Traveling through Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia

Dobre Doshly” – Traditional Bulgarian “Welcome”
Mananca cu paine" (Bread) with Salt and Honey
w/ a shot of Pálinka (a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy)

     For us, it was like reliving our trip through Eastern Europe this morning as we prepared a typical menu during an Abilene Parks and Rec class that we held at our house. We reminisced about the sights in Europe and even wore traditional garb. Class members helped prepare the dishes listed in the menu below.
     Check out the tab above, “Upcoming Classes” for a list of other scheduled classes.

At -home class -- ready to try out the Dobostorte.
Bulgarian Chicken Paprikash Soup
Serbian Cucumber Salad
Hungarian Fillet of Pork
w/ Lesco (pepper, potato & tomato stew)
Hungarian Dobostrorte

Bulgarian Chicken Paprikash Soup                Makes 8 servings
This is a recipe similar to a broth-based soup we ate in a charming restaurant in Arbanasi, Bulgaria.  The restaurant grounds also housed a “zoo” of local animals and there was even a hammock where guests could recline.

3 to 4 tablespoon oil or butter
2 cups diced onion
At-home class - finishing up the main course.

1 cup diced celery
1 green pepper, diced
½ to 1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
4 to 6 cups chicken stock or more as needed
2 cups canned tomatoes, diced
½ to ¾ cup sour cream (or leave out if you prefer a clear soup)
2 lbs. cooked chicken meat, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional sour cream and paprika for garnish, if desired

1.     In a large soup pot, heat the oil or butter and sauté the onion, celery, green pepper, and mushrooms until soft. 
2.     Add the paprika and 4 to 6 cups chicken stock.  Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer.  Add the diced tomatoes and additional chicken broth as needed. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.  Add the sour cream if using.  Add the chicken meat; heat through. 
3.     To serve:  ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of paprika if desired.

Hungarian Paprika
Hungarian paprika powder gives a unique taste and fiery color to typical Hungarian meals.  Fresh paprika has the flavor of the peppers it was ground from. Hungarian paprika can range in flavor from mild and sweet to fiery hot.
Classic Hungarian sweet paprika is the most popular (and generally the one used in recipes calling for paprika – it is prepared from a mild paprika pepper that lacks the high concentrations of capsaicin found in other peppers.  This results is a robust flavor (often described as deep, sweet and earthy) without much heat. 
To retain the full flavor of paprika — store in a cool, dry area away from light exposure.

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