Friday, November 19, 2010


**Post Factum:** 
This is one of a series of posts for Vegan MoFo 2010; my theme was a 'Virtual Random Road Trip', where I used's random geographic location generator to select locations around the globe, I then attempted to cook a few dishes from the traditional cuisine of that place. I didn't have a lot of time between generating the locations and coming up with recipes (~ 1 day). So, lacking time to do proper research, I can't vouch for the authenticity of anything I came up with. However, they are what they are, and it was a fun theme. 

Pörkölt is a stew that (according to my very erudite source of information: Wikipedia (j/k)),  differs from  goulash in that it is braised in the oven (pörkölt means 'roasted'), instead of being simmered on the stove. The recipe I followed is flavored with marjoram and paprika, then braised in red wine. Along with goulash and paprikas, pörkölt is considered a national dish in Hungary.

It's not the traditional main ingredient for this dish (traditionally made with unmentionables), but I thought eggplant (aka aubergine) sounded good for this.  The slow cooking allows it to really soak up the flavors of the wine and spices.

The cookbook recommends a Kadarka wine to go with this, which according to this site, is a "light coloured red, normally low in tannins but has vibrant acidity, rustic and raspberry aromas, and a spicy aftertaste that makes it an ideal easy drinking wine." I used a Pinot Noir from Oregon.

Eggplant Pörkölt based on a recipe from Hungarian Cuisine: A Gourmet's Guide
(Serves 4)

1 large (or 2 medium) eggplant, chopped into large chunks
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
2 medium-size sweet peppers
1 large tomato
4 small potatoes, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup red wine
1 cup veggie broth
1 tsp. paprika (I used sweet paprika)
4 sprigs fresh marjoram, more to garnish
salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300F (150C)

In a large stove- and oven-safe pot, saute the onions and garlic. When the onions start to look translucent,  toss in the eggplant and the peppers allow it to brown a little. Add the paprika and toss through. Add the  potatoes, tomatoes, marjoram, wine and broth, bring to a simmer, then transfer to the oven to braise uncovered for ~45 minutes. Add salt an pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped marjoram.

Ad Hoc Note: I should say that the wikipedia article states adamantly that pörkölt should not have potato...but hey, I'm a rebel...that, and the recipe I used called for them.

This smelled really lovely in the oven. The taste is rich and naturally smokey from the paprika. The eggplant is soft and flavorful as are the potatoes. It is really yummy; I'll make this again. It would also be nice garnished with a little tofu sour cream, pine nut cream, or what have you.

And in honor of it being Friday, time to slap it up and have some fun with some Hungarian folkdancing:

Oh, and one more thing, here's the next stop:

Bangladesh sounds interesting.


  1. dumb question, you can eat the seeds in peppers?do people usually seed them "just because" ?

    this soup seems so rich and good! i can imagine how good your house was smelling! reading through the ingredients is mking my hungary

    lol that was an accidnet! hungary get that was lame.

  2. dirtyduck

    You can eat the seeds, sure! If they are hot peppers, keeping the seeds in makes them even hotter than when you take them out, or so I've read. I think people take the innards out of peppers mainly because its not as nice to eat as the rest of it. I left them in because I think they look pretty that way...and I ate the whole pieces, seeds and all...but I'm like that...when I eat apples, I always eat the entire thing, core and all.

    If you notice, I used the same "lame" joke in the Hungary marker on top of the page, we can be lame together. :D

  3. I wish the wonderful smell were coming from my oven. The stew looks yummy, and a good candidate for seitan, though the eggplant is a great idea. Thanks for the dance video. I love folk dancing — for years and years I went dancing twice a week, but haven't been since we came to Seattle.

  4. Andrea

    I agree, this would work great with seitan.

    What kind of folk dance did you do? I have a friend who used to do Balkan dancing, but now he's moved on to Tango. I went with him to the Balkan dancing a few times, many years was fun and the people were nice.

  5. Trade you my tempeh salad sandwich for a bigass bowl of your Pörkölt!! :-)

    I had a traumatic experience with a vicious eggplant once (there's little more wicked than an eggplant gone bad) and haven't cooked with one since. I'll happily eat stuff that other people have cooked with eggplant, though! :-) But it's time to give aubergine another try because I simply MUST make this and would love to try this version, though I agree it looks like a perfect candidate for seitan. (What about portobellos, do you think they'd absorb the flavors as well?) This looks lusciously rich and savory, and definitely something we'd love!

    The folk dancing is lively and fun! I love the different colors of the women's dresses, and when they spin they look like Sufi dervishes! That's quite an aerobic workout, no wonder they're always Hungary! (I can be lame too!) :-)

    Those birds are back, I see. They seem to be drawn to your cooking. Who can blame them? Do they have names? I think they need names. Maybe something Hungarian.

    Bangladesh, wow, do I smell curry? :-)

  6. Laurie

    Sounds like a deal!

    Vicious eggplant encounters are the worst! LOL, actually, I've never been subject to one, but it does sound like a harrowing experience.

    The eggplant was so good in this! Yes, you should face your fears and try it. The red wine is a must too, I think.

    I love the folk dancing too! You're right, I daresay you'd work up a good appetite with that dance!

    The birds don't have names, but that's a good idea; they certainly deserve some names. I'm open to suggestions.

    I have to say, I don't have a clue what food is like from that part of the world, so if you say curry...I'll take your word for it. It should be fun to find out more about it.

    Have a great weekend Laurie! :)

  7. Well alrighty then, the eggplant it is! And of course the red wine is a must, that goes without saying! ;-)~ Besides, if I also drink it as I prepare the meal, it will help steel my nerves for the scary eggplant encounter. lol

    Did you say earlier there are 4 of those birds?

    Don't take my word for it, I don't know squat about Bangladeshi food. I just figured with its proximity to and similarities with India and Pakistan (as I recall, Bangladesh used to be called East Pakistan), I figured odds must be pretty good they have curry in there somewhere! :-)

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend too, Rose! xoxo

  8. Good strategy with the wine!

    I have two pair, the other two are little chicks (really cute).

    I think you're right about the food in Bangladesh...I've done a few searches and you're pretty much right on the mark.

    I'm reading your email...and will peruse it throughly over the weekend.

    :) talk to you soon.

  9. This sounds so warm and comforting! I love that you added red potatoes and eggplant. A winning combination for me!

  10. That is absolutely a beautiful stew! Bookmarking.

  11. Mmm, stew in an oven - that sounds so good! And I could crunch on those peppers right now! I think eggplant (aubergine, Rose!) is a wonderful choice. Much better than a sad, little fuzzy. That Hungarian dancing got me going; I had no idea someone could dance as fast as that, and I love those dresses. I'm lookin' forward to Bangladesh. Bang out a dish from Bangladesh, is what I always say.

  12. Your stew reminds me very much of a dish I created (but that won't be original as your recipe proves) called, by me, "deadly nightshade stew" because it contains all those relations of the deadly nightshade family: eggplant, potato, tomato, peppers, yes! So you're dead right (heh), tradition aside, potato fits perfectly into the mix. I'll bet the smell as it was baking was ecstasy-making, and become quite faint as I imagine sopping up the stew with those nice brown buns! Looking forward to Bangladesh!

  13. I hate eggplant, but this looks good to me. I'll bet Bangladeshi Cuisine is very vegan friendly.

  14. An oven stew does sound good, and it looks good too with that bite of eggplant. I'm all for adding potatoes. I guess people all over the world like to take stands on what is and isn't okay to mix, or what is authentic.

    I'm excited for Bangladesh!

  15. Thanks, Jacklyn, Catofstripes, and Celyn :)


    I agree, fuzzies don't belong in stew! :D I love the dancer's dresses too.


    Your deadly nightshade stew sounds like winner. Years ago, I met a fellow who was studying ayurvedic healing and the like, I don't know how versed he was, but he told me that my body type was a "fire" (as opposed to earth, water, or air) and that I should stay away from nightshade vegetables...I said "no way; they're too yummy"


    I think you're right on the mark regarding the food in Bangladesh.


    Yes, there always seems to be several takes on what is "authentic", I'm sure it varies from region to region in the same country too.

    We'll see what Bangladesh has in store...I'm still trying to decide on a recipe.

  16. oh my...that stew looks and sounds yummy! I'm a rebel like you...adding the potatoes sounds like a grand idea! I sure wish I had a bowl of this right now! :o)

  17. I like your birds, or maybe I've already said that? I also like how you refer to "it" as "unmentionables."

  18. Good strategy with the wine!

    I have two pair, the other two are little chicks (really cute).

    I think you're right about the food in Bangladesh...I've done a few searches and you're pretty much right on the mark.

    I'm reading your email...and will peruse it throughly over the weekend.

    :) talk to you soon.
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