February 28, 2010

Szekely Kaposzta

Basically this is a pork, sauerkraut and cabbage dish, but its Hungarian name sounds sexier, or at least more exotic. I base my version of this winter stew on the more authentic recipe given to me by my mother-in-law. My changes consist of substituting Savoy cabbage for the more common one and adding carrots for a touch of sweetness to balance the acidity of the sauerkraut.  Before we married, my husband, on occasion, would cook for me, wooing me with Maria's savory and comforting dishes. His days of cooking for me are long gone (except for making pancakes) but I am not complaining because he does the dishes and clean-up. I think now of this stew as we hear (I hope) the last gasp of winter.  While most of the Hungarian and German stores have moved from Manhattan to Queens, there still is one where I can get the most delicious pork products and fresh sauerkraut but you can find all these ingredients in a supermarket. "Picnic" shoulder is part of the shoulder, somewhat fattier than shoulder blade, smoked and cured.
Makes 6-8 servings
4 tablespoons lard, goose fat or vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
1 pound Savoy cabbage, cut into fine shreds
2 heaping tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1&1/2-inch chunks
1 pound sauerkraut
1 pound smoked picnic shoulder, cut into 1&1/2-chunks
3/4-cup beef stock or water
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
1/4-cup minced fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the lard, fat or oil in a heavy 4-quart heavy casserole or Dutch oven. When the fat is very hot, add the onions, carrots and cabbage. Saute for about 3 minutes, cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring on occasion. Remove pot from the heat and stir in paprika and tomato paste. Mix well. Add the pork shoulder, cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Meanwhile drain and rinse sauerkraut (if packaged). After 30 minutes, add the sauerkraut to the pot along with the picnic shoulder, and stock or water, caraway seeds and salt.  Combine well simmer for another hour. Mix 1/2 of the sour cream with the flour and 1/2 of the dill.  Stir this into the stew and immediately remove from the heat. Taste for seasoning and add pepper to taste. Serve each serving with an additional dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill.


  1. This sounds really tasty! I'm a big fan of pork shoulder and have been slow cooking it in a crock pot with a few mexican spices for tacos but this will be a nice change. I'll try and make this soon but in Seattle it feels more like spring than winter.

  2. This is one of my favorite Hungarian dishes, not only because it is so delicious but also because it's so easy to make! I look forward to trying your version :)