#50: Hungary

Lucky #50!

It’s mother’s day weekend and we are tackling our fiftieth country!! It has been raining cats and dogs (and geese and cows– and anything else for that matter. Just buckets.) here in the Mile High City all week. So, for a very soggy mother’s day weekend, we greeted snow and another bye for soccer. It’s something wonderful when everything turns the most incredible shade of emerald though, so we aren’t complaining.

THE DINNER: For mother’s day weekend, mom wanted to take a trip back to Hungary. We went about 5 years ago and while we stayed in Budapest, we ate the most earth-shattering food. For me, Hungarian cuisine was one of my favorites on the whole trip. It was everything wonderful about slow cooked meats and peppery paprika…smothered in sour cream, obviously, and served over noodles. All these things are good by themselves and then to add them together….nirvana. 

So, it goes without saying, that we picked up a few recipes from “the old country” and used these for our meal this week. I have taken a picture of the recipe instead of being able to post a link as usual. The recipe was Chicken Paprikash. And, yes, before you ask, I will confess that I do say it like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally… whether or not that’s proper and dignified, I don’t care. I know Julia Child herself would have had a good laugh about the pepper on her paprikash scene. It’s classic. Speaking of classics, this dish is a staple of Hungarian households. It’s like the pot roast of the Hungarian culture, something that’s made on the weekends when family comes over.

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this Dinner!
All the ingredients were super simple to come about here in the states, save one: Hungarian Paprika. We picked up a package when we were there at the urging of our tour guide, Collette, and that was the smartest thing we’ve done. We use it sparingly and for special recipes just like this one, and it’s lasted all these years. It’s special because it’s “spicy” and more “peppery” than typical sweet paprika you find here. If you can’t come by any, I would suggest increasing the amount of cayenne pepper in the recipe to account for the taste shift. Apart from the frying and being patient, this recipe is pretty simple, as with most Hungarian and eastern European dishes, it’s low fuss– unlike it’s Western European counterparts. Two stars out of five for difficulty. Not to shabby for the pay off.

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Dinner!
Listen. You had me at “sour cream”… let’s be honest. And then you go and add paprika and egg noodles and chicken and stew it all together till it gets “nice and happy” as my mom likes to put it and it’s just lovely. So hard to go wrong. I was a huge fan of the particular noodles we used. They were Hungarian specifically and were made of dumpling flour, which gave them a really unique texture. They were perfect because it was exactly what we ate when we were there. So, for that alone it was very authentic. The peppery paprika added a very subtle background “kick” to the dish that didn’t overpower the chicken or sour cream. It was a very nostalgic meal and it was prefect for mother’s day.

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With the big #50 complete we are heading to South America to spend some time in Peru for week #51! I have always wanted to hike with llamas to the ancient Incan cities and see Manchu Pichu, so I guess till i make it that way, I’ll get to explore all the food that the nation has to offer. I’m definitely looking forward to this one!

Happy Mother’s Day to all your mom’s!
– L & K

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