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MY COOKBOOK

1.8.11

GREEN BEANS STEW - ZÖLDBAB FŐZELÉK


I called this a stew for lack of a better word. But it’s not really a stew. Főzelék is a thick Hungarian vegetable dish. Traditionally it was thickened with roux made from lard and flour and sometimes served with sour cream. Főzelék is eaten as the main course. It can be topped with meat drippings, pörkölt sauce, sausage, fasírt or deep fried foods such as French fries or fried bread. But most of the time we just ate it with a slice of bread. Főzelék is not very exciting to western tastes, but in Hungary after months of “winter vegetables” cooked much the same way, when the first peas or green beans or kohlrabi finally appeared at the Garai Piac [Garai Farmer’s Market] they tended to generate a bit of excitement at our house. I had a bit of home made lard and when Leah brought some fresh string beans over the other day, I knew I had to make a real főzelék.

2 large handful of green beans [approximately 1 lb]
1/4 cup lard
1 garlic, minced
1/8 cup onions, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1/2 cup sour cream
sprinkling of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
additional sour cream for serving

• Remove the bean ends and pull off the tough stringy bit from the sides.
• Rinse beans under cold running water.
• Chop into 1-1/2 inch lengths.
• Place chopped beans in a wide bottomed pot
• Add water to the level of the beans and salt it.
• Bring it to boil, reduce to simmer and place a lid on the pot.
• Cook beans until tender.
• Meanwhile make the roux.
• Melt the lard in a non stick fry pan.
• Add the onions and the garlic and sauté until very soft.
• Stir in the flour and cook until flour is a golden color.
• Remove fry pan from heat and stir in the Hungarian paprika.
• Add cold water and stir smooth.
• When the beans are cooked, stir in the roux.
• Bring it to simmer and then add 1/2 cup of sour cream.
• Add a sprinkling of sugar to tame the sour cream [the dish will not be sweet]
• Adjust the salt and add the ground pepper.
• Remove pot from heat and set aside.
• Serve the zöldbab főzelék with extra sour cream.

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for this! This stew was one of my favourites from my childhood.

    You have great recipes. Have you ever thought of publishing them in PDF, or
    E-book format?

    Laszlo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! At the moment I am uploading them as fast I can make the dishes and write the recipes. When I assembled what I want, I am planning to invest in a dozen or so professionally printed cookbooks for my children and grandchildren. Beyond that I haven't given it much thought. Meanwhile anyone can copy them or use them if they like. I do have a question, what would an E format or PDF do that blogger cannot do? Mind you I don't much care for PDF documents in general. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that
    E-books can be marketed at low, or next to no cost. Clara Czegeny in Ontario publishes her mom's recipes
    in both hard copy and E-book format
    on E-bay, as well as her own web site here:
    http://www.helenshungarianrecipes.com/
    I purchased both versions myself, the books for my kids, and downloadable file version for me, due to vision problems. Since you already have the material on your computer, you could turn this into a low, or no cost, lucrative business. There is no reason why you should not be rewarded for your great work.
    Laszlo

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was very kind of you to think I deserved monetary compensation. But Laszlo anyone can publish and make money on someone else's work. I am not a chef, I am completely self thought. I came to Canada with no cooking experience whatsoever and the one thing I worked for the past 40 years was to too reclaim the flavours I grew up with. I dabble in “international” dishes as well, knowing full well these would not stand up to the scrutiny of whatever country’s dish I try to imitate. It has not been easy for me, Hungarian cookbooks are written for people who know how to cook and what’s worse geared for different ingredients. Translations that have been published seem equally unaware of these facts. My son has a little book with Gundel recipes, it’s a joke; you can’t get half the ingredients listed in it. The few cookbooks that are written by Hungarian immigrants are no longer authentically Hungarian. Even though one has to make allowances for regional variations within Hungary, I find it exasperating when a Hungarian recipe has been blatantly fused with new world customs and then claims are made of it being authentically Hungarian. Don’t bother to convince subsequent generations that mother’s or aunt Ethel’s recipes are not authentic. So we are hard pressed to find a good Hungarian cookbook geared for new world ingredients. I can’t comment on Helen’s recipes, I have yet to see one, and I refuse to buy a cookbook without seeing half a dozen recipes first. But they are so concerned about making money and about people stealing from them, what is there to steal? There are no pictures of food or recipes on their website... I find the whole thing pathetic. As for me, I would rather share what I know with as many people as possible. When I assembled together what I consider the core of Hungarian cooking, I will organize it so it can be downloaded by anyone. If there were no people willing to share with others, there would not be a point to have Internet.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You make some very valid points Zsuzsa. My motivation for seeking recipes is similar to yours. To that effect I bought just about every Hungarian recipe book there is on the market, including Gundel's. Paprikas Weiss, etc. My presence here is testimonial to your statements, and that's what makes your work so valuable. I'm not a cook, merely a dabbler, still I achieved a fair amount of success following your instructions. Regarding Helen's book, it's pretty good, but her attitude has undergone substantial changes since 2005. Let's leave it at that. Louis Szathmary used to have a great web site, the Hungarian Heritage page where he published a number of recipes. He also owned "The Bakery" restaurant in Chicago where he put theory to practice.
    Sadly he passed away, and his web page is gone, but I saved some of his recipes, and if you can provide a location, I would gladly upload them for you.

    PS You are right about the internet. I even run Linux on my computer.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'll gather them and send it there.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Many thanks Laszlo, I already sent you a reply.

    ReplyDelete

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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 800 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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