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Cook Book Club: March's Ingredients Are Sweet Paprika and Caraway Seed. The Country: Hungary!

In our second year highlighting entire cultures, we will continue on with Europe as we started last Fall. Kits will include a little bit about the country of focus, a recipe that is native to the country, and a unique ingredient or two from that recipe without which, it wouldn't be the same. Most recipes are from writers native to the country covered. I'll post the recipes and information here as well, so let's get cooking!


As we continue on our culinary journey through Europe, we make our way to Central Europe and Hungary with a very traditional dish that should be familiar to many.

A Quick Look at Hungarian Cuisine

Adapted from various online history resources, in particular,

Hungarian (or Magyar) cuisine finds its origin in simple nomadic peasant food heavily reliant on poultry and sheep with some newer ingredients introduced through royal marriage by the Germans in the late 10th century (baking) and the Italians (chestnut, garlic, mace, saffron, onion, breadcrumbs, pasta, cheese, and fruit) and Turks (paprika) in the 15th & 16th centuries.

As one website puts it, "Hungarian cuisine has the unique feature of being influenced by dishes of surrounding cultures while maintaining its original roots and characteristics. Historically speaking, Hungarian cuisine is very meat-oriented: the effect of the nomadic lifestyle of Magyar tribes at the beginning of the 10th century is palpable on even the modern Hungarian dishes." The result is a rich, spiced, hearty primarily meat-based menu that is both extremely satisfying and gets its people through the harsh Hungarian winters.

The introduction of paprika is possibly one of the most striking as one could reasonably argue you wouldn't have the same food culture without the spice that has become a veritable symbol of the country itself.


The Main Event


This recipe has been edited and adapted from Spend With Pennies for use by the Brown Deer Library Cookbook Club


  • 2 medium onions diced

  • 2 teaspoons butter or lard (preferred)

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • ¼ cup flour

  • 1 ½ pound stewing beef trimmed and cut into 1" cubes

  • 2 cups beef broth or water

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes canned

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • 1 ½ cup carrots (optional)

  • 3 cups potatoes (optional)


  1. In a large pot, melt butter and add onion. Cook till translucent. Stir in caraway seeds and paprika and mix well.

  2. In a bowl, dredge the stew beef with flour. Add beef to the onion mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes. 

  3. Slowly add about ¼ cup of the beef broth to lift the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add remaining broth, diced tomatoes (potatoes and carrots if using), salt and pepper. 

  4. Stir and bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer for about 1 ½ -2 hours or until tender.

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