Transylvanian beef stew with polenta

by | May 14, 2015 | Meat dishes

Transylvanian beef stew belongs to the large family of tokány, which is a kind of stew that doesn’t contain paprika, seasoned with black pepper and tomato instead. Tokány is not equal with pörkölt; the recipe of pörkölt hasn’t been changed over the last two hundreds years, whereas the description of tokány is remarkably gaudy and diverse.

Seeing the variety of recipes you might think that any kind of stew can be called tokány, but if you read old Hungarian cookbooks, you wouldn’t find any dish called tokány, only stews made in tokány style. So the word tokány rather refers to a method of preparation than a special dish.

In some regions of Transylvania the word tokány means mush or polenta instead of a meat dish. Polenta is a common, comforting and cheap meal, which is made from coarsely ground cornmeal,  cooked on the stove into a thick, solidified mush with any combination of water, milk, cream and butter. It can be served creamy, or chilled and cut into squares and then baked or fried. In Hungary, polenta is known as puliszka and is often served as a side dish of ragouts or stews.

Transylvanian beef stew
Transylvanian beef stew with polenta – photo:
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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

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