Tag: Spain

Legendary Dishes | Marmitako (Basque fish stew)

BASQUE SPAIN

Marmitako is a traditional Basque fish stew, with all the flavours of the region – land, valley and sea, and generally prepared in an earthenware pot, and baked. We are slow-cooking it on top of the stove.

  • 1 kg fresh tuna, cut into 2 cm dice
  • 1 kg potatoes, cut into 2 cm dice
  • 800 g tomatoes, chopped small
  • 600 ml fish broth 
  • 400 g onions, sliced thin
  • 5 pimientos / red peppers, cut in strips
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh green herbs (lovage, marjoram, parsley, thyme), chopped small
  • 30 g smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Dried marjoram, large pinch

Sauté onion in the olive oil in a large heavy-based pot over medium heat for 10 minutes, add garlic, fry for three minutes. Add peppers and tomatoes, increase heat and reduce for five minutes until the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pot. Add tuna and salt. Brown the fish, then pour in the stock and wine. Cook for five minutes, add potatoes, paprika, bay leaves and dried marjoram, bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked, about 30 minutes. Add herbs.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Chillies | Marjoram | Paprika | Potatoes | Red Peppers | Tuna

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Condiments | Red Pepper Paste

EUROPE SPAIN TURKEY
  • 4 red bell / long peppers, washed
  • 30 g paprika flakes (optional)
  • 15 ml olive oil

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a baking tray with the oil. Place peppers on the tray, bake in oven for 25 minutes, until the peppers have wilted and the skin and seeds are easily. When cool liquidise the softened peppers. For a deeper flavour add paprika flakes. Store in fridge or in sterilised jars.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Paprika | Red Peppers

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Legendary Dishes | Ajoarriero (cod fish, tomato and pepper stew)

Piquillo Peppers
SPAIN

Traditionally associated with mule drovers on the trade route between Bilbao in the Basque Country, Pamplona in Navarre and Zaragoza in Aragón, this was a simple dish that evolved with local ingredients – salt-dried cod, crab, garlic, green and red peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. Nowadays ajoarriero is a rich sauce made with variations of indigenous chilli, the choricero, lamuyo, palermo and piquillo peppers, and garlic and tomatoes. Ironically the traditional salt-cod is losing favour to air-dried cod from Norway, because it is less expensive and salt-free. The original ajoarriero was suffused with pungent local garlic that gave the dish its name but the plentiful green and red peppers were of equal importance. Cooked in a clay pot over an oven fire, ajoarriero was a communal affair, the amount of garlic depended on the number of diners. Each plate contained a scrambled mess of cod, garlic, peppers, tomatoes and beaten egg. Crab was a favourite ingredient in some areas. In other areas potatoes were added. Nothing remotely like a sauce. The introduction of lobster and shrimp to replace crab was a 20th century invention. Ajoarriero remains a dish of the Basque Country and Navarre, where it is continually being reinterpreted by local chefs.

  • 1 kg dried / salt cod, soaked 24 hours with three water changes
  • 750 g tomatoes, chopped
  • 350 g piquillo peppers
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 6 choricero peppers, soaked, roasted, peeled, chopped
  • 125 ml olive oil
  • 125 g onions, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 g sugar
  • Parsley, large pinch

Remove skin from cod, chop into small pieces. In a saucepan sauté four cloves of garlic and piquillo peppers in oil over a low heat for ten minutes. In a deep frying pan, sauté remaining garlic, onion and green peppers, add tomatoes, cook for 15 minutes, add cod skin pieces, cook for ten minutes over a medium heat. Stir cod and choricero peppers into the tomato mixture, season with parsley, salt (if using air-dried cod) and pepper.  Simmer for a further ten minutes over a very low heat.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Choricero Peppers | Piquillo Peppers | Salt-Dried Cod

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Legendary Dishes | Poulpe à la Galicienne (octopus Galician-style)

FRANCE SPAIN

The common denominators in this delicate dish are chillies, garlic, olive oil, paprika, potatoes and octopus, preferably the oceanic delicacy fished off Galicia, with the emphasis on the regional d’Espelette and la Vera peppers, along with local new garlic and local new potatoes, and sea salt (flor de sal).

This is one of the quintessential dishes made with sustainable local produce and products.

If you live in Galicia or neighbouring regions that is no problem. For the rest of us we must hope we can source fresh d’Espelette chillies and hot and smoked La Vera paprika, and find firm summer potatoes like charlotte and ratte.

Everything else is a bonus, so we are adding some fresh mint and some fresh blackberries, just to give it a sweet-sour-spicy flavour.

2 kg octopus, blanched in salted water, cooked in light fish stock, cut into 1 cm thick slices
1 kg new potatoes, small, cooked whole, halved
100 g blackberries
30 ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
4 pimentón d'Espelette, chopped / fresh red chillies, mild
15 g smoked sweet paprika
1 tbsp (10 g) fresh mint, chopped
5 g smoked hot paprika
5 g sea salt

Heat a little of the oil, gently sauté the garlic in a large frying pan. After two minutes, add remaining oil, octopus slices and potato halves, heat through, add the chillies, blackberries and mint, coat with paprika, season with salt. Remove from heat.

Alternatively omit the garlic, dress the octopus slices and potato halves with paprika and oil, stir in the chillies, blackberries and mint, season to taste and heat through in a low oven for about 15 minutes.

This dish can also be eaten cold.


INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Flor de Sal | Octopus | Paprika |

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Legendary Dishes | Moros y Cristianos (black beans and white rice)

CUBA | CARIBBEAN | SPAIN

Although the basic ingredients remain the same between the two coasts of the Atlantic, Cuba and the Caribbean in the west and Portugal, Spain and western Africa in the east, the methods vary considerably. Some cooks prefer to cook beans and rice separately, a method common on the Iberian peninsua. In the Americas the beans are pre-cooked in an aromatic stock and finished in the rice. And, of course, in Africa and in the Caribbean hot chillies are an essential ingredient, a dash of hot paprika by comparison in Iberia. Bacon is added in some versions. And in many versions the bean-ratio is 1:1, usually those where the rice is cooked separately and served with the beans to leave the diner with task of mixing the two together – a symbolic gesture that embraces the name of the dish.

  • 900 ml ham hock stock
  • 750 ml water
  • 300 g medium grain rice
  • 200 g black beans, soaked overnight
  • 200 g (2) onions
  • 2 long sweet peppers / bell peppers, sliced thin along length
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed, chopped
  • 30 ml olive oil / vegetable oil
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, cut into thin strips / 5 g hot paprika 
  • 5 g marjoram / oregano leaves, chopped fine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, large pinch
  • Water for soaking beans

Place the beans in a pot with the water, bring to the boil, remove scum. Drain the water and add the beans to another pot with one of the onions, quartered, two garlic cloves, the bay leaf and the hock stock. Cook until the beans are almost cooked, about 65 minutes. Strain and retain the cooking liquid. In a large deep pot fry the remaining onion and garlic with the chilli or paprika and peppers, about five minutes over a high heat, stirring constantly. Add the herbs and rice, coat in the mixture. Add 550 ml of the cooking liquid. Bring to a low boil, add beans, bring back to a low boil. Remove from heat, cover and cook over a low heat until the rice is almost dry, but has not stuck to the bottom of the pot.

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Legendary Dishes | Trinxat (bacon, cabbage and potato)

ANDORRA | BASQUE COUNTRY | CATALONIA 

Seasonal potatoes, winter cabbage and smoked pork lard give this dish from Baix Cerdanya in the north of Catalonia at the Pyrénées border with France a resounding stamp of approval for the local food tradition. The trinxat festival at Puigcerdà [www.puigcerda.cat] celebrates that tradition every February and establishes the dish firmly in the province, but its fame is widespread, throughout Catalonia, in the Basque region and up in Andorra. In Baix Cerdanya, trinxat is made with the indigenous leafy green cabbage and this gives the dish its distinctive flavour. Trinxat made with the tight-packed cabbage found elsewhere is passable but the traditional dish is made with the local cabbage … and the local potatoes and local pork. Traditionally trinxat is finished in a large frying pan, but we are breaking with tradition by finishing it in the oven.

  • 1.5 kg green cabbage, shredded
  • 1.5 kg potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 500 g smoked bacon, cubed
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 60 g smoked pork lard
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed, chopped
  • 5 g salt

Preheat oven to 220ºC. Boil four litres of water, with a large pinch of salt, in a large pot. Add the cabbage, cook for five minutes, then add the potatoes and remaining salt, cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, and mash. Heat the olive oil with the lard in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry garlic for two minutes, remove with a slotted spoon to a warm plate. Fry the bacon cubes until golden, transfer to plate. Grease a large baking tray with smoked pork lard. Spoon the mash into the tray, level with a spatula, bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the garlic and bacon evenly across the surface, heat for a further five minutes.

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Legendary Dishes | Merluza en Jamón Serrano (hake in ham)

SPAIN

This Galician delicacy is another of those sublime culinary marriages. A slice of thin ham is either stuffed into or wrapped around the fish fillet, flour and egg coated, then shallow or deep fried.

  • 8 hake fillets
  • 8 serano ham slices
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 60 g white wheat flour
  • Milk (optional)
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt (optional)
  • Olive oil, for shallow frying Sunflower oil, for deep frying

Salting the fillets for an hour or soaking them in milk for half an hour brings out the flavour of the hake. For the shallow method cut a slit in each fillet and stuff with the ham. For the deep fry method wrap a slice of ham around the fillet and secure with a toothpick. Whatever your choice drench the fillets in the flour seasoned with black pepper, then the egg. Fry until the hake takes on a golden colour.

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Legendary Dishes | Gallina en Pepitoria (chicken in almond sauce)

SPAIN

The traditional savoury almond dish of the Spanish regions.

  • 2 kg chicken, divided into breast, leg, thigh pieces
  • 500 ml fish stock
  • 225 ml sherry
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 125 g onions, chopped
  • 100 g almonds, roasted, ground
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled yolk
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 15 g flour
  • 10 g parsley
  • 1 tsp saffron, ground
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Black Pepper, pinch
  • Oil, for frying

Heat oil in a large frying pan, brown chicken pieces, set aside. Sauté garlic and onion in the same oil over a low heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, add wine and incorporate for five minutes. Replace chicken pieces, add bay leaf, pepper and parsley, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove lid, cook for 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, take out chicken pieces and keep warm. Mix egg yolk into almonds, stir into frying pan, heat for five minutes. Season with salt, garnish with saffron. Serve chicken with sauce.

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Legendary Dishes | Empanadas (large pies)

SPAIN | ARGENTINA

This quantity makes four large half-moon crimped pies.

Dough

  • 300 g white wheat flour
  • 60 g butter
  • 60 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 1 egg
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 15 g yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, whisked, for wash

Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Sieve flour into a large bowl, add salt, the egg, butter and olive oil. Work the mixture to form a crumble, add yeast mixture, knead into a soft smooth dough. Leave to rise for an hour, degas.

Filling – Meat

  • 1 litre water, boiling
  • 500 g beef / veal, minced
  • 500 g onions, sliced thin
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, chopped into small pieces
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 5 g red chillies, chopped
  • Salt, large pinch

Sauté onions and chillies in oil over a low heat for about 15 minutes. Pour the hot water over the meat, strain.

Filling – Vegetable

  • 350 g potatoes, cooked, cut into large pieces
  • 2 long red peppers, sliced
  • 100 g carrot, grated
  • 100 g green peas
  • 50 g onions, puréed
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 15 g sweet paprika
  • 5 g hot smoked paprika
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch

Heat the oil over a high heat, add red peppers, cook until they begin to soften, add the carrots. Cook for five minutes, add the onion purée, the hot paprika and half of the sweet paprika. Reduce heat, cook through, about three minutes. Spoon the mixture into a bowl, add the peas and potatoes, seasonings and remaining sweet paprika, leave to cool. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll first piece into a 20 cm round, place a quarter of the filling on the round, fold over and crimp. Place on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Coat each pie with an egg wash. Leave for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 210ºC. Bake for 30 minutes.

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Legendary Dishes | Cocido Catalan (chickpea, meat and vegetable casserole)

SPAIN | CENTRAL AMERICA | SOUTH AMERICA

The slow-cooked casserole of the Iberian peninsula was once an elaborate affair consisting of three dishes. The first dish was vermicelli served in the clear stock from the long cooking of meat bones. It was followed by a dish of beans and vegetables cooked in the stock. The third dish contained meats slow-cooked in the stock. This is a basic version of the modern cocido Catalan.

1 litre water
650 g potatoes, peeled, cut into large pieces
600 g red peppers, sliced
500 g chorizo, skinned, chopped thickly
500 g plum tomatoes, mashed
400 g white beans / chickpeas, soaked overnight in bread soda, boil until tender (or pre-cooked, available in jars)
300 g onions, chopped
15 ml olive oil
15 g Spanish sweet smoked paprika
5 g bouillon powder
5 g saffron, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
5 g black pepper
Salt, pinch

Put tomatoes, water and bouillon into a pot and bring to the boil, simmer for 15 minutes until tomatoes break up. Combine beans, chorizo, onions, paprika, peppers, potatoes and seasonings into a deep casserole dish, sprinkle with olive oil. Bake in a low oven, around 150°C for 60 minutes. Add tomato liquid and saffron water, increase heat to 180ºC and bake for 30 minutes.

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Indigenous Ingredients | Bean, Broad | Fava | Fave

Used in Mediterranean cooking as a green unripe or brown ripe ingredient, as a dressed accompaniment or mashed with olive oil or with bacon and pasta, the broad bean is gradually reasserting itself as an essential ingredient.

Known by southern European countries as the fava, fave, haba or horse bean, modern recipes call for it to be used fresh.

The revival of the fava bean owes much to a disdain for old superstitions. Black fava were believed to contain the soul of the dead. The ancient Romans launched the Feast of the Lemures to chase away the ghosts of the departed, beating a copper pot while spitting out the vile beans.

The green fava bean, always eaten raw or cooked young, had only one function when allowed to dry in many countries, it was replanted to make the new crop.

Just in case!

The white fava or cannelini bean is a recent addition, from America, and is preferred in sausage and bean recipes throughout the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and the Balkans as a dried alternative to the broad bean.

Bacon, gammon, ham, pancetta, prosciutto, belly pork, pork cheek and sausages made with various cuts of the pig compete for the attention of the bean – especially when it is fresh.

In Italy sautéd onions in olive oil are followed by cubes or strips of pancetta until they are crisp. The fresh beans are coated in the oil, and seasoned with pepper. Several tablespoons of water allow the beans to cook gently until tender, between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the size of the beans. There should be no liquid left in the pan when the beans are done. A pinch of salt finishes the dish.

In France the beans are picked early in the season, boiled until tender, fried with bacon cubes in a little flour and some of the cooking water, and finished with two tablespoons of double cream. Béchamel sauce is often added when bacon is used, flour and milk with pork. The French are also inordinately fond of broad beans puréed as an accompaniment with pork.

The Belgians make a variation of the French method, bringing a 500 g piece of bacon or pork gradually to the boil, making a roux and adding some of the meat stock. They add one clove, one bay leaf, a pinch of thyme to the sauce, combining the meat cut up with the cooked beans, serving with boiled whole new potatoes

In Spain the beans are also combined with pork, in a slow-cooked casserole called Fabada featuring chorizo sausage, morcilla black pudding, salt pork belly, smoked gammon, saffron, herbs, spices and olive oil.

In the Balkans the beans are cooked, added to pork crackling, onion, smoked bacon and tomato fried in oil, and baked in a hot oven with chopped garlic, marjoram, parsley and thyme, paprika and pepper.

In Slovenia this recipe takes on a unique flavour with the addition of zaseka, smoked fatty pork belly pieces infused with bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns and salt. They serve their baked broad beans and zaseka sprinkled with sour milk on rye bread, chased by apple cider.

But it is back in Italy that the most traditional of all beans and pork dishes is still popular. Fave al Guanciale – broad beans and pork cheek features in many a Roman trattoria as an antipasto , served with crusty white bread. This is a seasonal dish, served in the spring when the beans are young.

In southern Italy and in Sicily, where the beans continue growing into the summer, it is a main course.

Fave al Guanciale

fresh broad beans with cured pork cheek

  • 1 kg fresh young beans, blanched in boiling water, chilled
  • 250 g cured pork cheek, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 50 g olive oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • Water

Fry the onion in the oil until it takes on colour at the edges. Add the pork, coating it in the oil and onion and fry gently for three minutes. Turn the heat down and carefully incorporate the beans. Some chefs like to remove the husks for a sweeter flavour from the beans but it is not necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in enough water to half cover the mixture. Check the tenderness of the beans after ten minutes. They are ready when they are soft to the bite.

Dried fava beans are no substitute for the fresh beans, but you don’t have to visit the shores of the Mediterranean or arrive in Rome in the spring to appreciate this delicacy. Asian stores sell fresh fava and the dried beans are relatively easy to grow.

Tinned broad beans should be avoided. Cooked ham or pork are reliable options but the broad beans must be fresh.

The ratio of beans to bacon should be 2:1, beans to pork to 4:1. Some versions call for both bacon and pork.


Bazzoffia ITALY bean and vegetable soup with bread and cheese

Bigilla MALTA spicy bean paté

Botifarra amb Mongetes SPAIN sausage and beans

Fabada Asturiana SPAIN beans, bacon and sausage


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Culinary Connections | Almonds

Croissants de Provence

The forgotten crescent of Europe, these delightful little almond pastries are a traditional treat in the south of France.

150g almonds, ground
150g sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp apricot jam, sieved
Vanilla water
25g almonds, shredded

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Whisk the egg whites into ground almonds, sugar and jam to make a soft paste.

Divide into walnut-sized balls, roll into 10cm long sausages.

Beat egg yolks, brush each sausage and roll in shredded almonds.

Place on greaseproof paper, bent into crescents, on a warmed baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Galllina en Pepitoria

The traditional savoury almond dish of the Spanish regions.

1.8 kg chicken, divided into breast, 
leg, thigh pieces
500 ml fish stock
225 ml sherry
150 ml olive oil
125 g onions, chopped
100 g almonds, roasted, ground
1 egg, hard-boiled yolk
15 g flour
2 garlic cloves, chopped
10 g parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp saffron, ground
1 tsp sea salt
Pepper, pinch
Oil, for frying

Heat oil in a large frying pan, brown chicken pieces, set aside.

Sauté garlic and onion in the same oil over a low heat for 15 minutes.

Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, add wine and incorporate for five minutes.

Replace chicken pieces, add bay leaf, pepper and parsley, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Remove lid, cook for 15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, take out chicken pieces and keep warm.

Mix egg yolk into almonds, stir into frying pan, heat for five minutes.

Season with salt, garnish with saffron.

Serve chicken with sauce.

Gelato alla Mandorla

Almond ice cream is reknown throughout Italy, found in gelateria nationwide, nowhere more so than in Sicily where the almond crop rivals that of Mallorca.

250 ml cream
250 ml milk
125 g almonds, ground
50 g sugar

Bring milk to a low boil, add sugar, stir and cook gently for 20 minutes. Pour into a food processor, add almonds and cream, blend.

Pour into metal moulds, seal and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Rogan Josh

This spicy hot curry from the northern regions of the Indian sub-continent has become one of the most popular dishes in Britain.

1.5 kg lamb shoulder, 3 cm pieces
550g plum tomatoes, skinned, 
chopped (or 2 x 400g tins)
250 g onions, chopped small
150 ml water, for blending
100 g root ginger, fresh, chopped small
100 ml sunflower oil 
75 g almonds
75 g yoghurt
30 g coriander seeds
15 g cumin seeds
25 peppercorns
10 cardamom pods
5 cloves garlic, crushed
5 chillies, whole round red Indian
10 cloves
Turmeric, large pinch
Nutmeg, pinch
Salt, pinch

Roast almonds, coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for 30 seconds, remove to a bowl.

Fry cardamons, chillies, cloves and peppercorns in hot oil, reduce heat and brown the meat in batches, setting each batch aside.

Remove fried spices with a slotted spoon to a blender with the roasted almonds and roasted spices, garlic and ginger, nutmeg and turmeric, and water. Blend into a smooth paste, adding more water if necessary, about five minutes.

Fry onions over a high heat in the pan used to brown the meat, about five minutes stirring constantly.

Stir in the paste, lower heat and cook for five minutes.

Gradually stir the yoghurt into the paste, followed by the tomatoes.

Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened.

Add meat and salt, cover, reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer for two hours.

Turrón

500 g almonds, blanched, roasted
250 g sugar
125 ml honey
Rice paper

Pound almonds and sugar together, spoon into a saucepan with the honey amd cook over a medium heat until the mixture browns and thickens.

Pour onto a baking tray lined with rice paper, leave to harden.

Cut into squares.


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Indigenous Ingredients | Paprika Peppers

TurkishPaprika-low-res

Turkish Paprika Flakes


Native to America and Asia, and related to chilli, the sweet pepper that produces paprika is grown primarily in the Balkans, Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain and Turkey, and used as an essential ingredient in sauces, soups, stews and in poultry, meat and vegetable dishes.

In Hungary it is sold hot, mild and sweet in five grades, from light red (hot) to dark red (mild).

In Spain it is sold plain and smoked, hot, mild and sweet.

In Turkey it is sold as flakes and as powder.

Paprika is so entrenched in Hungarian food culture it is hard to believe it was only following the winter of 1875 that these chilli peppers became a resident flavouring in soups and stews – 300 years after they were first brought into the country.

Grown in the Kalocsa, Szeged and Szentes regions, they were originally known as Turkish peppers.

Suddenly they were Hungarian!

A paprika drying plant was built in Kalocsa in 1880 followed in 1917 by a paprika experimental farm, where the mild sweet varieties that have made Hungarian paprika famous were bred.

Paprika grown in the Szeged region travelled the world, the climate in the floodplains of the Körös, Maros and Tisza rivers producing a brilliant red sweet pepper.

Known for its characteristic colour, a natural consequence of the ripening and drying procedure, Szegedi paprika is now a window into Hungary’s peasant paprika culture.

North of Szeged is the Szentes region. Here in the low-lying basin of the Great Hungarian Plain, migrating Bulgarian market gardeners made good use of the sloping land and hotter climate, in 1895 producing most of the Hungarian paprika harvest.

They specialised in pre-germination hotbed production, practicised nursery bed inter-cropping, developed chain-bucket wheel irrigation systems, and managed the humus-rich alluvial soil – creating the perfect micro-climate for their produce.

Paprika production has been constant in Szentes ever since, the methods introduced by the Bulgarians continuing to yield ‘an exceptionally flavoursome, hot, sweet or spicy taste’.

The contrasting peppers from these regions make Hungarian paprika unique, different to Spanish and Turkish varieties.


Lecsó / Lečo

BALKANS

pepper and tomato condiment

Fresh paprika peppers and juicy tomatoes, being plentiful throughout the Balkans, are stewed and bottled for use as condiments. Every household keeps lecsó, made or bought.

The home-made versions include numerous additional ingredients and variations of ratios between the peppers and tomatoes, this is the base sauce – 1 part peppers to 1 part tomatoes, a third onions and sufficient oil to sauté the onions and coat the ingredients. The ground paprika quantity is always personal.

  • 2.5 kg green and red paprika peppers, fresh, de-seeded, chopped
  • 2.5 kg tomatoes, fresh, chopped small
  • 800 g onions, chopped
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 25 g sweet paprika 10g sugar

Sauté onions in the oil over a low heat in a large frying pan for 15 minutes, add peppers, cook for ten minutes, add tomatoes, sugar and paprika, cover and simmer for an hour.


Paprikás Csirke

HUNGARY

paprika chicken

  • 2 kg chicken, cut into large pieces, leg and thigh separated
  • 400g onions, chopped
  • 300 ml smetana / sour cream
  • 150g lecsó
  • 2 paprika peppers, fresh
  • 15g sunflower oil
  • 15 g flour
  • 10 g sweet paprika
  • Salt, pinch
  • Water, for deglazing

Warm oil in a deep, wide saucepan, sauté onions for ten minutes until soft, cover and cook for an hour over the lowest heat.

Lift the lid every 15 minutes and allow the condensation to pour back into the pan.

When the onions are browned and wilted they are ready.

Bring heat up to medium, add a little more oil if the onions are sticking to the pan.

Add chicken pieces, skin side down, brown for five minutes. Remove into a wide soup bowl.

Take pan off heat.

Sprinkle paprika on top of the onions, leave covered for five minutes.

Deglaze saucepan with sufficient water to cover the base.

Put chicken back with any juices in the bowl, add lecsó and peppers, cover and cook for an hour.

Add a pinch of salt.

Remove chicken pieces again, quickly reduce liquid to a paste.

Turn heat to low, stir flour into the paste and slowly add sour cream.

Turn heat up until gentle bubbles appear on the surface. Put chicken back, cover and heat gently in the creamy sauce, about five minutes.

Serve with galuska.


Traditional Paprika Dishes

Acılı Ezme Salatası TURKEY cucumber, mint, paprika, spring onion, tomato salad

Canapés de Queso Pimentón SPAIN ricotta and smoked paprika canapés

Chorba / Ciorba BALKANS bean, herb, paprika, vegetable soup

Pörkölt HUNGARY beef, lamb or pork paprika stew

Pulpo Pimentón IBERIAN PENINSULA octopus with hot paprika

Tokány ROMANIA beef, pork, bacon, sour cream, herb and spice paprika stew


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