “Paprikas Krumpli” is used even though the recipe contains meat. Here’s the rather different recipe from that book:

1 kilogram potatoes
2 large onions
50 grams smoked bacon
50 grams lard
100 grams smoked kolbasz (sausage)
2 tbls paprika
Sour cream
Salt

Render the smoked bacon with one spoonful of the lard. Peel and then cut the onions into small cubes, sauté in the fat until they are clear. Take the pan off of the heat and mix in the paprika. Wash and peel the potatoes and cut them in quarters. Add them to the onions and fat, returning the pan to the stove, and mixing it. Pour water on it to cover, salt it, and when it’s almost ready, put in the sausage and cook it for a few more minutes. Serve with sour cream.

From the numerous recipes I found, it seems that either “Paprikas Krumpli” or “Kolbaszos Paprikas Krumpli” can be used interchangeably, whether the dish contains meat or not.
Nor are sausage and bacon the only choices. As it turns out, there are as many versions of Paprikas Krumpli as there are Hungarian cooks. Some use ham, instead of bacon or sausages. At least one uses salt pork.

Hmmmmm? Maybe the use of weenies is authentic after all?

Other ingredients are sometimes used as well, with the addition of a half or whole chopped red or yellow bell pepper, sautéed with the onions, being the most usual. Basically, what they have in common, is potatoes and paprika. But even the paprika component differs, one to the other. Some combine hot and sweet paprika. Others use just sweet. Or combine it with smoked paprika.

We’ve discussed the problem, in the past, of whether or not an adapted recipe is still authentic. How far beyond traditional ingredients can you go, and still have the same dish. Given the diversity of ingredients used for Paprikas Krumpli, I would have to say that this one, from Food.com, is certainly in the tradition of the original if not quite the same:

2 tbls butter
2 tbls olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 ½ tbls Hungarian paprika
6 large potatoes, diced ¾ inch
1 small green pepper, diced
1 large tomato, peeled and diced
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Water

In a large saucepan, melt butter and olive oil together. Sauté the onions for 5 minutes.

Put all of the rest of the ingredients into the pot, just barely covering the potatoes with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Avoid stirring as much as you can to keep the potatoes from breaking apart.

Cook for 30 minutes or until tender.

Should you decide to try any of these versions, here’s a recipe for an Hungarian cucumber salad to go with it:

Tejfolos Uborka
(Cucumbers with Sour Cream)

4 large cucumbers
2 tsp salt
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ tsp paprika
2 tbls salad oil
¼ cup sour cream

Peel the cucumbers and slice thin. Sprinkle with the salt and let stand 15 minutes. Drain and press out the moisture. Add the vinegar and paprika. A few minutes before serving add the salad oil and sour cream.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 June 2013 at 17:11
I know of this thing, potato paprikas. This was cheap and fast eats, or what ever more you could make of it if you had more to add. Most often in my experience it went like this: bacon rendered, onions sweated, paprika and bay leaves added, water and potatoes added, sometimes a little other root vegetable like kohlrabi maybe, then finished with sour cream or maybe just some milk, and usually served with biscuits. However, kolbaz or other sausage or any leftover diced meat might be added.

This filled bellies when nothing better could be had. At it's most basic it could be lard sweated onion, paprika, diced potatoes and water and some salt and pepper. Nothing else served with it.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2013 at 02:46
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:


As some of you know, my latest book project is called “The Gumshoe Gourmet.” In it I explore the relationship of food and detective mysteries.


May I suggest Agatha Christie's "The Adventure of The Christmas Pudding"?
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 June 2013 at 08:15
Brook,
 
WOW ... Marvelous combination, mysteries and gastronomy ... Very intriguing ...
 
Interesting recipes too and what is truly fascinating is the penchant for smoked papika in both Galicia and Extremadura with very similar takes on not only potatoes, but Fish ...
 
Dishes A LA GALLEGA or DE GALLEGO ...
 
 
Really like your Cucumber Salad ... Very refreshing ...
 
Thank you for posting.
 
M.
Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 June 2013 at 09:25

Chef Clara Czegeny says Hungarian white bread is the best accompaniment to this dish, rather than the rye others suggest.

In order to provide for all the options, I've posed a recipe for Hungarian Farmhouse Bread here: http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/topic3551_post25035.html#25035

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tjkoko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2013 at 08:45
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:


Chef Clara Czegeny says Hungarian white bread is the best accompaniment to this dish, rather than the rye others suggest.

In order to provide for all the options, I've posed a recipe for Hungarian Farmhouse Bread here: http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/topic3551_post25035.html#25035



In reading the Time Life book on The Cooking of Germany, rye seems to play a very important part of their bread and I'm thinking that rye is a grain found mostly in the north of Europe but I could be wrong.  And yes I realize that Hungary isn't Germany.

And it seems that caraway seed added to the bread would figure in here but I don't know Hungarian cuisine intimately and its use of fennel.  When I make rye brot, I'll alternate between using caraway one week and fennel the next.  And occasionally I'll dampen the crown of the proofed loaf and roll it in a sheet pan covered with cracked black peppercorns.
A foodie here. I know very little but the little that I know I know quite well.

best,
-T
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2013 at 13:44
I'm a big fan of combining caraway with rye, Terry.

But this time, following Chef Czegeny's suggestion, I went looking for an Hungarian white bread. Which is the recipe I provided.

I have not, as yet, made that bread. But everything I've made from Bread of the World Etc. has been spot on. So I'm anxious to try this one.

And, yes, I'd have to agree with you that rye is a grain primarily of northern Europe. But it's spread from there, and is used as part of the mix even in places like Spain and southern France. See, for instance, Margi's recipe for Pane de Campagne, which originated in Provence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tjkoko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2013 at 13:56
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

I'm a big fan of combining caraway with rye, Terry.

...I have not, as yet, made that bread. But everything I've made from Bread of the World Etc. has been spot on. So I'm anxious to try this one. ...


Where is this website, Bread of the World?

A foodie here. I know very little but the little that I know I know quite well.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 June 2013 at 05:42
Not a website, Terry. A book.

Full name is: "Bread: The Breads of the World and How to Bake Them At Home." Written by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter, it's not new. Publishing date is 1999.

I'd come across it in the library, earlier this year, and was so impressed I immediately ordered two copies; one for me and one for Ron. Used at Amazon they were less than three bucks each.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2013 at 12:11
Finally got around to making the Hungarian Farmhouse Bread (http://www.foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/hungarian-farmhouse-bread_topic3551.html), and it's a real winner. I understand, now, why Chef Czegeny recommends a white bread to accompany this dish.

Only modification I'd make is to actually grind the fennel seed, rather than cracking it, so the flavor fully infuses the loaf.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2013 at 12:32
Brook - Not sure how I missed this post, but allow me to apologise, and then thank you for an outstanding topic. We've got some good, true hungarian peasant eating here, and a dish I'd been meaning to try for some time. Your post, with the literary tie-ins and references to your book project, give me inspiration.
 
I don't have any kolbasz on hand, but I do have a package of weenies.....
 
Shocked
 
Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2013 at 12:41
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:



Brook - Not sure how I missed this post, but allow me to apologise, and then thank you for an outstanding topic. We've got some good, true hungarian peasant eating here, and a dish I'd been meaning to try for some time. Your post, with the literary tie-ins and references to your book project, give me inspiration.I don't have any kolbasz on hand, but I do have a package of weenies.....
Shocked
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So.....,make some kolbasz!
Mark R
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2013 at 12:46
that is actually on deck as my next sausage project, mark - i don't know what the heck i've been waiting for, but this would be a perfect use for it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2013 at 13:07
That recipe you sent me on a while back would be perfect (Domáce Klobásy), but Hungarian maybe better!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2013 at 13:11
Everything's better with kolbasz! I've been trying to decide whether to add a little wine or beer to the kolbasz that I make - in place of water. I think I'll add red wine, since that seems to be the norm for the area where this particular kolbasz comes from. It's the family recipe of a certain "Mad Hunky" that we know, so I want to do it justice. When I make it, I'll be sure to use it for this recipe that Brook provided!
 
I've got special plans for the domáce klobásy - more on that when the time comes!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 June 2013 at 13:22
Hunky kolbasz it should be...with red wine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Percebes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 September 2016 at 06:46
I woke up feeling adventurous today.

If there can be much beloved Swedish Potato Sausage, why couldn't I make a Paprikas Krumpli Sausage just as an ode to sausage loving Hungarians.
I will consult my 83 year old Hungarian MIL today and formulate a game plan.

What really is niggling at my brain is deciding what the proper potato would have been in Hungary at the time.
The reference to Yukon Gold from those Hungarian/Canadian cookbook authors has me very suspicious.

Ingredients are everything!!!!!

What was readily available to the Hungarians before 1956?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 September 2016 at 08:18
Sounds like a great project to me - I'll be keeping an eye on it!

>>>The reference to Yukon Gold from those Hungarian/Canadian cookbook authors has me very suspicious.<<<

Perhaps this potato is closest in texture or flavor to what they enjoyed at home? I don't know - heck, I am still trying to wrap my head around the difference between "waxy" potatoes and "mealy" potatoes.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Percebes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 September 2016 at 09:32
My suspicions are rooted in the fact that the Yukon Gold was developed in Guelph Ontario in the mid-late 60's. They did not hit the Canadian groceries until 1980.

What is the nature of starches when cooked in water?

Starches Gelatinize meaning that they will Swell, Split and Soften.

They have no Off button.

Waxy potatoes generally considered lower starch than
Mealy potatoes. Mealy potatoes will gelatinize at a lower temperature than waxy potato due to the type of starch involved

So if I want a potato to hold it's shape-eg-slices or cubes-it is in my interest to select a waxy potato.

However if I am looking for a non-lumpy mashed potato then a mealy potato will give me the result that I am looking for because in the cooking world starches generally behave the same way in a moist environment-they swell, split and soften absorbing moisture long after they are removed from the heat.

Think of a roux thickened gravy that continue to gelatinize and thicken once it sits making a correction necessary over time.


The Yukon Gold falls somewhere in the middle of the great Potato divide sharing attributes of each type.


Europeans do love their yellow fleshed potatoes but I am not yet convinced that they were widely available in Hungary simply according to the groups of well aged Hungarians that I have had contact with in the Hungarian Club. Certainly not definitive, but food for thought.lol
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 September 2016 at 09:37
Good explanation - thank you!

I suspect you are right about Hungarians and their potatoes. I've got a couple of books on the subject, and my doctor happens to be 2nd generation Hungarian (his parents were actually from Hungary); he has actually spent quite a bit of time over there, so I may have to start up a chat with him on the subject.
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