Veal Paprikash ~ A Taste of Hungary!

A CLASSIC HUNGARIAN dish that combines tender chunks of veal in a rich,  complex and aromatic paprika-cream sauce

Hungarian Paprika

Hungarian Paprika

A PERFECT WINTER DISH! It multiplies well for entertaining and is always a winner! Hungarian Veal paprikas is a stew. Do not mix it up with Hungarian goulash ( gulyás ). Which is a soup.  You will sometimes see Porkolt written, which is the proper Hungarian word for paprikas.
VEAL PAPRIKASH is another great dish you will want to add to your comfort food list. This recipe comes from my glamorous and clever neighbour, whose birthplace is Hungary.  This ‘RECIPE’  hails from a ‘no recipe’ blend…. like many talented chefs! The ingredients are exactly the way that mother made it – back home in Hungary!  Larger quantities are easy to make, when hosting a dinner party. Always a big hit with friends and family. The flavour satisfies many gourmands. My Hungarian neighbor is quite adamant about all the ingredients and the method.  A traditional recipe at home in Hungary. A very popular ‘Heart Healthy’ dish!
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RECIPE
papprika--image2INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons or more olive oil
2 cups diced onions
2 1/2 pounds veal shoulder cut into about one inch or bite sized pieces
2 large tomatoes, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 large or 2 small red peppers, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper to tast

OPTIONAL: A splash of wine.  ( WIne tenderizes the meat. )

INSTRUCTIONS
1. In a heavy cast iron pot place onions and olive oil. Add more olive oil if necessary so that the onions are covered. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the veal and cook for another 5 minutes. IMG_1567
3. Add the other ingredients; tomatoes, paprika, caraway seeds, garlic, and red pepper.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for one hour checking occasionally to make sure it is not boiling. If it is too watery, simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.IMG_1576
Aromatic “Health Smart” Sauce that is incredibly smooth.

OPTIONAL cooking method : Use an enamelled cast iron pot ( with lid on ) in the oven for large quantities. Mix all the ingredients ln top of the stove. Then place in the oven. Set oven temperature to 350F  Check after 1/2 hour. Cook for another 1/2 hour. Ready to plate.  Hint: All ovens are different. Adjust accordingly.

Comfort Food #1

Simply Splendid Comfort Food

FREEZER_freidnly33Serves 8-10. Leftovers are stored in the fridge or freezer or given to friends. A tasty  to take home!
didyouknow2PAPRIKA comes loaded with vitamin A and carotenoids along with vitamin E, iron and lutein. Vitamin A aids in night vision. Carotenoids gives paprika its deep red color plus preventing harmful light rays from damaging the eye tissues. Paprika pairs well with humus (chick peas), carrots, butternut squash and pumpkin soup. Caraway, also known as meridian fennel, or Persian cumin is common in European cooking  for breads, cakes and added to pork roast (Germany, Austria and Hungary)  and in Moroccan dishes.  The  flavor is nutty and bittersweet.

HAT2 FOOD TIP: Use paprika as a salt substitute .  You can add paprika  to  “HOT” roasted potatoes and vegetables, right out of the oven.  FUN STORY:  I got this idea from a seaside shanty.  Hot, curly fries with salt and paprika came out of the kitchen! The  “chef” added it for you.  (without me asking for paprika)   Actually, they were amazing! (If you let the fries cool, even a little bit and add the paprika later ~ it was not the same taste).  Oven veggies: add the paprika the last 5 minutes of baking, before you take them out of the oven to heighten the flavour.  Do the same with roast chicken, scallops and more. CARAWAY seed comes from the parsley family. Grind it up and add it to your  family  coleslaw or potato salad and falafel (add very little ~ to taste).  Caraway spice is a storehouse of minerals attacking free radicals in you body.

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Risotto

With Fall here and the abundance of the wonderful gourds available I think about recipes that can utilize these vegetables to the fullest.  A few years ago when going out to dinner with my serious foodie crowd, I put up my nose when one friend ordered pumpkin risotto for their main course.  We were at one of the city’s most famous Italian restaurants.  We would all have a taste of everyone’s main on our bread plates before  we started.  I was so taken aback that the pumpkin risotto was the best tasting! It was hands down the winning dish!
pumpkinsI have been making it every fall ever since. The flavour is just stunning!  Look for fresh pumpkin already cut and seeded in your grocery store so this recipe is not labour intensive. You would swear that there is butter and cream in this risotto but it is completely absent.  This is partially due to the cooking method as well as the substitution of the classically used arborio rice with CARNAROLI Rice.
It is amazing!  If you do use a fresh whole pumpkin keep the shell to serve pumpkin soup (which you can use canned pumpkin to make), steamed mussels, lamb ragout…. the list goes on. The presentation will be stunning for your Thanksgiving table.

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INGREDIENTS
pumpkin-risotto-322Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups carnaroli rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup apple cider
4 cups vegetable stock
3 cups diced pumpkin
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup walnut pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Heat 4 cups of vegetable stock.  Keep warm.
2.  In a large heavy bottomed pan with high sides, heat oil over medium high heat.   Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.    Sprinkle with salt, about 1/8 teaspoon as the onions become sweet tasting.    This helps to layer the flavours.
3.  Add rice and cook a few minutes longer to coat all rice kernels in oil but not browning.
4. Add wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.
5. Add cider and ladle in hot stock one cup at a time.
6. Add sage and thyme and cook until all liquid is absorbed.
7. Before serving add walnuts, salt and pepper (to taste), olive oil and parmigiano.
pumpkin-risotto33
Most chefs will argue the cooking time should be only 18 minutes. It doesn’t sound like a lot but this is what they all claim. A chef’s school instructor told me that the famous chef who’s pumpkin risotto I fell in love with apparently just lets his risotto sit and cook without stirring and at the end he just gives it a toss. So far, I have been too scared to try this as I have put so many good ingredients in it but I will give it a try and give you a play by play report.                                 This is an excellent vegetarian dish and if you eliminate the wine and cheese, this would make an excellent vegan dish.

HAT2FOOD TIP: Make sure that you buy edible pumpkins and not the ones that are meant for carving.  Pumpkins belong to the winter squash family along with butternut, acorn, spaghetti and others.  The pumpkins that are grown for eating  ( not carving )  are sugar pumpkins, sweet pumpkins, cheese pumpkins, pie pumpkins and some heirloom varieties.

taste-testTASTE TEST: I baked my pie pumpkin in the oven for 60 minutes at 350F.  After it was baked and cooled I opened a tin of pumpkin puree and tasted both of them.  What a difference!  The tinned pumpkin had a muddy taste while the pie pumpkin tasted like candy!  I will never buy tinned pumpkin again!

didyouknow2Pumpkin has many health benefits. They are a great source of carotene which is one of our major antioxidants that helps to protect us against certain kinds of cancer (particularly lung cancer) as well as heart disease. Pumpkin is rich in carotene which helps to manage blood sugar metabolism and aids in the health of the pancreas. Pumpkin contains many vitamins and minerals. It is helpful in the relief of bronchial asthma. and promote the health of the lungs and throat as well. European folk medicine acknowledges pumpkin as a potent remedy in the treatment of respiratory and digestive ailments.