Friday, November 22, 2013

Modern Day Fisherman’s Soup – Halászlé

Combine ingredients to simmer (I recommend a dutch oven)

We all know that fish (not farm raised)  is healthy.  But there are times when I really don’t feel like eating baked or pan friend fish, even if marinated, breaded or prepared in an interesting way.  Yet, I know, I should make fish because it’s so good for you.  Today was one of those days and in a desperate attempt,  I ended up making one of my favorite ways to consume fish and it wasn’t even that difficult.

My mother always made this dish for Christmas.  Her version was a lot more complicated.  She would buy the live fish (we lived in the city, so there were special stores for this), scale it, etc., etc.  Since I had no pets, I really looked forward to bringing the fish home because I got to play with the fish for a day or a few hours. This modern day version doesn’t involve the extensive preparation.  Yet the authentic flavor is still created.  My mother did add fish eggs to the soup; that is the one missing ingredient.


In a dutch oven (I do believe that cooking in a  dutch oven does result in a better flavor –the more even heating results in better soups, stews and sauces).

32 oz.  non farm raised Cod fillets cut into chunks
2 medium yellow onions-diced
2-3 cloves of garlic-chopped
2 heaping teaspoons of Paprika
1 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce
1 carton  of organic chicken broth
1 tsp. of salt
2-3 saffron threads
freshly ground pepper
2-3 tsp. of soy butter
½ tsp. oregano
¼ ts. Organic garlic powder
½ tsp.-1 tsp Worchester Sauce

1.     Sautee onion until almost translucent (approximately)
2.     Add garlic, stir for a few minutes
3.     Add two heaping tablespoons of authentic Hungarian paprika and stir quickly
4.     Add tomato sauce – stir
5.     Add fish chunks - stir
6.     Add chicken stock - stir
7.     Add approximately 1 cup of water (this is visual…add until it looks right…not too watery not too thick) - stir
8.     Add Worcester sauce, oregano, salt and garlic powder – stir
9.     Add saffron threads

1 Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer for about 20-25 minutes (make sure it’s a gentle simmer so that the fish doesn’t get ripped apart-also always stir gently)
Let stand for 5 minutes or so

Serve with crusty French bread (can garnish with parsley).

This Fisherman’s Soup was part of the traditional dinner during Christmas Eve.  During the past ten years I was able to find this soup in a Hungarian restaurant called Paprikas (initially in Chicago, then in Arlington Heights).   This restaurant closed several years ago and it took about five years for me to attempt to cook it. The dutch oven is a great substitute for the traditional bogracs  (kettle used to cook over the fire) that the fisherman used as they made this soup on the shores of the Danube.   There are variations of this soup; some add green peppers or other vegetables.  I prefer this version due to  the balance between the tasty broth and fish.

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1 comment:

  1. I made a variation of this....added poblano peppers, some finely diced potatoes and parsnips. And then I also made a Hungarian noodle called Csipetke. Its delicious....