Last week's column highlighting the history of Hungarian goulash netted a wide response from readers, including more great recipes from a very knowledgeable priest from Merrillville with personal stories from "the Old Country."
Father Joseph Vamos of Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church in Merrillville shared some great additional kitchen info.
"Phil, this is a follow-up to your column conversation about goulash," he explained.
"The real Hungarian goulash was cooked by herdsmen called 'gulyas' and it was usually made in the field over an open fire, which really gives it a good taste. The kettle it is made in is called a bogracs, which is another name for a stew pot. It is supported over the fire on a tripod."
Born and raised in East Chicago, Vamos was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Gary on May 28, 1966.
He was pastor of St. Joseph Church in Hammond from 1973 to 1979 and served as chaplain for the Hammond Police Department. He was then pastor of St. Michael Church in Schererville from 1979 to 1987 when he was transferred to Our Lady of Consolation.
In 1972, he did his sabbatical in an ethnic Hungarian village in Czechoslovakia. He served as the parish priest in order to help in a small way with the priest shortage due to the many years of Communist suppression of religion in that country.
For this week's farm column, Father Vamos kindly agreed to share his own family's recipe for goulash.
"This is a recipe that I have used, and has been handed down to me, for years," he said.
"My version makes 10 servings, but I'm sure it could be cut down by half. And even though it calls for paprika paste as one of the ingredients, additional tomato paste can be substituted."
In addition to his family's goulash recipe, Father Vamos also provided what he calls his "family village recipe" for Hungarian Chicken Paprikas.
"I was visiting a relative in my village in the Old Country and I watched her cook this and wrote it down," he explained.
"You can add a dash or more, of sour cream to the Chicken Paprikas after it is cooked. There is an old saying that there is Paprikas Chicken, which has no sour cream and Chicken Paprikas with sour cream."
Father Vamos' Hungarian Goulash
3 1/2 pounds stew meat or top round roast, cut up into pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons hot paprika
1 tablespoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 green pepper, chopped
8 to 10 potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
2 heaping tablespoons goulash paste (or substitute paprika paste or just more tomato paste)
4 to 5 quarts of water.
DIRECTIONS: Brown meat and onion in vegetable oil. Add paprika, salt and enough water (4 to 5 quarts) to fill pan to 2/3 full. (Water should look red.) Bring water to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add potatoes, green pepper, tomato paste and cook until potatoes are done. Add the goulash paste (or the additional tomato paste if substituting) near the end of the cooking times. Serves 10 and be served with noodles or just plain.
Hungarian Village Recipe for Chicken Paprikas
1 onion, sliced
1 heaping teaspoon Hungarian sweet red paprika
4 chicken breasts (halved)
1 green pepper, cut into small strips
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Vegeta (can be purchased at European stores) or standard seasoning salt)
Salt and Pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS: Cover bottom of pan with cooking oil, about one soup ladle of it. Saute onion in oil until soft and add red paprika. Add chicken to oil and cook 1/2 hour. Add green pepper, tomato and cook until tender. Add remaining seasonings and cover with lid and cook slowly, turning chicken periodically. If liquid evaporates, add water (this is important). A little more red paprika can be added so the dish is very red. (More green pepper, tomato and onion can also be added if desired.) During final minutes of cooking, add a little sour cream if desired. Serve with noodles, rice or fried potatoes. Makes 10 servings.