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Hungarian sausage – Kolbász (KOOL-bahss)

Kolbász is the generic Hungarian word for sausage. The varieties are dizzying as each region in Hungary has its own take on standard sausages. They can be baked or boiled, dried or smoked and in mild, medium or spicy heat varieties. Hungarian sausages are eaten as cold cuts with bread or on appetizer trays, or used to flavor stews, soups, casseroles and other dishes. We mainly use pork sausage, but beef, goose, horse and turkey sausages are also available. The main spices are the Hungarian paprika powder, garlic, ground caraway seeds and pepper.

Different types of sausages:

Dried or smoked sausage (száraz kolbász, füstölt kolbász): It is ready to eat, no need to cook it. You can have it with bread and butter and make sausage bites for breakfast and dinner, or make it as a sandwich and place the sausage between 2 slices of bread. This sausage can also be used in a variety of different Hungarian soups and main dishes (potato soup, lecsó, layered potatoes, bean soup, potato paprika). It is close to the Spanish chorizo in taste and look.

Fresh sausage for baking (sütő kolbász, sütnivaló kolbász): This sausage is sold fresh and needs to be baked, either in a frying pan or in an oven, served with fresh white bread and pickles.

Fresh sausage for boiling (főző kolbász, főznivaló kolbász): Sold fresh and must be cooked before eating. It is usually served as part of a homemade lunch or dinner with mustard and bread.

The best known and most popular versions are:

Gyulai sausage is named after the Hungarian town of Gyula. It is slow cooked while being beech wood smoked. It is made from pork, ‘szalonna’ (Hungarian bacon fat), garlic, pepper, caraway, and a Hungarian red paprika. At the World Exhibition of Food in Brussels 1935, the Gyulai kolbász was awarded a gold diploma. The sausage may be cut into thin slices and eaten alone or with bread. They are also added to many Hungarian dishes including lecsó and potato/egg casserole (rakott krumpli).

Csabai sausage is made in the town Békéscsaba. It is similar to Gyulai, but somewhat spicier. There are several variations in size and type, but it is a spicy sausage with a lot of paprika.

Csemege sausage is an mildly spiced cooked smoked sausage.

Cserkész sausage is a cooked smoked sausage made from beef and pork.
Debreceni kolbász is usually unsmoked or more mildly smoked, with a strong paprika flavour and used for cooking.
Lecsó sausage (Lecsókolbász), a spicy cooked smoked sausage made specifically for serving as part of the dish lecsó, a vegetable stew with peppers and tomatoes.

Where and how to buy Hungarian sausage in Europe or in the United States?

In European countries you can find Hungarian sausage in larger supermarkets, in Hungarian specialty stores or smaller delis.

It is more difficult to buy Hungarian meat products in the United States. Check your local Hungarian community to find real Hungarian products. Also, as far as I know European delis sell Hungarian produce.
I have looked on line and found a source in California who ships all over the US.
Hungarian Deli

Or visit this website to find Hungarian sausages

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