Monday, July 20, 2009

Hungarian Potato Salad


About 20 years ago I made a Hungarian meal made from a library cookbook. An amazing Hungarian meal. That summer we sat on my patio and indulged in Hungarian potato salad and several stews swimming in paprika (and potatoes). It was the kind of meal where you know you are full, but everything tastes so good. Maybe just a little more of this. Maybe just a touch more of that. In Hungary I feel certain that they don't serve that many potato dishes at once and certainly not when it is humid and above 90 degrees and they don't have air conditioning. I can also vividly remember laying on the floor with my sisters in a bedroom watching the ceiling fan go around and trying to ignore the queasy feeling. We lay there for hours without moving. We discussed the amazingness of the meal and how we weren't sure that we would ever want to eat it again.

I wasn't ready to eat that Hungarian food for several years. When I was ready, it was after the great recipe loss of '92 (see my profile). I went to the library to find the cookbook, only to discover it wasn't there. I've tried a few times to make chicken paprikash or goulash. I haven't made anything I would crave yet. If anyone knows of good paprika based recipes, please point me towards them.

I searched the web about a week ago for my Hungarian Potato Salad. There was nothing like it posted anywhere. I did find a sour cream dill sauce that sounded like what was in the original the potato salad. I cobbled this recipe together from my remnants of the old one. I think it's pretty close, if not almost exactly it. In the end, it is really good, but it's probably not worthy of a 20 year quest.

I forgot the parsley, so I estimated the amount. I used 2 T butter and 2 T flour for the roux. It made a sauce that was too thick. I'm guessing 1 T flour should work. Then you should be able to decrease the butter to I tablespoon, unless you need more to fry the onions. Adding a clove or two of garlic might be good as well.

HUNGARIAN POTATO SALAD

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs potatoes

1-2 T butter

1/2 onion, finely chopped (or more)

1 T flour

1/2 c beef stock

1/4 c chopped fresh dill, or maybe even more if you dare

2 T chopped fresh parsley

1/2 c pickles

1/2 c sour cream


FOR THE SALAD:

1. Cover the whole, unpeeled potatoes with 1 inch of water in a stockpot or dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring once or twice to ensure even cooking, until the potatoes are tender (a thin-bladed paring knife or metal cake tester can be slipped into and out of the center of the potatoes with no resistance), 25-30 minutes for medium potatoes, 15-20 minutes for small potatoes.

2. Drain and cool the potatoes, slightly and peel if you like. Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch cubes (or smaller) Use a serrated knife if they have skins. Cut the potatoes while still warm and rinse the knife as needed.

3. Mix the potatoes, pickles, and sauce together. This salad is meant to be served hot. I prefer it cold the next day. This salad may need extra salt.

FOR THE SAUCE

1. Saute the onions in the butter. It is best to do this very slowly to caramelize them. However a quick saute works too. Whisk in the flour with a silicone coated whisk. Cook somewhat to make a roux. Begin slowly whisking in the beef broth. Add a little broth whisk until smooth, repeat. Do this until you've added all the broth. Whisk in the sour cream. Heat through, but do not boil. Stir in the parsley and dill. Now it is ready for the potato salad.

3 comments:

Kristy said...

*sigh*... i saw the words "hungarian potato salad" and before i even read the post, i was lost, remembering that amazing potato meal.

odd, isn't it, to remember a meal so fondly when you also remember overeating to the point of having to lay around on the floor to recover?

also sad how 20 year quests almost never resolve themselves in such a way that you're left thinking, "wow, that 20 year quest was *totally* worth it!"

i might try this... then again, it probably wouldn't ever live up to the memory no matter how good it is. (two words for you: zucato tuscano. :)

Claudia said...

you asked for a place where you might find this recipe for Hungarian Potato Salad. June Myer has several. The one you seem to be trying is the Hot Hung. Potato salad. More than likely she will say bacon greace and bacon. You can google June Myer and see all. Her recipes are from the German side of Hungry. Good Luck. Claudia

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