Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Number one ingredient: buy yourself a CD with Hungarian gipsy music.  This will enhance the cooking process and put you in the proper mood to prepare this old time Transylvanian favorite recipe.  It’s easy, filling, rich in flavors and cheap…that’s what makes it an extraordinary dinner in bad economic times.  Seriously J


  1. 4 cups of water
  2. 2 cups of chicken stock
  3. 1and ½ cup of course polenta
  4. 1Tbs. of Vegeta or salt
  5. 3 Tbs. olive oil
  6. 1 red onion – chopped
  7. 6-8 slices of bacon –chopped
  8. 8 oz. (200g)  of smoked Hungarian sausage – chopped
  9. 3 cups of “Brinza de burduf” (found in Eastern Europian Delis.  It’s a cured cheese very tangy to taste and soft.
  10. sour cream to serve it with (you can omit this if you want)
  11. scallion greens chopped to sprinkle on top when done

Bring 4 cups of water and 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a 4 Qt. saucepan.  When boiling point has reached, add the Vegeta or salt to the water and the polenta, pouring it in very slowly so it doesn’t make lumps and stirring it continuously.  You will have to baby sit this process until the polenta is done, stirring it constantly or else you will have some yellow corn flour chunks exploding all over your kitchen.
After about 10 minutes you’re done and you can set the polenta aside.

In a non- stick pan add the olive oil, chopped onions, bacon and smoked sausage (All chopped) and stirring frequently cook them until the onions and meats are fully cooked. (About 10 minutes).  Set it aside.

Put your oven on for 350 F.

In a deep corning ware add a splash of olive oil to the bottom and pour half of the polenta in.  Add a cup of the BRINZA, sprinkled all over the polenta.  Now add all of your onion, sausage, bacon mixture on top of the Brinza sprinkles.  Layer another cup of Brinza sprinkles and pour the left over polenta on top of it.  Sprinkle the 3-rd cup of Brinza on top of the polenta.  You can now transfer the dish covered with foil in a 350 F preheated oven and cook the cake until the top becomes golden brown.
Take it out from the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes, sprinkle some scallion greens on top and cut it in slices as you would cut up a cake.  When serving, you can add some sour cream and roasted red peppers cut up in small slices if you desire.

By this time you should have learned all the songs on your gipsy CD and started a shot of moonshine to make your tiny feet dance that “Csardas”…slice up your Gipsy Cake and live life to the fullest!

EGESZSEGEDRE!                                                                 BON APPETITE!


  1. Is Olive Oil a part of traditional Hungarian cooking? I'd imagine it'd be too cold for olives, but I know they're eaten on the Black Sea, so I might be wrong.

  2. Absolutely not! If you wish, you can cure your own pork or goose lard for amazing flavors but I made some substitutions in order to protect our arteries. :)In my time growing up people really had to come up with cheaper and more innovative ways to fry/sautee their meats with. Ceausescu's regime didn't let you savor the healthier choices for cooking like olive oil. I substituted a few of the artery killing lards with healthier cooking oil since moving to the US. We have the same 4 seasons in Transylvania just like here but olive growing is not part of the country's agriculture. Thank you for your question J.S. :)Enjoy my recipes :)