The Palóc is an ethnic group that came from the east in the 9th century and settled in the Cserháter hills, northeast of Budapest, on the border with Slovakia. Despite their origins, their dialect, their costumes and the architecture of their homes, which sets them apart from the Hungarians in other parts of the country, the Palóc have long been considered “real” Hungarians. Their number is estimated at 200,000, but the distinction between different communities is hardly possible because of the extensive modernization, let alone that it makes sense. After all, no one wears traditional costumes any more, and who still speaks dialect except at mother’s kitchen table? All regional differences are slowly disappearing, there as well as anywhere. What remains is folklore. If you want a little taste of that, the village of Hollókő, on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1987, is the place to be.
This goulash soup is not on that list, but it is still very much around. It is called a “leves”, a soup, but it is really a genuine Hungarian goulash: a very, very wet stew of meat, potatoes and onions, seasoned with paprika.
600 gr. lean lamb
1 big red onion
1 clove garlic
400 gr. green beans
2 large potatoes
1 small bunch of parsley
3 tbsp. lard or oil
1 tsp. hot paprika
1 tsp. ground caraway
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. flour
2 dl. sour cream
Wash the meat, dry it and cut in cubes. Chop the onion and the garlic. Melt the lard in a pot and sauté the onion until translucent. Increase the heat and add the meat. Season with garlic, caraway an bay leaf, sear until brown, sprinkle with paprika and quench with 1½ l. of water. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the meat is tender.
Peel the potatoes and cut in cubes. Clean the green beans and cut in 2 or 3. Add it to the meat, cover it and let it simmer until done.
Mix the flour with the sour cream an add it to the goulash. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the paloc goulash with chopped parsely and serve.