Horse sausage. Kocsonya (pork jelly). Disznósajt (head cheese). Sound like an episode of Bizarre Food? Maybe. But these are also regular, if slightly unusual, Hungarian food staples which locals love eat. The Hungarian kitchen has plenty of unusual uses of well-known ingredients—poppy seeds on pasta (mákos tészta) anyone? But moist, spongy rooster testicles cooked into a paprika-spiked stew—kakashere pörkölt— is perhaps as offbeat as it gets.
This should come as no surprise, really. In a country where meat—be it beef, pork, turkey, or goose—is consumed with gusto, the rooster’s family jewels are just another juicy delicacy that are served in a heady paprika broth. In their raw form, they take the size and shape of a ripe kumquat, but once they have stewed to perfection with a mixture of onions, tomatoes, garlic, and green peppers in a large cauldron, their texture becomes tightly plump. For side dishes, nokedli dumplings, tarhonya (egg-barley), or boiled potatoes work best, but a thick slice of white bread will help lap up the ballsy sauce as well.
In Hungary, a bowl of rooster testicle stew is not a commonly served dish, but one that most people will happily eat, whether as street food at a festival (where is almost always makes an appearance) or a main meal at a nice restaurant on Saturday night. Adventurous eaters will relish this dish, but everyone is encouraged to make it for family dinner night if only to tell your husband, “hmmm…look what the kids are eating! Go ahead, try one….they’re delicious!”
Kakashere Pörkölt (Rooster Testicle Stew) Recipe
3 tablespoons oil or lard
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika (sweet)
500 grams (1 lb) rooster testicles, cleaned
100 milliliters (1/2 cup) water or dry red wine
Salt, to taste
2 green peppers, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
- Heat the oil/lard in a large pan, then add the onions and garlic and cook over low heat until they velvety soft and translucent. Sprinkle the Hungarian paprika on top.
- Add the rooster testicles and fry them over high heat for short time (about 5-7 minutes).
- Add either the water or the wine and the salt, and continue cooking, over low heat, until the meat gets tender. This will not take more than 20-25 minutes.
- When the testicles are nearly done, add the pepper slices and diced tomatoes and cook for 10-15 more minutes, or until it reaches the consistency of a thick sauce . Add more salt and pepper, if needed.