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Paprika Hendl

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 15 December 2010 at 14:35

this wonderful and truly fantastic recipe for a true, rustic, winter peasant dish is similar to hungary's csirke paprikás - yet unique in its own right. it was shared with me by john rivera, and i am grateful to him for introducing it to me. it is best enjoyed during the winter because it is so tasty, easy to make, and truly a stick-to-the-ribs cold-weather meal. once you all try it, you'll be hooked, not only for the taste, but for the historical background you have in every bite.

 
when i discovered this treasure and how delicious-yet-easy it was with ingredients that we all commonly have in the kitchen, i was intrigued; i knew it would simply be a matter of time before it was prepared in my kitchen, considering my own european background (germany) and that of my wife's, which is even closer to the region (slovakia). the literary tie-in to bram stoker's dracula was an added bonus, and i will quote it here:
 
Quote We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (mem. get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called "paprika hendl" and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians. I found my smattering of German very useful here; indeed, I don't know how I should be able to get on without it.
 
Photo from Leonard Wolf's Annotated Dracula
 
this took me off on a tangent that brought me to a whole new understanding of this dish, and allowed me to appreciate it even more. i am no trained linguist or etymologist, but i do have some interest in the intersection of languages, words, history and geography. it seemed amazing to me that stoker would write of the german language being so prevalent in a region of what is now romania that seemed to me to be nowhere even close to germany. beyond that, the dish had definite hungarian influences as well, which stand out like a sore thumb (sour cream/flour sauce, beginning the dish with sauteed onions, heavy usage of paprika etc.). my first suspicion was that stoker may have "fudged" facts a little and that he gave us a hungarian dish with a german name (since i knew that hungary has a large german minority and romania has a large hungarian minority), and simply glossed it over. i couldn't have been more wrong, however, and after quick consultation with wiki i realized the error of my ways:
 
Quote There are many different groups of Germans in Romania, the largest of whom have historically been known as the Transylvania Saxons. Germans once constituted a much larger portion of the Romanian population than they do today, though they are still the fourth largest ethno-linguistic group.
 
this makes perfect sense and of course stoker would have known this, since any well-educated person who even traveled out of his hometown back in those days would have been familiar with the breakdown of the various ethnic groups within the austro-hungarian empire. serbians, moldavians, slovaks and other groups that seem obscure-yet-recognizable to us today would have been as familiar to him as the bohemians and moravians (czechs), polish and lithuanians - none were major groups with their own sovereign boundaries (at the time), but they all were significant minorities within a larger empire, along with wallachians, transylvanians and many more that i can't even think of at the moment.
 
this explained the vestigal usage of the german language as evidenced by the austro/german hendl as well as the name for the village, klausenburgh. now, all that was left was to tie in to the hungarian cooking influences. a little more digging confirmed this, as i learned that there was a significant intersection of the hungarian populations with the german populations in - you guessed it - transylvania.
 
on the map below, note the location of transylvania (home of the "transylvanian saxons") and the location of the western portion of the carpathian mountains (separate from the eastern chain that runs south and curves to the west):
 
 
also, note that the modern, romanian name for klausenburgh is cluj-napoca (right above the second A in transylvania), and it is in fact the capital of the province of transylvania in romania. much information on the hungarian connection to klausenburgh/cluj-napoca from wiki can be found by clicking the embedded link in the modern name
 
on the map below, the same location is in very close proximity to the small pokets of hungarian minority populations (in green). in fact, the location of cluj-napoca is, as far as i can tell, right smack in one of the green pockets.
 
 
 
 
it was beginning to gel for me, and consultation of the linguistic demographics of romania made it clear:
 
Quote Hungarian is the largest minority language in Romania....This minority largely lives in Transylvania, which was part of the Kingdom of Hungary until 1918 (Northern Transylvania was part of Hungary again between 1940 and 1947) though there are Hungarian speaking minorities in other parts of the country as well.
 
it was here that the lightbulb came on and i realized what i should have known all along: that transylvania in stoker's time was associated with hungary and not with romania, which didn't incorporate transylvania until after world war one.
 
it all fit beautifully - at least, it fit close enough so that i was convinced of its plausibility. stoker knew his stuff and i happily acknowledged that i had been schooled. this is a truly transylvanian dish, with hungarian origins, and the german name of the dish is a result of the fact that it was prepared by people of austro-hungarian descent; said dish was eaten by traveling guests who were looking out the window of a hotel (located in a town with saxon origins) at the carpathian mountains in what is now the romanian province of transylvania.
 
i should have thought of this, since the town where my wife's family emigrated from (zakarovce) was also part of the hungarian empire and many hungarian traditions persist, even though it is now in slovakia. since it was proven to be a transylvanian dish and transylvania will always be transylvania, whether it is part of the ancient hungarian empire or the modern state of romania, it can be at home in either section; however, being the historian that i am, i reverted to history and placed it in hungary. Wink
 
so, set straight and inspired, i decided to give this a go, using john's recipe to the letter:
 
Quote
  • Up to 2 chickens, cut up, or equivalent (i used eight thighs plus six legs)
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • About 9 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 Quarts tomato juice or V8 (preferred)
  • 24 Oz container of sour cream
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 2 TSP salt
  • 1 TSP pepper
  • 7 or 8 heaping tablespoons Hungarian Sweet Paprika.
  • 4 or 5 TBSP chicken fat, butter or olive oil

for this recipe, rendered chicken fat is best. if you choose not to use that, then butter is the next best alternative. olive oil will work, but results will not be as good.

if you choose to skin the chicken, browning is not necessary or desireable; simply render the fat from the skin or heat some butter or olive oil, and proceed to cooking the onions.
 
if you leave the skin on, brown chicken in a small amount of butter or olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven; set aside in a covered dish and remove all but 4 to 5 tablespoons of rendered chicken fat.
 
add diced onions to skillet/dutch oven; slowly cook the onions over medium heat until they just begin to carmelise; then add the garlic and sweat it out for a minute or three. before the garlic can brown, remove pot from heat, add salt and pepper and stir in half the paprika. stir everything together off the heat until the paprika begins to release its oils and darken, then add all but a cup or two of the V-8 juice. stir to mix, then return to heat and bring just to the beginings of a simmer. place chicken back in the pot, pouring the released juices all over. heat to a simmer, then cover and simmer the chicken in the sauce for about an hour, or until chicken is done but not falling off the bone. remove chicken from pot and keep covered so it stays warm.
 
beat flour and remaining paprika into sour cream, reserving a small amount of sour cream for serving. gently fold sour cream mixture into the sauce, stirring with a whisk to fully incorporate. bring to a simmer in order to cook the flour into the sauce and thicken it. if sauce becomes too thick, add remaining V8 juice and stir. return the chicken to the pot, cover and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes to heat throughout. taste and adjust for seasoning.
 
serve with dumplings, noodles or potatoes done your favourite way; top chicken and side dish with a few small dots of sour cream.
 
next, i'll post pictures from my preparation of this, as well as reactions from the family and a couple of the neighbour kids, who always seem to show up at supper time these days.....
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 December 2010 at 16:33
Wow, what a magnificent and detailed introduction to your making of paprika hendl, Ron! I've taken the time to read each one of your wiki-links, and of course each one engenders dozens more, all of which I want to read and find fascinating. One of the small detours I took was learning about the "Cumans", those warlike steppe people from the Northern coasts of the caspian and black seas the transylvanian saxons had to guard against.
 
In all, so much excellent history here, and I so plan on revisiting the links. Thanks for them Thumbs Up
 
For now, looking forward to your making of the dish and plated results!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 December 2010 at 09:25
john - the research on this one was a true pleasure and taught me quite a few things. i went from wondering what the heck stoker was thinking (putting a hungarian dish with a german name in a town with a german name, then putting both in romania!) to really appreciating hsi knowledge of the area.
 
the deeper i dug, the more impressed i was with the intricate layers that stoker put for me to find, all these years later. stoker himself may or may not have been aware of these layers - it is probable that either he or an acquaintence had simply heard of or maybe even had eaten paprika hendl in that town or area, and that experience ended up in the book. maybe his housekeeper was from clausenburgh - who knows?
 
it would be interesting to know where that little excerpt came from and how it ended up in the book, but it is a perfdect tie-in that reaches way back into transylvania's past and form a brick in the foundation of what is to come in the story.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 December 2010 at 10:57
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

....it would be interesting to know where that little excerpt came from and how it ended up in the book, but it is a perfdect tie-in that reaches way back into transylvania's past and form a brick in the foundation of what is to come in the story.
You know, I don't recall The Annotated Dracula mentioning why other than the key point of the book is that it is a diary of a man (a lawyer) traveling to a Count's home to execute some legal matters. Being a diary the start of the novel is the travel from England all the way east to Transylvania. Back in those days travel was a very big deal, and the scenery and changes from England were sure worthy to add mood to the book. I do remember that if you think about his voyage east, it becomes darker and darker as he closes in on Castle Dracula. Klausenberg was the last stop before the Castle, if I remember right so the mood had to be really foreboding and "different" from what he was accustomed to, and what better way to exposition than to use food as a device?
 
Now you got me wanting to read both the novel and the annotated again! Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 December 2010 at 23:14
this one was a pleasure to make, and was enjoyed by all. it definitely will be made again and i encourage any interested person to try it, for you will not be disappointed!
 
The ingredients are simple and straightforward, and as all country-peasant dishes end up being, truly a nourishing delight to eat. Here a shot of the goods needed, except for the chicken (and of course, the fat rendered from the chicken) - all prepped and ready:

A note on Paprika: use Hungarian paprika for this dish, not smoked paprika or Spanish pimentón de la Vera; doing so might produce an excellent-tasting dish, but it would give an entirely different flavour profile and not be true to the Hungarian origins of the dish. I recommend authentic Hungarian paprika, and the brand that I really enjoy is called "Pride of Szeged," but even if you can only find plain, old, non-specific PAPRIKA in your grocery aisle, it will work very well.
 
A note on chicken: I prefer chicken leg quarters for this dish. You can make the recipe with the leg quarters as-is, or just drumsticks, or just thighs. They all work just fine. You can also use a whole chicken cut up, but the white meat never seems to incorporate the depth of taste like the dark meat does, and the wings tend to fall apart into bits by the time it is done. 
 
The diced onions will need to be browned in some kind of fat. The best flavor this dish gets is from the rendered fat from the thigh's skin. If you prefer not to use chicken fat, there are options. Butter is the next best thing; use about 1/2 stick and you'll make a delicious dish. You can also use an equivalent amount of olive oil, but it never seems to taste as good as the butter or chicken fat versions. I think it is because the olive oil never quite emulsifies in the sauce as well as the butter or chicken fat does. It's not bad, just not as good as the other two versions. It goes without saying that pork fat (and - in particular - bacon fat) will work extremely well with this traditional Hungarian meal.
 
Let's get started! If you skin your chicken, or if you bought skinless chicken, you do not want to pre-brown it; just set the pieces aside and start rendering the fat from the skin, if you have it. If you choose not to skin your chicken, then begin the dish by browning the chicken pieces in batches to render the fat. Brown the skin over medium heat, gently, until it is brown and cunchy-looking, then set the pieces aside until after you add the V8 juice. Here we are, rendering the chicken fat from the skin:

Since taking the photo above, I've found that this step works better if you cut up the skin into smaller pieces; it also gives you nicer chicken "cracklin's that you can use in otehr dishes or as a topping/garnish for this dish. You want to render the fat at a fairly moderate heat - it's better for the heat to be a little too low, rather than too high, so that you can render the fat without burning the skin, which would ruin a lot of good flavour. Also, some people like to reserve the "cracklings" from the skin when rendering is complete, and serve them as a garnish or as a special treat of their own. This can't be done if the skin is burnt, of course. I chose not to do reserve the cracklings, but did give a few to the pets, and they seemed to like them.

As you can see from this picture, quite a bit of fat is rendered from the skin:


 
The greenish colour, aside from being kind of cool, is simply a result of the yellow fat being in a blue bowl. As you can see, the fat is clear and ready to be used for this dish and, presumably, any other chicken-based dish that you might want to cook in the near future.

Save about 4 or 5 tablespoons of fat and discard the rest; this is plenty for all the onions and garlic. Add it back to the Dutch oven:

alternately, i could have kept the skins on and rendered the fat from the chicken pieces as they browned, but i wanted to leave the skins out of the final dish, hence the removal and rendering of the skins. this step, whether with pork, poultry or any other rendered animal fat, is a hallmark of hungarian cooking. you can skip this step if you like and use butter, olive oil or even canola oil, if you want, but you will miss out on some of the subtle joys and authenticity of this dish, and also a nice, deep layer of goodness. this was the first time i had ever rendered fat from chicken for cooking; it was quite easy and while i am sure it is not nearly as healthy as canola oil, the depth of flavour was amazing. some of the benefits of using the chicken skin for the fat are : A) it is most authentic, B) it is a lot cheaper than butter or olive oil, C) it tastes better, and D) you get all those dark browned bits of chicken skin stuck to the bottom of the pot, that scrape up so nicely as you brown the onions and add so much to the flavor of the final dish.
 
Once most of the fat is removed from the dutch oven, it is heated and then the onions are added. Here we are, sweating them out:
 
 
i read somewhere that in hungarian cooking, the onions are slowly sautéed just to the point where they are on the verge of carmelising, about like this:

This is another step that you want to do rather slowly over moderate heat; the idea is to get the onions just to the point where they release their sugars and add a rich depth and subtle sweetness to a dish. This may take up to 15 or 20 minutes, but is wirth the time invested. Usually, it is a moment or two before they start to turn brown; consequently, it takes a little bit of experience to judge how much cooking of the onions is enough. In Hungary, great pride is taken in slow-carmelisation of onions as the foundation of a good meal, and it is one of the things that will make your Hungarian dining experience a truly authentic one.

a couple-three minutes later, i removed the dutch oven from the heat (this is important, so as not to scorch the garlic and paprika) and added the garlic cloves (which i had forgotten to leave whole and ended up chopping) as well as the salt and pepper:
 
 
it was here that i decided that i probably retained a little too much fat in the dutch oven after rendering, and made a note to use less next time (see note above).
 
i then added half the paprika, stirring to mix well until it turned a nice, brick-red colour and the mess in the pan got stick. This is normal and exactly what you want. You want to be sure to do this off the heat, so as not to scorch the paprika. I then added about four-fifths of the bottle of V8 juice:
 
 
you might be thinking, where did one find v8 juice in 19th-century klausenburgh? i wondered that myself, until i realized that v8 is simply tomatoes, which would have been available at any market or garden, and vegetable stock, which would have been the base of many, many dishes (including this one, presumably), especially once combined with the juices of the chicken to make what is essentially a tomato-infused chicken stock - quite plausible.
 
using the v8 juice as a de-glazing liquid, i returned the dutch oven to the heat and scraped the brown bits of chicken (left over from the rendering) off the bottom. save the last fifth of the bottle of juice, in case you need to thin down the sauce at the end. When everything was stirred well, i added the chicken thighs and legs, settling them into the sauce, and then reduced the heat to low, for simmering.
 
here's how everything looked just as i was putting the heavy lid of the dutch oven down:
 
 
do not peek, stir or otherwise distrub the chicken - just let it cook! after an hour of simmering to cook the chicken pieces, here's the first thing we saw when we lifted the lid:
 
 
check the pieces to make sure tehy are done by inserting a sharp knife into the thickest part of the thigh. the juices should run out clear, not pink or cloudy. if they need more cooking, set the lid back on and let them simmer for another 15 minutes or a half hour. luckily, these were done, so after carefully removing all of the chicken thighs and legs:
 
 
we took a look at the wonderful, rich sauce that was forming.:
 
 
it was a true treasure, but this is hungarian cooking, so there was another step that would ensure a creamy richness to this dish.
 
Put the heat up to medium, and beat the flouor into the sour cream; a wire whisk is the most efficient way, but a wooden spoon will work, also. i've even used a stand mixer, which is ponderous but gives the best results - but in truth, any of these will work. Please do not ever make this with low-fat or fat-free sour cream - it doesn't mix well and there is no comparing the final flavour.
 
After stirring the flour into the sour cream (this is a really bad picture, but it was the best i had):
 
 
we folded the sour cream and flour into the sauce. i immediately realized that i should have mixed the flour in more thoroughly, perhaps with a wire whisk:
 
 
but before long the sour cream melted into creamy richness and the flour incorporated itself into the sauce just fine. You then want to simmer the sauce for a few minutes, in order to cook the flour into the gravy. this is important, so you do not end up tasting raw flour in your final dish.
 
Once that was done, I then added the remaining paprika (which probably could just as easily have been added and incorporated to the sour cream/flour mixture):
 
 
Once the paprika was stirred into the sauce and well-blended, I brought the pot back to a simmer over medium heat and returned the chicken pieces to the dutch oven:
 
 
the picture does not quite do justice to the wonderful, old-world goodness that was bubbling in that pot. the flash brightens the sauce far too much, and the chicken was sinking to the bottom, making it hard to look as good as it really was - but no matter, because the smells were making up for it.
 
After 5 or 10 minutes of simmering, adjust for seasoning (salt, pepper etc.). If the gravy is too thick, use some of the reserved V8 juice in order to thin it out. In our case, it turned out perfectly, so no need.
 
We prepared the plates and served the meal with mashed potatoes. The diced onions are well cooked - but still holding their shape - and they settle at the bottom of the pot, so make sure you scoop deep to get some of those wonderful onions and garlic, too. You can also dot the chicken with some sour cream and sprinkle on a bit of fresh parsley for some pretty garnish, if you choose, but please keep things simple; no manner of gussying up or fancy tricks is going to improve this ur-recipe. It is just right, because of the simplicity of it!
 
About side dishes, traditionally and most authentically, this dish would primarily be served with dumplings or boiled potatoes; it is a simple rustic peasant dish and that is most likely what a poor peasant would have available. Those better off, or the kitchens of an inn may have served it over flat noodles. You can of course serve it with noodles, dumplings, pasta or with potatoes prepared in any way you desire - we simply prefer mashed potatoes, using the wonderful sauce as a rich, savory gravy, but the truth is that boiled or roasted potatoes - which could be found in any hearth or at any inn - would probably be much more authentic, and you can mash them with your forks on the plate to help get every bit of that delicious gravy at the end.
 
This is my favourite of the plated pictures, because it shows just how dark, warm and savory the sauce was:
 
 
as i said before, too many times the flash would wash this deep richness out:
 
 
but no worries, this one was a definite keeper!
 
i served this to the beautiful mrs. tas, who actually said she enjoyed it, to my pleasure and surprise - and also to our four children, who all were pretty enthusiastic about it and had no complaints. also, two friends of the boys were over and they also enjoyed this meal. it seems that whenever i am cooking, they show up for supper, which is alright.
 
 
the two mistakes i encountered while making this were that i did not remove more chicken fat after rendering, and that i did not mix the sour cream/flour mixture better before adding to the pot. neither of these errors hurt the dish; however, correcting them will certainly result in a better experience next time.
 
in all, this was definitely a do-again meal and a complete success, reaching back a hundred-and-fifty years or so into the dark hollows of the carpathians and the fascinating heritage that is a mixture of german, transylvanian and hungarian traditions. i would encourage anyone who wants to appreciate true old-world dining to give this simple meal a try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 December 2010 at 05:23
Well, your background research, process and plating were extraordinary, Ron Clap Sure glad to hear your whole family and smaller guests liked it. I agree with you in that it is one fine example of delicious old-world cooking. The story's tie in sure makes good meal-time conversation too. Outstanding post!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote got14u Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 December 2010 at 08:17
I tell ya I love me some hungarian dishes....I have a friend from Hungry and the dishes his mother would make were always amazing....I will give this a shot for sure....thanks Ron.

And I love the history lesson as well. I think we tend to forget that Hungry use to be a lot bigger then it was. Lots of history in that country.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 December 2010 at 17:36
That looks SO good!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 December 2010 at 03:23
This is on my list to do before the winter is out!
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 December 2011 at 09:32
hey, dave - were you ever able to give this a try? it can't be beat!
 
in fact, it looks like we have another paprika hendl convert. after psoting my results from my preparation of dracula's 2011 paprika hendl dinner party on another forum (www.handloadersbench.com), a member there named SavageShooter gave it a try, using boneless/skinless chicken, a little hot pepper powder and roasted potatoes for a side - here is what he had to say:
 
Quote I had to adjust the amount because it was just the wife and I eating. Great dish, we both loved it. Although, I felt like it was missing something...needed something else. Could be that my calculations were off when dividing up the ingredients. Regardless, I enjoyed it and I'm going to make it again until I get it nailed down.
 
 
Simmering pot:
 
 
Just before it got devoured:
 
 
Boneless/Skinless was a good option since wife watches what she eats, but I think I'd have gone
the whole chicken route if I could have. :wink:
 
I'm thinking it will be a regular in my home. (wife was busting my chops for taking photos while I was cooking):wink:
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote urs-vie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 January 2012 at 14:56

Paprika Hendl is an "Austro-Hungarian" dish! The German word "Hendl" is typically Austrian.


Most likely the dish "Paprika Hendl" -- even today still a very common dish in Vienna and all over Austria -- was a dish prepared throughout the whole Austro-Hungarian Empire. In Bram Stokers time he capital of the Empire was Vienna (and Budapest at times), so a lot of german language was spoken throughout the empire, and former regions such as "Siebenbürgen", where Klausenburg was located.


The different cuisines of the multinational empire merged over the centuries, which developed into traditional dishes that still parallel today in the Hungarian, Austrian, and Slovak cuisines, just to name a few. 


The etymology of the word "Hendl" has its origin in Vienna/Austria. 


Goulash has originated in Hungary, and "Paprika Hendl" resembles very much a goulash, especially with its use of "Hungarian Paprika". So that would put the dish "Paprika Hendl" into the Austro-Hungarian tradition.


By the way: I am about to make a Paprika Hendl right now... Grew up with it (in Vienna), it's definitely a fantastic  comfort food!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 January 2012 at 15:04
hello, urs-vie, and welcome to our forum!
 
thank you very much for your excellent information - often, we are limited to what we can find in books (or on google), and we always enjoy learning from someone who is actually there. we are grateful for any insight you can provide, and hope that we can return some information to you as well.
 
very pleased to "meet" you, and we look forward to hearing about the results of your dish! if you are able to post a picture, p[lease do so!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2012 at 11:56
I'm attempting to make a crockpot version of Paprika Hendl. I suspect I'm in way over my head.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2012 at 13:06
Melissa, there is no reason this shouldn't work in a slow cooker. It is, when all is said and done, a braised dish. And slow cookers are ideal for them. Just watch your timing; I'm guessing no more than six hours on low.
But we hae meat and we can eat
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2012 at 13:20
An incredible research job, Ron. You done good.
 
One of the things it highlights, when doing research, is that you have to look at the when, as well as the where and who. Romania post WW I is not the same place it was in the late 19th century. Hungary after the Russian invasion was not the same Hungary that was part of a vast empire that ruled much of Europe.
 
The format of Stoker's book is not all that unusual, as it follows the usual pattern of British travelers. They recorded all sorts of data; scenery, and customs, and foodways encountered along the way. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Stoker actually made the trip from England to Romania, in the form of first-hand research, and that much of the book comes from his own diary.
 
One thing we find, because of this penchant to record minutia, is that journals, dairies, and logs are often the best source of food and cooking info; much better, in fact, then contemporary cookbooks. One reason being that they not only recorded what they ate, they commented on it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2012 at 13:32
As manager of a traveling theater company, Stoker visited quite a number of countries, but he never made it to Eastern Europe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2012 at 13:48
I've never eaten anything with paprika that I know of, so if it's not authentic I won't be able to tell. I just hope I like paprika. ;)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2012 at 14:12
Melissa, if you like this dish as you make it, then you'll like anything with paprika.
 
If the paprika flavor dominates too much, just add some more sour cream, which will cut it.
 
Also keep in mind that once you get away from Mezo-Europe, paprika is used in considerably smaller quantities. A typical Hungarian dish might call for 5-8 tablespoons, whereas an American dish might only use a single tablespoon.
But we hae meat and we can eat
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Mead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2012 at 14:31
All I knew was that it smelled good in the container. ;) Well, we'll see!

I've seen it sprinkled on deviled eggs, but that's about it, and I'm not a boiled-egg fan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2012 at 14:52
What's not to smell good?
 
Come what may, (add in best melodramatic Cherman accent) ve vill hexpect ein complete report on ze results!
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