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6.10.12

LENTIL STEW – LENCSE FŐZELÉK


 
This is a repost with a motto. If your lentils and green peas end up in the same jar, separate them or discard the whole lot, because nothing good can come from cooking them together.
 
“Még nyílnak a völgyben a kerti virágok,
Még zöldel a nyárfa az ablak előtt,
De látod amottan a téli világot?
Már hó takará el a bérci tetőt.”
Petőfi Sándor, Szeptember végén
 
The flowers still bloom in the valley gardens.
The tree is still green outside the window.
But over there can you see the winter’s world?
Mountain tops already wrapped in snow.
Sándor Petőfi, September’s End
 
Yes fall is upon us. Bitterly cold air blew two weeks ago when grandchild and I embarked on a bit of shopping. I don’t know why but I thought of lentil stew as we made our way from the car to the mall. And so here is what I made from a new bag of lentils. Now that’s much better. This is real lencsefőzelék. I don’t cook it for New Years out of principle. Nobody can accuse me with superstitions, because knock on wood, I don’t have one.
 
1 cup green lentils
2 thick slices of bacon, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced onion
2 minced garlic cloves
2 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried parsley
3-1/2 cups homemade chicken or pork stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 pinch of baking soda
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
 
• Place a cup of lentils in a medium dutch pot.
• Fry the chopped bacon in a non stick skillet until it gets a little color.
• Add the onions and the garlic and sauté until translucent.
• Stir in the parsley.
• Remove skillet from the heat and with a slotted spoon transfer the bacon mixture into the pot that has the lentils in it. Discard the remaining bacon fat.
• Add the meat stock, bay leaves, sugar, paprika and the baking soda to the pot.
• Season with salt and pepper, but be mindful that the stock is already salty.
• Cover and slowly simmer the lentils until tender.
• Make a smooth paste from the flour and cold water.
• Add to the pot and bring it back to slow simmer.
• Slowly simmer for 3-4 minutes longer.
• Adjust the seasoning and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on the top.
• Remove from heat, cover and let the stew rest for half an hour before serving.

 

4 comments:

  1. Do you need to let the lentils soak for a day before. I saw traditional Hungarian recipes that have that steps.

    Thanks and love your recipes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are several reasons for that. Hungarian recipes English translation is unreliable and without taking into consideration the unique ingredients that may or may not be available outside of Hungary. The other reason is there are lots of recipes circulating with “borrowed” photos with a recipe that the poster just copied from somewhere. In general beware of “authentic” Hungarian recipes. They are either not very Hungarian to start with or were published by relatives claiming to be "family recipes". They could have been simply guideposts that the cook understood, but the relation does not. I endorse only one Hungarian cookbook in English, titled Culinaria Hungary by Aniko Gergely. This the best book on traditional Hungarian cuisine. The on-line versions and the cheaply published cookbooks are hack jobs.

      Now to respond to your question, lentils never required soaking. Not in Hungary or any place else. If soaked overnight, the lentils would pretty much disintegrate before cooking. What you may do if you don't often eat legumes is blanch them, discard the liquid, rinse the lentils and then cook them for a short time. But the only reason for that is to reduce the flatulence.

      Delete
  2. Thank you Zsuzsa. I followed you recipe this evening and the result was fantastic.

    Thank you for preserving our culinary culture. You are the real deal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you thank you. I am glad the fozelek worked for you.

      Delete

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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 900 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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