Geographic locations have always been favoured constituents when naming meals. They are easy to remember and imply some kind of tradition. However, they can be misleading, because many times they have nothing to do with the actual place. This is probably the case when speaking about roast á la Brasov (brassói aprópecsenye), which has several origin stories.
Unraveling the story of the name of roast á la Brasov is not an easy task, because quite a few people claim to be the “godfathers”. According to beol.hu, some people believe that it was Nándor Gróf, the chef of the Hungarian State Railways, who created the recipe in 1948 on the train circulating between Budapest and Brasov.
However, master chef György Dózsa claims the recipe was first shared in a 19th century cookbook, which defines it as a meal from Brasov. According to him, it should be a garlic beef pot made with potatoes roasted on fat and garlicy beef.
The next story is about Endre Papp, the onetime head of the Mátyás Cellar of Vienna, who said that it was him who created the roast. He made it for a “food innovation” competition on the 17th of September, 1950.
He called the dish “á la Brasov” because he still remembered the Treaty of Trianon, and the name of Cluj Napoca (Kolozsvár) was already taken.
Still, the locals of Óbuda (Budapest’s 3rd district) argue that the recipe was created by the wife of the Weiss Pub’s owner as a one-pot meal (made with marjoram-onion pork and egg barley) for the birthday of master carpenter Károly Brassóy.
So the meal has probably nothing to do with Brasov, and the “apró” (tiny) qualifier was only added to the Hungarian name as a joke, when someone accidentally cut the meat into pieces that were too small.
The most credible story is found in Sándor Csáky’s The Gastronomy of the 20th century, where he writes that the roast á la Brasov was originally made with tenderloin, tomato, mushroom and egg barley by an unknown chef.
According to foodandwine.hu, the dish is characterised by a constant evolution, as more and more versions are created. Some people cut the potato and meat into cubes, some cut them into sticks. Some people like to add peas, while others prefer it without the vegetable.
We tried to pick a very juicy, hearty recipe with which you’re guaranteed to impress your guests 😉
Cut up the meat, the lard and the bacon into cubes. Roast the lard and the bacon until the pieces become crunchy. Take out the pieces and add the meat to the leftover fat. After a few minutes, add the paprika, the tomatoes cut into cubes and the hot pepper as well.
Add the finely chopped garlic and cook the mixture on low heat for about 90 minutes (stir it from time to time). You can add some water if you feel like the mixture is about to burn, but the gravy should remain thick.
When the meat mixture is almost ready, roast the potatoes cut into cubes on some oil. After they have cooked through, put them on blotting-paper. When the meat has softened, add the greaves and the potatoes, and serve it right away.
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Source: Daily News Hungary