Though főzelék—which is best translated as ‘pottage’ seems like an outlier on a Hungarian menu filled with meat, carb-heavy sides, and pickles, it is actually a lunchtime staple as much as any gulyás or paprikás. Főzelék is the unheralded anchor of any étkezdé’s (lunch canteen) menu.
Főzelék is also hard to pin down as a dish. It is neither soup or stew, but somewhere in between. It’s comfort food, a delicious delivery system for vegetables, and a refreshingly light lunch option in a country where lunch is the day’s main meal.
Főzelék comes in many varieties including lentil, spinach, green pea, yellow pea, squash, potato, and sorrel (which may seem like an exotic flavour for a pottage, though with its earthy bitter bite, it is quite popular in the warmer months).
Pea főzelék 1200 grams of peas 3 tablespoons of butter 1 onion (the original recipe does not call for it, but as we know, onions are staple ingredients in the Hungarian cuisine, and they make everything taste better) 3 tablespoons of flour 2 dl of milk or sour cream parsley salt, pepper
If you are working with fresh peas, you first peel them (great communal activity). If you are working with frozen peas, take them out of the freezer for some time. Melt the butter and add the chopped onion. Let it cook a bit and add the peas. Let them steam together for a few minutes. Add the salt, pepper, parsley, and water to cover the mixture. Cook for 20 minutes.
Prepare your thickening in a bowl: mix the milk/sour cream with the flour and some of the juice of the főzelék. Slowly add your thickening to the saucepan and cook for 10 more minutes. Serve with fried eggs or some stew.
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If you’ve never tried it please make sure to ask for it when you travel to Hungary.
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