Combining meat and pancake is a common procedure all over the world, but the Hungarian Hortobágy-style pancake or crepe somehow stands out in the field of meaty specialties. Its origin is not as obvious as it sounds, but its recipe is just as time-consuming as it sounds. However, you must try to make it at home at least once in your life 🙂
Cookta.hu writes that even though the Hortobágy-style pancake is world-famous and is listed in all guide books as a Hungarian specialty, it’s actually not a real Hungarikum: it has nothing to do with the Hortobágy puszta (grassland biome on the Great Hungarian Plain) and it doesn’t look back on a long history. Still, it is very delicious when prepared properly, and it is still one of the most popular specialties you can get in Hungary.
The Hortobágy-style pancake was created for the 1958 world exhibition in Brussels (just like the Rákóczi cottage cheese cake, earlier) by a Hungarian chef, who thought that naming the meaty pancake Hortobágyi would be a great marketing plan. He filled the pancakes with veal stew. Thanks to its unique flavour it spread quite quickly among the visitors of the exhibition.
According to origo.hu, a very similar recipe is featured in a 1939 cookbook that was published by Andrea Kolmanné Lemhényi Dávid. She describes a pancake filled with veal stew and topped with sour cream mixed with gravy, which needs to be roasted in the oven. This is basically the gist of the Hortobágy-style pancake.
It is frequently referred to as the ultimate “leftover-saver” dish, because stew meals and pancakes are staples in the Hungarian cuisine, and you can also recycle other type of leftover bits in the filling. However, this is exactly why most people don’t suggest ordering it in a restaurant, only in trusty ones.
This great meal is actually a warm starter, but it is so filling that it stands its ground as a main course as well. It’s not the quickest dish, it requires several phases, but if you desire a truly divine Hungarian savoury meal, you should definitely try this recipe at home.
Regarding the recipe, it’s hard to choose the “real” one, because several variations have been created. It is commonly made with the meat of chicken thighs due to its juiciness. The key to the recipe probably lies in the quality of the paprika and sour cream that characterise many Hungarian meals.
For the pancake
- 5 dl of milk
- 250 grams of flour
- 2 eggs
For the filling
- 500 grams of chicken things
- 1 onion
- 1 pepper
- 1 tomato
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- 5 dl of oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 dl of sour cream
- 2 tablespoons of flour
First, prepare the stew. Chop up the onion and simmer it in the oil in a pan. After a few minutes, add the chopped up paprika and tomato, and roast them together for a bit. Then, add the spices and the crushed garlic cloves. Add the chicken thighs (in whole) and let them cook in the covered pan on low heat for 40-45 minutes. If the juice cooks away, add some water so that the meat softens.
While the stew is cooking, make the pancakes. Mix together all the ingredients, and let the batter sit for 10-20 minutes. Heat up a pan, add some oil and a ladle of the batter. Move the pan in circular motions so that the batter spreads evenly. Cook your pancakes on both sides and set them aside.
After the chicken thighs have cooked, take them out of the pan, debone and shred the meat with the help of a fork and a knife. Pure the shredded meat and some of the stew gravy with a mixer. This is the filling for the pancakes. Stir together the flour and the sour cream, and thicken the leftover gravy with the mixture. This is the sauce.
Fill the pancakes with the meat mixture, and roll them up into smaller reels or squares. Pour some sauce on top of them. At this point you can either bake them in the oven for a little time, or serve it as it is. Add some more sour cream on the very top, decorate it with parsley if you’d like, and you’re done 🙂
Featurd image: Wiki Commons By I, Themightyquill