Vadas is a popular preparation method of game meat, but it works well with beef, too. Vadas or hunter style meat is a complex and rich dish with the fine balance of sweet and sour aromas. The meat is braised with a lot of vegetables, which are pureed after they have been cooked. Sweetness and the nice brown color of the sauce comes from the caramel, mustard and lemon juice are the sources of its sourish taste. The main spices of vadas are black pepper corns, bay leaf and juniper berries, the latters have a slightly piney flavour with a touch of both fruitiness and pepperiness.
The traditional vadas is served with zsemlegombóc/bread roll dumplings. Bread rolls are diced and toasted first, then stirred into a thick batter. The dumplings are seasoned with finely chopped parsley, and if you want to give it a twist, you can add some grated smoked cheese to the dough. The cooking time of the dumplings is about 10 minutes, but if you want to play safe, take out a ball and cut it into half to check if it’s done.
- 6 slices of beef (rump stake or eye of round – approx. 900 g / 2lbs)
- 2 tbsp oil or lard
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 2 parsley roots, chopped
- a small slice of celeriac (approx. 80 g / 3 oz), chopped
- 50 ml (~1/4 cup) dry red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 black pepper corns
- 2 dried juniper berries
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 1-1,5 liters (~4-6 cups) stock or water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 100 ml (~1/2 cup) water
- 3/4 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp flour
- 3-4 tbsp sour cream
- lemon juice to taste
For the bread roll dumplings:
- 4 stale bread rolls
- 200 g (~1 2/3 cups) flour
- 150 ml (~2/3 cup) water
- 2 eggs
- 50 g (~1/4 cup) melted butter
- 15 g fresh yeast (1 1/2 tsp dry yeast)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 80 g (~3 oz) smoked cheese, grated (optional)
- a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
In a rondeau pan heat the oil or lard and fry the meat until golden brown on both sides. Remove the beef, add finely chopped onions and sauté until they are translucent. Add chopped carrots, parsley roots and celeriac, and brown them a bit. Pour in red wine and cook for a minute. Place the meat back in the pan and pour in stock or water, just enough to cover the food. Add salt, black pepper corns, bay leaves and juniper berries, give it a good stir, then cover and slowly simmer until the meat is tender (it takes about 2-3 hours).
Once the beef is tender, remove the meat slices from the pan and with a hand blender purée the vegetables.
In a saucepan caramelize 2 tablespoons of sugar until medium amber. Pour in 100 ml/1/2 cup of water and cook until the caramel dissolves in it. Add the vegetable purée, flour and mustard, and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil and cook for a minute. Turn off the heat, and add sour cream and lemon juice to the sauce.
For the bread roll dumplings cut the bread rolls into 1/2 inch cubes and place them in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Toast the cubes in the oven preheated to 180°C until they get a nice golden color. In a bowl mix together flour, water, melted butter, eggs, yeast, salt and pepper, and leave the batter to rest for 20 minutes. Add the toasted bread cubes, grated cheese and finely chopped parsley to the thick batter and knead to combine. With wet hands shape the dough into 12-14 balls. Let the dumplings rest for 15 minutes. Bring a pot of salty water to a boil and cook the dumplings for about 10 minutes.