Krumplileves (Creamy Potato Soup with Sausage)
This soup is a fine example of how something so simple can taste so good - kind of a beauty of Hungarian cuisine. The texture is like velvet, the flavor is hearty and sublime and it sure will keep you toasty on a cold wintry day. (My note: I am taking this directly from their cookbook, which has been translated into English. If something sounds a little strange, it's the translation, and I think that's part of the fun ~ so I left it all as-is.)
Ingredients (For 4 persons)
4 big potatoes
150 g smoked sausage
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sweet red paprika powder
(My note: This is not really "sweet". It's just how they distinguish it from "hot" paprika powder ~ which is really hot.)
2 bay leaves
120 ml sour cream
1 tbsp vinegar
1 small piece celeriac root (celery root)
salt & pepper to taste
Preparing Time: 45-60 minutes
1. Peel, clean and cut the potatoes in larger size cubes. Slice sausage. Chop celeriac root into 4 robust pieces. Add about 3 times as much water, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Bring it to a boil until potatoes are soft. Do not cook over. Put away from the fire. Make sure you have enough water left.
2. When potatoes are cooked, prepare the roux "rantas". Heat oil in a pot, add flour, stirring constantly. It is important to adjust oil and flour -- if there is too much flour it will be lumpy.
4. After 1-2 minute of searing, take it away from the fire, wait while it cools down a little, then add red paprika powder to it.
(You might have noticed, they skipped #3)
5. Not too much, just to have nice red color. Pour some (max 20-30 ml) water to the "rantas" but NOT MIX, just let it cool for 1 minute and then you can stir them together.
6. Mix some of the roux slowly with the potatoes.
7. Follow with sour cream. Take some of the gravy from the soup and mix with the sour cream. Add to the soup, step by step and bring it to boil once more.
8. Adjust with vinegar and salt & pepper if desired.
Tips and Hints
There are some household and regional variations -- some people add sautee'd onion as they add the rough (they mean roux), others like it with carrot or they add some marjoram. Many people love it with a hot hard-crusted bread.
If you would like it less thick, you can omit the roux.
Celeriac is into for the taste, you discard as you serve. (My note: Our instructor had us cube it the same size as the potatoes and leave it in to serve, which I recommend.)
Tejfol -- sour cream, a dairy product that is produced by souring heavy cream, very popular in Central and Eastern Europe. It is a soured cream product like creme' fraiche, mainly sold with 15% - 20% milkfat, more sour in taste than creme' fraiche. It curdles less when cooked or added to hot dishes.
In the old days they used to place fit fresh milk in a clay jar uncovered. The milk "fell asleep" ie. get sour, and its fat came on the top ie. tejfol literally means top of milk.
Hungarian sausage, fustolt kolbasz is smoky, finely ground, and contains more paprika than Western sausages. Substituting other kinds of sausage will significantly impair your Hungarian experience.