Previously, I published this family recipe for matzoh-ball soup. It’s nearly Passover once again, so maybe give it a try for your seder!
More recently, daughter Kait requested my recipe for krumpli paprikash (paprikash krumpli*), a Hungarian dish that translates exactly as “peppered potatoes.” Want to say it out loud? KROOM-plee POP-ree-kosh (POP-ree-kosh KROOM-plee*). Easy to say. Even easier to make. To whit:
1-2 lbs Red Potatoes, cut into wee cubes (or more, especially if you want left-overs)
1 Yellow Onion, diced
1 Green Pepper, diced (optional, because they cost so damn much)
1 Red Pepper, diced (optional, see “Green Pepper,” above)
8 - 10 Hotdogs, sliced into bite-size cylinders that want to roll off your cutting board; Do Not Let Them Roll Away, the little bastards, for they will try.
Olive Oil, to coat cook-pot
Paprika, lots. No, more than that. No... No... Okay, but you’ll probably want more. One “chef” well known to this correspondent has often plopped an entire spice jar of the stuff into this dish. Then added more.
Cayenne (if you’re not using “Hot” Paprika, and I am talking “spiciness,” not whatever you youngsters think I’m saying), a pinch. Or two. The missus and I once used too much Hot Paprika and I swear our LIPS were on fire for HOURS.
Garlic Powder, to taste (duh, garlic)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup Water, Eau, Agua, Wasser, you get my drift
Part the First: The Roux
In a large pot over a medium flame, bring olive oil to a roaring flagration. No, kidding. Just warm it a little, then add the onions and (if using ’em) peppers of multi-colors. Cook until onions are that wonderful gooey, not quite overdone-ness...“translucent,” that’s the word cookbooks like, translucent. Then add paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne and stir. This is the roux.
Part the Second: The Rest of Instructions
Add the potatoes, hot dogs and stir until covered with the sweet, salty, onion-peppery goo. Roux. I meant to say “roux.” Then stir in one cup of water and cover the pot. When the contents begin to cry out that it’s too hot/it starts to boil, turn down the heat. Check that you have enough paprika in there. Do you? Well? You’re not looking to create a red that mocks the storm on Jupiter, more like a Saharan sunset, tending toward orange, but still hot. Spice-wise, I’m still talking spiciness, not whatever you youngsters think I’m saying.
Let simmer, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are “done” (like, 40 minutes, who the hell knows, potatoes are notoriously unyielding). You’ll know when you stick a fork in ’em and are they creamy — neither stiff and flaky nor still hard as small pretend rocks (what did I say about notoriously unyielding)? It’s best if they’re tending toward creamy and yet, sorta solid-y, too. IMO. Hey, you asked, right? (notorious...)
At any time, do a taste test and adjust for #TheAmountOfPaprikaYouUnderMeasured because quite likely #YouUnderMeasured. You can also add more water BUT JUST A LITTLE if it looks like the potatoes are holding out on you, texture-wise (notorious...). Remember: we’re not making SOUP, here, though a little soupiness is good. Contradictory, yet, optimal.
Do not be tempted to taste a hotdog morsel at any time, especially now, when it all Smells So Good, please, just one, please? No. PLEASE? NO! Not because it’s unsafe because they’re “not cooked all the way through yet.” Hotdogs come pre-cooked, so you could, technically speaking, eat them straight out of the pack, sans warming, but, ugh. Yuck. Are you nuts? Eaten that way, they’d be Vienna sausages, and NO ONE likes Vienna sausages. No, keep your paws off the hotdog morsels because at some point in the meal you’ll go back for thirds or fourths and There Won’t Be Any Left because you were tempted earlier! Just warning you now, so you won’t be disappointed later. Balance is all.
When the potatoes are post-flaky, about-creamy-and-solid-y and you’ve convinced yourself no additional paprika could enhance this effort, give the contents a final stir and breathe in the aromas of your home-style, foreign-named fancy hotdog dish.
Scoop some into a bucket and eat. Wait. Strike that. Spoon some into bowls to share with your friends (or just to sample from different crockery if on your own). Enjoy.
A Second Aside
Pickles go well on the side. Also, chunks of artisanal bread, especially some doughy French thing. Hungarians know loads about confections and bakery delights but eff-all about French bread, despite the centuries of connection between the Hapsburgs and Bourbons. Look it up. Okay don’t. You wanna start a war or something?
A Note about Wine
Duh. Yes. Red. Plenty of.
Disclaimer: Instructions for making krumpli paprikash (paprikash krumpli*) are aspirational; individual chefs may discover avenues of exploration not disclosed in this recipe. My advice: Go For It.
*Because in Hungarian, you lead with the last name.