Yield: 6 generous servings
Szeged, a city in southern Hungary, is famous for its paprika, which, along with sage and caraway, figures prominently in our version of this classic dish. Dumplings are a traditional and delicious accompaniment.
• 4 ounces lean bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 2 pounds boneless pork, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 large red onion, chopped coarsely
• 2 large cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
• 2 teaspoons caraway seed
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sweet marjoram or mild oregano
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cups apple juice or cider, or use frozen apple juice diluted with 2 parts water instead of 3
• 2 pounds sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
• 2–3 tart apples, cored and sliced
• 1 cup sour cream
Steamed diced or sliced red potatoes, spaetzle, or egg noodles tossed in a small amount of melted butter to moisten
Chopped fresh dill and parsley for garnish
In a large, deep roasting pan or Dutch oven, sauté bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving 1 to 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan. Add pork cubes gradually, stirring to brown on all sides. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until onion softens.
Sprinkle flour, paprika, and seasonings over vegetables and meat and stir to combine, letting mixture brown slightly. Add apple juice and sauerkraut; mix well. Reduce heat, cover, and cook about 45 minutes, or until meat is tender. Stir occasionally and add additional apple juice or water if needed.
During the last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in apples and simmer, covered, until apples are just tender. Do not overcook. Dish can easily be prepared ahead up to this point and then reheated.
When ready to serve, stir in sour cream, adding a small amount of liquid if meat mixture is too dry. There should be plenty of sauce. Heat through but do not boil. Serve with steamed red potatoes, spaetzle, or noodles. Garnish with dill, parsley, and reserved bacon, broken into pieces.
Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay are herbal sages who are now relocating from Cleveland, Texas, to the tiny central Texas town of Round Top, where they will continue writing, teaching, cooking, and gardening.
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