Hungarian fish soup (Halászlé)
is one of the most popular Christmas dishes. It is a hot soup prepared with mixed freshwater/river fish. Even though Hungary is not a “nation of fishermen”, the native fish soup is considered to be a national specialty. Traditionally, fish soup is prepared in a small kettle on an open fire by real fishermen. It is made in many different ways, but all recipes contain onions and ground red paprika among their ingredients and always served with fresh, white bread.
Ingredients for 4 people:
500 grams (18 ounces) of carp tail
500 grams (18 ounces) catfish fillet
1 onion, chopped finely
1 good tablespoon of pork lard or 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2-3 tablespoons of sweet red paprika powder
6 cups of water
In a soup pot, mix the paprika powder in melted pork lard or vegetable oil. (To release paprika’s flavor you must dissolve it in oil or lard.)
Pour over 6 cups of water, salt it and cook the carp tail with the chopped onions until fish is tender, the meat falls off the bone.
Take the fish out and remove the meat from the bones and press it through a strainer back into the soup broth.
Place the catfish fillets into the soup and cook it for a couple of minutes, until fish is tender.