The Palóc soup is frequently referred to as the summerly version of the goulash soup. Even though its name suggests that it originates from North Hungary, it actually has nothing to do with the Palóc ethnic group. It is believed that it was inspired by Kálmán Mikszáth, one of the most famous Hungarian writers.
Origo.hu thinks that the Palóc soup is like the vet’s horse: many of the Hungarian cuisine’s characteristics can be demonstrated with the help of the soup.
The story starts with János Gundel, the founder of the famous Gundel dynasty. Mindmegette.hu writes that he left Bavaria in 1857 to try his luck in Hungary. His career was an instant success. In 1867, he was asked to organise the ceremonial feast after the crowning of Franz Joseph, and he opened his own restaurant two years later.
His guests included the “celebrities” of the time: Kálmán Tisza, István Tisza, Ferenc Liszt, Mór Jókai and Kálmán Mikszáth. This is where the facts end and legends start.
According to one of the stories, Kálmán Mikszáth asked János Gundel to create a meal that was new and featured the most important characteristics of the Hungarian cuisine.
If this is true, then the chef lived up to the expectations as he basically created a goulash soup combined with green beans, dill and sour cream.
However, others believe that Gundel made the soup for the birthday of Mikszáth, “the greatest Palóc”. Other documents claim that the dish was made for the inauguration of the Mikszáth Hall in István Főherceg Hotel in 1894.
Whatever the truth may be, János Gundel created a great meal: a green bean lamb soup with sour cream and dill. The Palóc soup became the elemental part of Hungarian gastronomy throughout history.
According to the original recipe, the base of the soup is a stew made from hogget/lamb, but if you have a kick at the tallow meat, you can substitute it with beef or pork. The key of the dish is the fresh dill and the sourish flavour, which you can achieve with vinegar, tarragon vinegar or lemon.
Clean and cut up the meat into cubes. Chop up the onion and start cooking it on the fat. After a few minutes, take it off the heat and sprinkle it with paprika. Then add the meat, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Pour in the chicken or bone stock so that it covers the meat. Cover the pan and steam the meat on low heat.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the potatoes and the green beans. Put them into separate pans with salty water and cook them. When the meat is almost done, add the garlic cloves, the cumin and the vegetables with their cooking water. If you still find it to be too thick, add some more broth. Finally, thicken it with sour cream and serve it with fresh dill.
Featured image: www.mindmegette.hu
Source: Daily News Hungary