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Friday, January 13, 2012

Seeing Red...Hungarian Red

I've never really eaten Hungarian food before.  Not because I don't want to, but because I rarely come across anything that is Hungarian...or at least I'm not aware of it if I do.   So, when I came across the recipe in Appetite for Reduction for "Mushroom and Cannellini Paprikas," I decided that it was time to expand my horizons.

That and I kept hearing Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal saying "Paprikash" in that strange accent while they were shopping in a Sharper Image-esque store during "When Harry Met Sally."

Anyone remember that scene?

It really doesn't take much to encourage me to try a new food, obviously.

Anyways, I set out on my Hungarian kitchen pilgrimage and decided to go all out and follow Isa's directions, because, let's all be real here, she knows what she's doing when it comes to Vegan food.  And she recommended pairing the Paprikas with "Scarlet Barley."

If you've been keeping track with my blog, I rarely endeavor to make more than one dish/meal.   Mostly because this stresses me out and ups the likelihood that I spill or overseason or burn or *insert anything that could go wrong in a kitchen*.

There were a few issues with the barley, mostly including the grating of beets.  For those of you who have never done this feat, be forewarned that if you are near the scene of a crime when you are grating said beets, you will need quite a significant and reliable alibi, because I honestly looked like I had slaughtered a cow afterwards.

And I stained my white shirt.

Why I chose to wear a white shirt whilst grating beets is a whole other issue, but don't do it.

Anyways, the Mushroom and Cannellini Paprikas was pretty simple.  We used normal Paprika since I could not find smoked paprika and therefore threw in a little Liquid Smoke.  I also think we had a bad batch of mushrooms because the end result had a strange flavor.  

All in all, this was...interesting.  I'm not a huge dill person, so the superfluous usage of this herb may have been to blame, but I also felt like this dish needed something creamy.  Like sour cream?  Never EVER felt that way about anything before, so that was strange.  I think this may be an acquired taste, but it sure was colorful!

If any of you have a stellar Hungarian recipe that I need to try, please let me know, I'd love to dabble a bit more.

Here's the recipe for the "Mushroom and Cannellini Paprikas" from Appetite for Reduction:

1 small onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
1 (16 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1. Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions in liquid until lightly browned, about 7 minutes (since we're on E2 still, we used broth or water). Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, pepper and salt, cook until lots of moisture has been released, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the wine, broth, smoked paprika, and thyme. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil. Boil for about 3 minutes. Lower the heat and add the beans. Cook to heat through, about 5 more minutes. Use a strong fork to lightly mash some of the beans, to thicken the sauce. Taste for salt and serve.

And here's the recipe for "Scarlet Barley" also from AFR:


2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 beet, grated
Juice of half of lemon
Fresh dill for garnish (optional)



1. Preheat a pot over medium heat. Saute the garlic in a liquid for about 1 minute (since we're on E2 still, we use broth or water). Add several pinches of pepper and the bay leaf. Add the barley and broth, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir and lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. When most of the broth has absorbed, mix in the grated beet. Cook for another 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you need to add a little more liquid, feel free to so the barley doesn’t stick to the pan. It will soak in while continuing to cook, don’t worry.
3. After about 45 minutes of cooking, turn off the heat and mix in the lemon juice. Taste for salt and season as desired. Cover and let sit for another 10 minutes.
4. Remove bay leave and serve. Garnish with fresh dill.


  1. Hey lady, I lived in Hungary last summer and made lots of good Hungarian food, my two faves were Lesco and Mushroom Paprikas (I make it with either soy yogurt or soy sour cream, so obvs I agree with the creamy thing.)

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  3. wow, this are all delicious feast recipes.Its really looking yummy!


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