Saturday I was wandering the Great Market with BreAnna and Elise when I spotted a Hungarian cookbook at one of the stalls. Not only have I been looking for a cookbook for the past few weeks, but it was in English! I scanned through it and noted that at least some of the recipes were non-meat. I figured it was enough to warrant purchasing the cookbook. So, for 3,500fts ($16), I acquired my very own Hungarian Cuisine cookbook.
A good 70 percent of the recipes probably include meat, but for some of them I can substitute other ingredients. Besides, BreAnna and I were running out of online recipes because unlike French and Spanish cuisine, Hungarian cuisine is not well known.
As we were perusing the market, I glanced through the cookbook and happened upon a fairly easy recipe. So without further ado, we claimed it for our Sunday night dinner attempt and went about purchasing red onions and sweet paprika. Our recipe of choice was Mushroom Pörkölt (Gombapörkölt).
Ingredients (for 6 servings):
- 3 lb mushrooms (any type or mixed)
- 8 tablespoons oil
- 3 medium red onions
- 1 heaping tablespoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- 6 eggs (if desired)
Even though the recipe called for 6 servings, we planned to have Elise and Clare over, and we figured it would leave us with some extra. Unfortunately, Clare was unavailable, so Elise, BreAnna and I buckled down to the task of cooking 3 lbs of mushrooms. When I went to purchase these mushrooms, I looked up the following conversion: 3lbs = 1,300 grams. Since mushrooms came in a pack of 260grams, we bought 4 packs, and used up the rest of an open pack in our refrigerator.
Step 1: Peel and chop the onions, and chop the mushrooms into slices or wedges. There is nothing like trying to chop 3lbs of mushrooms. Luckily, I wasn’t chopping mushrooms, instead I was crying while slicing onions.
Step 2: Heat the oil in a pot and sauté the peeled, chopped onion in it. It looked silly sautéing the onion in so much oil, but we figured the two huge bowls of mushrooms would soak up the oil.
Step 3: Add the mushrooms, suaté a bit longer. Unfortunately, only one huge bowl of mushrooms ended up in the oil, because our pot wasn’t big enough to hold both bowls of mushrooms. Instead, we put the rest in a second pot and had to douse those mushrooms in their own oil to cook everything at the same time.
Step 4: Mix in the paprika, black pepper, and thyme. After the mushrooms finished cooking they shrunk enough to stuff everything into one pot and add the spicing.
Step 5: Cook over high heat until all the liquid evaporates. We thought the liquid would never evaporate. After 10 minutes we began debating if we should just add the eggs or not. Elise recommended we wait a little longer, and I’m glad we took her advice because eventually we noticed the liquid level in the pot was reducing. Finally, the liquid was nearly gone, so we decided to add the egg. We didn’t let the liquid completely evaporate because 1) we didn’t want the food to burn, 2) we’d added extra oil when we had to sauté our mushrooms in two pots, and 3) we were hungry and didn’t want to wait any longer.
Step 6: Add salt only at the very end, as the mushrooms do not absorb the salt easily and the dish can become overly salty.
Step 7: If you prefer, add the beaten eggs. We did prefer, and we poured in the eggs. After about two minutes, the eggs began cooking. When we poured them in, the eggs turned red, but as they cooked, they turned brown, making the mixture appear to be mushrooms and ground beef instead of mushrooms and eggs.
Step 8: To turn this dish into a paprikash, mix in some sour cream as well at the end. We had no idea what a paprikash was, but we still added two globs of sour cream to the mixture.
Alternative Step: There is an alternative option of preparing the dish with lesco. We decided against this, but you may be interested in attempting it.
- Either add 1 scant cup of lecso at the end or
- Add 2 each of chopped peppers and tomatoes to the onion base at the beginning.
- One bite and lots of nodding. We didn’t want to talk about the food, we wanted to keep eating it.
- The egg looked like ground beef, but luckily wasn’t beef.
- Since we used sweet paprika, it wasn’t hot spicy.
- We could have added more onion, but the red onions we bought were a bit small, instead of medium sized. Next time, we’ll be sure to acquire medium sized onions.
- We probably could have added more sour cream as well, or perhaps none, I wonder how much it affected the taste.
- Overall, it was delicious, and has been one of our favorite meals.
- Between the three of us, we finished all of the dinner. That means we each ate about a pound of cooked mushrooms….. I’m still letting this fact sink into my brain.