The Dracula Book Club Eats Together
In the story of Dracula, Hungarian food makes an appearance. (For a little more Dracula fun, you can join Matt Kirkland’s inbox Dracula Book Club, here and come have a spicy time reading the classic in community!)
Chicken paprikash or paprikás csirke (referred to as paprika hendl in the novel) is a traditional Hungarian dish, also popular in Bulgarian cuisine, Czechoslovakia, and Romania.
We decided to try it out as part of the Dracula Bookclub, after seeing lots of people agree with Jonathan Harker that the dish is super delicious. We took out the chicken, and the dairy, which most (but not all) versions of the recipe include.
From Jonathan Harker’s journal (in Dracula, chapter one):
We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem., get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called “paprika hendl,” and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians. I found my smattering of German very useful here; indeed, I don’t know how I should be able to get on without it. … Towards morning I slept and was wakened by the continuous knocking at my door, so I guess I must have been sleeping soundly then. I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridge of maize flour which they said was “mamaliga,” and egg-plant stuffed with forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they call “impletata.” (Mem., get recipe for this also.)
Paprika Potatoes and Chickpeas
2 tbsp butter-flavored coconut oil
1 pound small potatoes, cut into half-inch cubes and soaked
2 16-oz cans chickpeas
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato sauce (or leftover tomato soup)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
vegetable stock, enough to cover ingredients in pot
small handful of salt
black pepper to taste
small handful of starch, to thicken
Put avocado oil & butter-flavored coconut oil into the pan with your onions. Keep cooking until onions are nice and brown. Add the garlic, potatoes and red peppers. When they have been cooking until soft, add and stir the spices (except the salt and pepper), and then add the liquids and chickpeas. Keep cooking until the dish reaches desired thickness.
100 grams corn flour
1/2 litre of water, or however much you need
Boil water with salt, pour corn flour into it. Stir without stopping until it’s gotten thick and done.
We decided to eat ours with sauerkraut as well, since we had some on hand. Of course, we dipped into our stash of red sauerkraut, because, Dracula.
Dracula Hungarian recipe, vegetarian paprikash—photo by Tamara Gak on Unsplash. Recipe and post by Sara Barkat, author of mild-horror story collection The Shivering Ground.
“Stunning…from start to finish. Barkat is a fierce new voice.”
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L.L. Barkat says
This dish was SOOO good. Thank you for making it (and writing about it).
I’m having such fun with this book club!