SÁRGABABFŐZELÉK or Wax Bean Stew

This is one of my favorite meals. Growing up I ate a lot of Fozelek which translates to “cooked  down” which would translate to “comfort food”.  If there is a large harvest of anything, too much to eat or is the type of vegetable that won’t keep well in the cellar, then “fozni le kell”  which means to cook it down to preserve it. Fruits and all types of vegetables are made this way and a true homegrown kitchen has rows and rows of lovely jars full of these preserves. Nothing is as beautiful as a food pantry stocked with amazing colors and shapes stuffed inside glass jars.

My favorite two favorite bean stews are made with the flat Italian green beans and the  delicate wax beans, this is what I’m picking today. As soon as the sun goes down a bit that is. It’s ridiculously hot and humid, 97 degrees it said in the car, the news said 80 something, to me it’s global overheating. Later when I hose the chicken salad bar and courtyard then I’ll pick todays bowl of beans.

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It’s a rather time consuming prep time, but it’s worth it.
Remove the stem ends from the beans, then snap them into pieces. Awhile ago I got lazy and cut them up in a bunch and it did go faster, but then I had these little cut bean seeds floating in the soup, floaties are not stylish, reminds me of a cook in the old country that didn’t butcher a chicken properly, just hacked it up and there were bone shards floating everywhere. How they didn’t die slow deaths from perforations I’ll never know.
Anyway, back to the zen exercise of snapping beans,  snap away until you have a nice big potful, about 6 cups.

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Traditionally, this stew is made of just wax beans, but in roux it looks bland and I like the zing of tomato and the sweetness of carrot in there too.

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Chop up a medium onion and cook it down in a large dollop of butter until it’s sweet and translucent. Add the beans and water to just cover with a healthy tablespoon of Vegeta
add also a large bay leaf whole. I love the flavor so I add a few, then toss in couple of fresh garlic cloves for good measure.

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I’ve also used these and it’s all good, but Vegeta is the one our family uses except Kathy who makes her own everything, she’s a great cook, even the grandkids admit that. Vegeta is the brand thats always stocked in Hungarian and european shops, originally created 50 years ago in Croatia. My family was never without it, I ran out and had to order from amazon, so today I’m using Osem consommé. Eight tablespoons to be exact.

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Now let that cook down until the beans soften, doesn’t take long at all. At this point I’ll scald the skin off some tomatoes, one large or a few smaller, chop them in large pieces and add to the fozelek. Today I added two green zebra and a cherokee purple. Add chopped parsley, cook for a minute and adjust seasoning.

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Now the Roux, Rántás or thickening agent mix 2 tbs flour and 2tbs oil in a fry pan, add more oil if it’s not creamy and cook till it had a little golden color but not until its brown with a strong nutty flavor.

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Add about two cups cold water and whisk until thick then add back to fozelek. Stir in a heaped teaspoon red Hungarian paprika, or I used my favorite crushed sweet paprika. Four tablespoons of it.

 


Adjust seasoning, add salt or more paprika and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a side of bread. In winter or for more heartier appetites we also will make a pörkölt (beef stew) as well and put a large dollop of stew in the center.

To add an additional level of flavor, instead of salt add 1 tablespoon flavored vinegar.
To make that 1/2 cup water, half cup vinegar, 6 bay leaves, tablespoon peppercorns. Cook down, pour in a jar and refrigerate. Use as needed.

6 cups wax beans
1 spanish onion chopped
3 garlic cloves
Vegeta or Osem seasoning
2 med carrots
2 small tomatoes, skinned and chopped in chunks
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oil
        *cold water
4 tbs Edes Anna sweet fresh paprika
1/2 cup sour cream
* sour cream for serving
*flavored vinegar for serving

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Another way to make this awesome dish is to use pickled beans or vinegar beans as we called them. To make that you don’t cook down the beans, just make the roux, stock with seasoning then add the beans at the end and omit the extra vinegar at serving.

 

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