College Kitchen: Hungary

A&E’s foreign correspondent whips up the Budabest recipes from the country.

Hungarian crepes, palacsinta, filled with porkolt, a Hungarian stew. Palacsinta can be made savory or sweet, similar to French crepes.

Yena Lee

Hungarian crepes, palacsinta, filled with porkolt, a Hungarian stew. Palacsinta can be made savory or sweet, similar to French crepes.

Yena Lee

When students opt to study abroad in Europe, it’s the beautiful cities of Paris, Barcelona, Florence and London that capture their hearts. Central Europe tends to be an afterthought. However, if you ever have the opportunity to visit central Europe, do it — it’s beyond breathtaking.
The unity of two cities — Buda and Pest — makes up Budapest. On one side of the river is the Pest side, which is about two-thirds of Budapest. Then just across the Danube is the Buda side, which was once the capital of Hungary. 
The views of Budapest from atop the Buda side are gorgeous and picturesque, but beyond the scenery, the Hungarian cuisine is spectacular.
Hungarian cuisine isn’t well known; however, the food is hearty and made with a lot of love. The stew goulash is extremely popular in Hungary. In addition, paprika is a spice commonly used in a lot of dishes such as the chicken paprikash. Other dishes in the cuisine include a savory or sweet crepelike dish, the palacsinta. 
Palacsinta
Every culture has its pancake variation. In Hungary, the palacsinta is either filled with something savory or sweet and is often compared to crepes. 
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 cup carbonated water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
Butter to cook the palacsinta
 
1. Combine the eggs and flour in a medium-sized bowl.
2. Once the eggs and flour are combined, add in the rest of the ingredients.
3. Store the dough mixture in the fridge overnight. (If in a time crunch, one to two hours will do.)
4. To cook the palacsinta, lightly grease a frying pan over medium heat.  
5. Add in 1/4 cup of batter in at a time to make one palacsinta.
6. Similar to cooking pancakes or crepes, flip it over once golden brown.
7. Repeat steps 4-6 until the batter is gone.
Porkolt
One way to enjoy the Hungarian crepes is to fill them with a savory stew called porkolt. Porkolt is another traditional Hungarian stew, like goulash. But unlike goulash, porkolt is less souplike, which makes for a great palacsinta filling.
 
1 pound ground veal (can be substituted with ground beef, pork or chicken)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other high smoke point oil)
1/2 cup diced onions
2 diced tomatoes
1 cup water
4 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons freshly 
chopped parsley
1/2 cup sour cream
Optional sauce:
Drained liquid from meat
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sour cream
 
1. Pour the oil into a pan over medium heat.
2. Add in the onions, and let them cook slowly until translucent.
3. Throw in the ground veal once the onions are cooked, and give it a good stir to break up the meat.
4. Once the meat is about cooked, add in the tomatoes and water. Then add the paprika and parsley.
5. Once all the ingredients are incorporated, let the stew thicken up. Stir occasionally.
6. Add in the sour cream once the sauce in the 
pan thickens.
7. Once the stew is complete, drain the liquid from the pan (and reserve for the optional 
sauce).
8. Add a little bit of the stew onto each crepe, and then roll them up.
9. Optional sauce: With the drained liquid from the meat, add the flour and sour cream. 
Once thoroughly mixed, drizzle the sauce over the palacsinta.