Recipes of All Nations by Countess Morphy is one of my most treasured possessions. Published in 1935, it was written for the "modern housewife" in America to show her how middle class women from other countries cook with economy, and to lighten the burden of figuring out what to eat every day.
Most surprising to me is the variety of recipes she (Mrs. Morphy? the Countess?) was able to procure. In addition to most of the European countries, there are recipes from Russia, India, China, Japan, Arabia and Persia, Turkey and the Balkans, Greece, Africa, the French West Indies, and South America. There is even a recipe for Pho. She explains that nuoc-man is made from "a kind of brine exuding from decaying fish". Accurate, if not appetizing.
There is so much to try, but last night I began with the section on Hungary. The recipes all seem to hold certain key ingredients in common- paprika, lard, cabbage, sauerkraut, sour cream, potatoes, bell peppers (pimientos), and meats like pork, chicken, and beef. So I bought all those things and tried my first recipe last night.
It was very easy, and everyone liked it. No exceptions. My husband looked up at me with sad eyes, and said, "Will I ever see this again?" Yes. This deserves a spot in the rotation. It wasn't much to look at, however. Sorry the picture is so uninspired, but it would have taken an army to make it look even half as good as it tasted, and I still had dishes to do.
I know Hungarian food doesn't have a reputation for being particularly healthy, and it certainly isn't light, but there are a few features of this meal I feel worth pointing out. Not only was it gluten-free, but the sauerkraut and sour cream are both cultured products if you make them yourself, and sauerkraut is loaded with vitamin C. So no, it's not raw juiced kale, but I promise it tastes better. I served it with boiled buttered potatoes.
Fry the onion in the butter or olive oil. When it has browned, sprinkle in some paprika and the cubed pork. Add just enough water to cover the meat and simmer it until the water has evaporated. Add water repeatedly until the meat is tender it you need to, but I didn't. The point seems to be to make the meat tender without turning this into a soup. Once the meat is tender and most of the water has evaporated, stir in the sauerkraut and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I added in more paprika just to make the color richer. I think up to a tablespoon would be fine.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!