Kohlrabi stew – Karalábéfőzelék
Kohlrabi belongs to the cabbage family, so if you enjoy cabbage, broccoli, and even Brussels sprouts, there’s a high chance you’ll also love kohlrabi. Kohlrabi’s taste and texture are similar to those of broccoli stems and cabbage, although it’s slightly sweeter. It has long leafy stems and a round bulb that’s usually purple, pale green, or white. It’s always white-yellow on the inside.
When buying kohlrabi, choose bulbs that are about three inches in diameter or less. Smaller kohlrabies have a more intensive taste, while larger bulbs tend to lack in flavor and may have woody sections on the inside. When the bulb is harvested too late it can become tough and woody. This can also happen when the weather turns hot in early summer.
In Hungary kohlrabi is a popular ingredient for soups, but it can also be stuffed or used to make főzelék. Karalábéfőzelék is a divisive food, however, if it’s well-prepared, kohlrabi stew can be a tasteful and delicious vegetable meal. I used Szoky’s recipe, which is made with a milky roux and enriched with butter.
- 7 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp flour
- 300 ml (~1 1/4 cups) milk
- 3 kohlrabies (gross weight approx. 800 g / ~1 3/4 lbs)
- 2 medium onions
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ground black pepper to taste
- a small bunch of parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 50 g (~3 1/2 tbsp) butter
First make the roux. In a saucepan heat 3 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, add flour and cook, while stirring constantly, until its color turns blond (it takes 1-2 minutes). Using a whisk mix in cold milk until smooth, then turn off the heat. Set aside and let the roux cool completely.
Peel and dice the kohlrabies, remove any woody section. Chop onions and garlic.
Heat 3 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a pot, add onions and garlic, and sauté until translucent. Add kohlrabi cubes and stir fry for 4-5 minutes. After that add sugar, salt and pepper, then pour in water just enough to cover the food (approximately 600-700 ml / 2 1/2 – 3 cups). Cover and over low heat slowly simmer until tender. Stir regularly and keep adding water.
Once the kohlrabi is done, combine roux and some hot cooking liquid, then pour the mixture to the kohlrabi while stirring continuously. Bring it to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add finely chopped parsley leaves and butter, and stir until the latter melts completely. Let the kohlrabi stew rest for 30-40 minutes before serving.