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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Horthobagyi Palacsinta (Horthobagy Savory Meat Crepe) Recipe

Can you ever have enough Hungarian food?
I'm going to go with a resounding "no".  So, for your enjoyment, I'm am giving you the recipe for "Horthobagyi Palacsinta" or in English, Hortobagy Savory Meat Crepe.

This is a family favorite of ours, and my mom and dad went on a little "day date" a couple months ago, and posted pictures of them eating it.  So, pregnant me wanted what I saw.  But, considering there are no Hungarian restaurants in my area, I figured it was up to me to fill that void.

Horthobagyi palacsintas are basically a crepe, filled with a savory meat filling, with some sour cream/paprika sauce poured overtop.  I have some Hungarian cook books, so I turned to them for help.  I found that you can basically use any meat to fill them, and that you basically follow a recipe for chicken paprikas for starters.  You can find my family's secret chicken paprikas recipe right here, however, just incase you're too lazy to click on the link, I'll give it to you right here.

You'll need:

Paprika Chicken:
Skinless/bones chicken breasts (approx. 1/2 breast/serving) (I used 6 breasts)
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp. paprika
1 large Vidalia onion
2 Hungarian wax peppers (I've been able to find them at Publix)
2 tomatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup of sour cream with 2 tsp flour mixed in.

Cut up the chicken breasts into bite sized cubes (traditionally Hungarians will use the legs, and whole breasts, but Mary and my mom adapted it a little to be kid-friendly, and I like it better this way).  Chop the onion as finely as possible.  The first time my mom made chicken paprika with Mary, she cut up the onion "finely", and showed it to Mary.  Mary said "are we feeding the army?".  My mom said "No", and Mary said, "Well, then it needs to be chopped finer".  Mind you, Mary is not a critical lady, but if she says the onions need to be chopped finely, they do.  You may feel like you want to use a food processor, however my mom said she tried that one time, and it didn't work, because the oils and the liquid from the onions separate from the actual onions, and it doesn't have the same taste.
Pour 1/4 cup of oil into a pot, put on med/high heat.  Once hot, add the onions.  
Stir them around in the oil until fully cooked through, but make sure not to brown them, it'll give your paprikas a burnt taste.  

Once they're cooked through, TAKE OFF HEAT.  This is important, because you're going to be adding the paprika, and it can burn easily if added while on the heat.  Also, at this point, you can add the 1 1/2 cup of wine.  Put it back on the heat, and bring to a boil.  

When it reaches a boiling point, add the chicken.  Mix it around, until the chicken doesn't look raw anymore.  

Not raw.
When you've achieved that, cut your two tomatoes and two pepper in half, take the seeds out of your peppers, and simply place them on the top.  Use medium sized tomatoes.  I used some large ones, and they let out too much juice.

Put the lid on the pot, change your heat to a medium heat, and set your timer for 30-40 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked all the way through, take out and discard the peppers and tomatoes.  Then add the sour cream to the chicken.  

Here's where it changes.  After this, separate meat from sauce (as well as you can), and mince the meat (you may want to add some 
of the sauce, to make the mincing easier).

This is where I entered into new territory.  My crepes weren't great.  I probably should've used a bigger (9 inch) pan, but I've never made crepes before.  Is there anything that I should be aware of before trying them again next time?  Is there some trick to it?

Anyway, here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
pinch of salt

Beat eggs, milk and salt in a mixing bowl.

Slowly add flour, stirring constantly.  The mixture should not be lumpy.

Let mixture stand for at least 30 minutes.
Pour tbsp of oil in pan, and fry up some crepes!

Once they're done, fill with minced meat (like a taco)

roll it up, tuck in ends, and pour sauce (that you separated from meat) overtop.

You can garnish with parsley, or Hungarian wax pepper, or tomatoes, or some extra sour cream.

Something that would go really well with this dish is what Hungarians call "savanyusag", which is basically pickled anything.  It's how they used to keep produce around while they were out of season.  Another classic would cut up vegetables, like tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, with some oil and vinegar drizzled on top.  Like this:

Here are a couple tips:
1. Make chicken paprikas for your family (with dumplings), and use the left over chicken to make these.
2. Know how to make crepes.  And then let me know. :)

Hope you enjoy these, and that they're a hit with your family too!


  1. I have a recipe from a crepe restaurant, The Magic Pan, for country beef palacsinta. It uses a beef stew (very small cubes) in a sour cream sauce, put inside a crepe. Used to make it for my family, and now am considering making it for a ladies' luncheon. Was looking for an authentic Hungarian crepe recipe. For your crepes, try adding 1 extra egg and 1 extra Tbs. oil or butter. That would be more like the one I have made in the past. Also, add pinch salt. Good luck. (Like your idea of putting chicken paprikash inside, also!)

    1. Thank you so much for the tip! I will definitely try it that way next time!