Imre and Anthony Halasz, two brothers who are natives of Budapest, own a Boston architectural firm. They have designed buildings and done city planning in South and Central America and Europe as well as New England. They have cosmopolitan tastes in food, but they grow ecstatic when they reminisce about the foods of their childhood.
Their mother, Juliana Fodor, has kept a large file of recipes from her homeland. With her help, and with much trial and error, we finally produced a traditional meal, including a pastry called Rigo Jancsi, which is a true conversation piece at the end of a superb dinner.
The basic menu is simple. To be truly Hungarian, it had to start with soup. Tony Halasz suggested a simple chicken soup, using any good canned soup, with homemade chicken liver dumplings.
This was followed by Layered Cabbage, a sauerkraut and sausage casserole that's easy to prepare as the soup and dumplings and won the same amount of delighted approval from the guests. Fresh watercress was the tasty and colorful garnish. Layered Cabbage 2 pounds sauerkraut, drained and rinsed 1/2 cups uncooked rice 1 cup beef broth 1 cup soured cream 1/2 cup milk 1 large onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled 3 tablespoons lard 1 pound pork, ground 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika 1/2 pound smoked bacon, diced 1/2 pound smoked sausage (preferably Debrecen), peeled and sliced thinly.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Simmer sauerkraut in 1 cup water for 15 minutes. Drain completely. Boil rice in 1 cup beef broth. Mix soured cream and milk in a small saucepan and warm to room temperature.
Saute onion and garlic in lard until onions are golden. remove garlic. Add pork and brown completely. Add paprika and stir.
In another skillet, saute bacon. Add sausage and toss. Drain the bacon fat into a large, deep casserole and spread over the bottom and sides.
Spread one-third of the sauerkraut over the bottom of the casserole. Add all of the bacon and sausage mixture, then another one-third of the sauerkraut. Pour half the soured cream mixture over this layer.
Add half the boiled rice, then half the pork and onion mixture. Repeat, using remaining boiled rice and pork. The top layer is the final third of the sauerkraut. Pour the remaining soured cream mixture over all. Bake 45 minutes. Serves 6. Chicken Liver Dumplings For Soup 3 chicken livers 2 eggs 2 tablespoons melted chicken fat 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs 2 tablespoons flour, approximately 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes Salt and pepper 5 cans (13 3/4 ounces each) clear chicken broth
Make a pulp of chicken livers using a mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Let rest for several hours, covered and refrigerated.
Heat the soup until barely simmering. Make little dumplings, using about 1 tablespoon batter for each, and drop into the soup.
Simmer for 10 minutes, covered. Serves 6. Rigo Jancsi Pastries 8 ounces semisweet chocolate 1 tablespoon (scant) powdered cocoa 1/3 cup sugar 3 tablespoons flour 6 eggs, separated 1 whole egg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 12 by 18 inch jellyroll pan and flour lightly.
Crush chocolate until powdery. Add cocoa, sugar, and flour and mix well.
Beat egg yolks until pale yellow. Add whole egg and beat. Slowly add chocolate mixture and incorporate well.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Stir into the egg and chocolate mixture. Spread the batter evenly in the baking sheet. Bake for minutes, until brown on top and tests done. The cake will be about 3/4 inch thick. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Cut cake in half. One half will become the bottom. Make the chocolate glaze for the top half. Chocolate Glaze 2 ounces semisweet chocolate 3 tablespoons butter
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Beat the butter into the chocolate, a little at a time. Remove from heat, and beat until spreading consistency. Spread smoothly on the top half of the cake, using a spatula.
When cool, cut the top half of the cake into 3-inch squares. Filling 2 1/2 cups heavy cream 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar 3 tablespoons (scant) cocoa
Whip cream until very stiff. Very slowly, add sugar, then cocoa, continuing to whip.
Spread the filling on the bottom half of the cake. It should be at least 1 1 /2 inches high.
Place the cake squares on top. Cut the cake squares all the way through, using a sharp knife dipped in hot water after each slice.
The finished pastry should be at least 3 inches high.