Hungarian comfort food at its best – pea stew and meatballs

It’s not a soup, not a side dish either, and not even the result of an accident in the kitchen. One of the most characteristic elements of Hungarian cuisine – and perhaps the toughest to describe – is “főzelék”, or vegetable stew.It might seem strange to a foreigner to be served a thickened vegetable dish for a main course, and the fact the word “főzelék” does not really exist in other languages is not helpful either.

Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)

It’s not a soup, not a side dish either, and not even the result of an accident in the kitchen. One of the most characteristic elements of Hungarian cuisine – and perhaps the toughest to describe – is “főzelék”, or vegetable stew.

It might seem strange to a foreigner to be served a thickened vegetable dish for a main course, and the fact the word “főzelék” does not really exist in other languages is not helpful either.

We have accepted the challenge though, and will show you how to prepare these delicious Hungarian dishes. There are endless variations using a wide variety of vegetables. As part of our article series created in cooperation with VígVarjú Restaurant and chef Krisztián Balogh, we now show you how to prepare a green pea stew.

We have accepted the challenge though, and will show you how to prepare these delicious Hungarian dishes. There are endless variations using a wide variety of vegetables. As part of our article series created in cooperation with VígVarjú Restaurant and chef Krisztián Balogh, we now show you how to prepare a green pea stew.

Want to try another Hungarian speciality? Click here for Krisztián’s gulyás recipe!

“Healthy” pea stew (no flour)

This is a reinterpreted pea stew recipe which is extremely easy to make… Enjoy!
It is more modern compared to previous versions, but all the more healthy as it is prepared WITHOUT FLOUR. And, it will be just as thick as the traditional version.

Preparation:

Begin by braising the green peas in the butter (with the lid on). After 2-3 minutes, pour in the 100 ml of water and braise for another 2-3 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and the finely chopped parsley, and season with the crushed garlic. Sweeten with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar to taste.
And then comes the novel twist: put 2-3 ladles of peas into a bowl and add 100 ml of cream.
Puree the mix in a blender then pour back into the pot and mix into the peas. If it is not thick enough, take some more peas for the puree.
Bring to the boil and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. If it is too thick, you can add some milk at this stage to taste.

Grandma’s famous meatballs

Preparation:

Peel the onion, finely chop and fry in a little lard. Add the softened onions to the minced pork, add the two eggs and mix in 3 crushed cloves of garlic. In a bowl, soak the 2 dry rolls in water (or in milk, sorry Granny), then squeeze the water out and add the soggy rolls to the minced meat.
Mix the meatball base well to combine, season with salt, pepper and red paprika to taste. If it is too soft, add some breadcrumbs to beefen it up a bit.
Form little balls from the mixture, slightly flatten the two sides, then roll them in breadcrumbs and fry them in hot fat or oil.