Wednesday, January 25, 2006
When we were young, the main person cooking in our house was my mum but she lived by the motto “nobody works seven days a week” so from the age of 7ish on Saturdays, my brother and I (never together!) were allowed to choose and prepare what we ate. I think this was part of the way they taught us to cook and it has definitely worked. When we moved out to go to university we could prepare a very decent meal instead of taste and boiled eggs.
But back to the Saturdays….to prevent us from just getting a takeaway, my dad would encourage us to pick something we could cook ourselves and then he would help us prepare the whole thing. This ranged from Spaghetti Bolognese to leek tarts and more….however, when he had the choice he would pick traditional Dutch dishes or variations on the theme. Dutch traditional food isn’t very exciting and mainly consists of mashed potatoes combined with something (curly kale, andive, carrots and onions, sauerkraut etc) and accompanied by either meatballs or sausages.
This dish is a variation on the Dutch sauerkraut mash and comes from Hungary. As a kid I found the sauerkraut alone a bit much but these days I love it. It comes with little packages of green cabbage filled with mince, onion and rice, chorizo, bacon and paprika served with mash to heat you up on cold winter nights. So I decided to make this dish even though the winter is once again pathetically warm (all these predictions of the coldest winter ever….maybe it’ll still happen but I’m sceptical). It tasted delicious as usual and brought back many pleasant memories, even without the chorizo, which I didn’t have in the house.
Hungarian Sauerkraut / Csarday (serves 4)
500 g sauerkraut
8 nice green cabbage leaves, without the central vein
400 g mince
4 tbsp boiled rice
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp dried marjoram or oregano
salt and pepper
2 slices of bacon, cut into 4 pieces each (not too fatty)
2 small chorizo sausages, in slices
Soften the cabbage leaves in boiling water for a few minutes. Fry the onion in butter and mix with the mince, rice, paprika, marjoram, egg, pepper and salt off the heat. Divide into 8 portions and fold each portion into a cabbage leaf. Put the sauerkraut on the bottom of a thick (Le Creuset) pan, then the cabbage rolls followed by the slices of chorizo and finally the bacon. Add some of the juices from the cabbage and simmer for 45 min - 1 hour. Serve in the pan with some sour cream and paprika