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Hungarian Seven Chieftains Tokany

Ingredients
  • 1/4 pound bacon, smoked
  • 1 pound beef, lean
  • 3/4 pound pork shoulder
  • 3/4 pound veal shoulder
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika, sweet
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram, dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed, crushed
  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced 1/2" wide
  • 3 medium tomatoes, canned
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
Instructions

Cut up each of the meats in to strips, sized about like french fries, i.e. 1/4" by 1/4 " x 2". Keep the meats in separate bowls. In a large cocotte or deep skillet, fry the bacon until just golden. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside, but leave the rendered fat in the skillet. Put the onion in the still hot fat and saute until transparent. If you need a little more oil, add some cooking oil or lard. Before the onions turn golden, add the paprika, the marjoram and the caraway, and immediately add a cup of warm water. Do not allow the spices to fry because the paprika will turn bitter quickly. In a separate heavy, skillet, heat some more oil and start browning the beef. Do this a little at a time, as you want the meat to become well browned. The best order is beef first, then pork, and finally veal (The toughest meat first. Beef should be top round or flank.) As they are done, transfer them to the skillet containing the onion and spices, which should be at a light simmer. Add more hot water as necessary to keep the meat and onion covered. Let the beef cook an hour before you do the pork. Brown the pork strips and transfer as before, but this time add the tomatoes and pepper strips to the pot after the pork, cover and continue to simmer. Brown the veal and add to the pot after the pork has cooked 1/2 hour. Let cook another 1/2 hour and then test to be sure all the meats are tender. If they are not, simmer until they are. At this point, remove the tokany from the heat and allow it to stand for 5-10 minutes, then degrease the dish with a fat separator. Add the beef stock and bring back to the simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon strips, remove from heat and allow to stand until lukewarm. While the tokany is cooling, bring the sour cream to room temperature. When the tokany is sufficiently cooled, whip the cream a little in a bowl, then add a half-ladle of the juice to the sour cream and whip it in with a fork. Repeat. Add the cream to the pot and fold it into the liquid. If the liquid is too hot, the cream will curdle. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Gently reheat to serving temperature and remove to the table, where the meat and gravy are served over galuska, a noodle that is much like German-Austrian spaetzle. You can substitute wide egg noodles with no loss of flavor. NOTES : According to tradition, this dish was first served in the reign of King Mattias (Matthias) of Hungary in the 16th century. The occasion of a the dinner was the celebration of a truce among the seven warring tribes. One story has each of the chieftains (vezerek) providing an ingredient on behalf of his people. The seven ingredients are the four meats, tomatoes, peppers and sour cream.

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