It's also inevitable that the Hungarian in me was going to come gushing out at an opportune time, and this is it. Hungarians are known for their paprika, but what's less known is that they also have a thing for dill. The mild pungent taste (unless you choose hot or smoked varieties) and rich orange color of paprika, the zesty flavor of dill and the creamy tang of sour cream are all very familiar and translate to comfort food around here. I guess you could say I'm partial. Many Hungarian dishes are finished with a sprinkle of vinegar, and this one is no exception. It adds a lively zest, especially welcome during warm summer days. I remember my dad always having a bottle of vinegar at the table to douse on the many soups and stews that were so common in our home.
Here is a recipe that will transform plenty of your zucchini overload into a rich saucy stew that is at home as a main or side dish. Here, I served it up with a quinoa lentil pilaf (not very Hungarian!) and red cabbage slaw, a perfect combo when you're looking for a light summer meal. And the next morning, a fried egg on top made a great breakfast!
serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side dish
1/4 cup oil, any kind (Hungarians love their goose fat!)
1 large onion, diced
2 Tb Hungarian paprika, sweet, hot or smoked (sometimes I do a combination)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (optional)
2 1/2 lbs zucchini, sliced into rounds or quartered rounds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
2 Tb flour
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tb plain vinegar to finish (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional sour cream to offer at the table, as desired
Into a jar put 1/2 cup water and 2 Tb all purpose flour. Cover and shake well. It should be lump free. Open jar and add 1/4 cup sour cream, replace lid and shake well again. Open jar and add , another 1/4 cup of water, replace lid and shake well again.
*Adding the sour cream to the flour and water slurry stabilizes it and prevents the sour cream from curdling as is simmers. Good trick to know if you love cooking with sour cream!
Into a large pan, heat oil and add the onions, cooking on medium low heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat so as not to burn the paprika; add the paprika and stir. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to develop the flavor. Return to heat and add the mushrooms, cooking for 2 minutes, then add the zucchini and salt, continue cooking covered until almost done, about 5 minutes. Stir in the dill and then the slurry, continuing to stir until it returns to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes letting the flour completely thicken . Add salt and pepper if necessary and finish with a tablespoon of plain vinegar if desired. At the table, add a dollop of sour cream...how very Hungarian!
*Try this with potato pancakes, as a crepe filling with lots of sour cream on the side, with rice, with eggs (as seen here), or just with simple parsleyed potatoes. You can use yellow squash instead, or all mushrooms, green or wax beans! This method of cooking vegetables is very common in Hungary and a great way to use all that garden goodness this summer!