Horse sausage. Kocsonya (pork jelly). Disznósajt (head cheese). Sound like an episode of Bizarre Food? Maybe. But these are also regular, if slightly unusual, beloved Hungarian staples. The Hungarian kitchen has plenty of unusual uses of well-known ingredients—poppy seeds on pasta (mákos tészta) anyone? Rooster testicles cooked into a paprika-spiked stew, kakashere pörkölt, is another.
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 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, they get a plump texture. The stew is often eaten with nokedli (flour dumplings), tarhonya (egg-barley), boiled potatoes, or just a thick slice of white bread to lap up the ballsy sauce.
In Hungary, a bowl of rooster testicle stew is not a commonly served dish, but one that most people will happily eat if they see it served at a festival (where you most often see it these days). Adventurous eaters will relish this dish. If you can find rooster testicles at your local market, try preparing your own!
KAKASHERE PÖRKÖLT (ROOSTER TESTICLE STEW)
- 3 tablespoons oil or lard
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 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, and then add the onions. Cook over low heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Sprinkle the Hungarian paprika on top, and stir quickly (so the paprika doesn’t burn).
- Add the rooster testicles and cook over high heat for about 5-7 minutes, until they are browned.
- Add either the water (or wine, if you are using that) and the salt. 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.