If you’re vegetarian or simply don’t feel like eating meat, this mushroom paprikash is a good foray into the world of paprika-spiked Hungarian classics. The dish works best with basic white or cremini mushrooms that don’t overwhelm the rich and creamy sauce.
Yield: 4 servings; Total time: 45 minutes
For the paprikash
700 grams (1 ½ pounds) white or cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) long, thin slices
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 pinches freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 ripe medium tomato, peeled and cut into very small pieces (or puréed into smooth paste using an immersion blender)
1 Hungarian wax pepper or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into very small pieces (or puréed into smooth paste using an immersion blender)
¼ cup of water
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
For the egg dumplings (galuska)
400 grams (3 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
100 ml (½ cup) water
3 pinches of salt
Step 1: Heat oil or lard in a large pot or skillet over medium-high, then add minced onion and sauté until translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
Step 2: Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in paprika, minced garlic, the small bits of tomato and yellow pepper, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Add ¼ cup of water, place lid on pot or skillet, and let it steam-cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Add mushrooms and continue cooking at a low simmer until mushrooms are soft and lightly browned, about 12 minutes.
Step 4: While mushroom is cooking, prepare the egg dumplings by mixing egg, flour, oil, water, and salt. Knead them into a runny dough, then using a strainer board, shave coarse bits of dough into a large pot filled with 3 liters (3.2 quarts) of simmering salted water. Scoop out the galuska with a strainer when they appear on the surface a few minutes later. Drizzle with a generous amount of oil and mix well so they don’t stick together, then put aside.
Step 5: In a medium bowl, mix together sour cream and flour (reserve 2 tablespoons of sour cream). Ladle a few spoons of the hot cooking juices from the pot into the sour cream mixture and stir to combine.
Step 6: Turn off the heat and add sour cream mixture and chopped parsely to the pot and stir well. Turn heat to medium and let the sauce thicken into a creamy consistency at a low simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Step 7: Taste the sauce for salt and add more if needed. Serve the mushroom paprikash and the dumplings side by side on a dinner plate, drizzling any leftover parsley and sour cream on top. You can prepare a simple cucumber salad for the side.
Words of advice
Instead of dumplings, people also serve the mushroom paprikash with rice on the side.
I created these recipes with the help of nearly a dozen historical Hungarian cookbooks, adjusting ingredients, cooking times, and methods to reflect my own preferences and tastes of the current day.