Chicken Shortcake - A Hungarian Recipe

In a Hungarian traditional whip celebration, men and women perform a synchronized whip display. Hungarian pig farmers used whips to drive large groups of large woolly pigs with the cracking noise.
In a Hungarian traditional whip celebration, men and women perform a synchronized whip display. Hungarian pig farmers used whips to drive large groups of large woolly pigs with the cracking noise. | Source

Hungarian Culture and Memories

I appreciate Hungary and Hungarian culture for many reasons, not only because my favorite vintage actor, Bela Lugosi, was born in that nation when his town became part of Romania. He was born in a part of Transylvania in 1882 in a town called Lugos, using the community's name instead of his own, Blasko, when he became an actor.

Lugosi did not envision that his most famous character would indelibly mark the theater-going populace with memories of Romania and the Carpathian Mountains - nor did he envision being type cast in that role.

Unknown to many people these days, Lugosi once portrayed Jesus Christ on the stage, a fitting memory for the Easter Season in which this Hub is written. Bela portrayed many characters besides his famous Dracula, whose voice made theater audiences gasp in the 1920s and 1930s and like his characters, the following recipe fits any time of year.

The cuisine of Hungary is flavorful and exciting and not only because of Hungarian paprika.

I look in the mirror and say to myself, Can it be you once played Romeo?

— Bela Lugosi
Hungarian Easter Eggs
Hungarian Easter Eggs | Source

Hungarian Easter Eggs resemble one type of Romanian egg and traditional red Russian eggs of the season. Like some Russian eggs, the Hungarian version of the tradition is often dyed with yellow and red onion skins, which make powerful dyes.

Water Plunge Monday

In Hungary, the Monday following Easter Sunday is called Water Plunge Monday or Wet Monday, rather than Easter Monday celebrated in places like the UK and parts of America.

In Hungary, men and boys can follow a tradition of dousing women and teen girls with buckets of water on this Monday. On Tuesday, the females may turn the tables to douse the males. Said to bring about spring rains for crop production, the tradition is also an excuse to drench cute girls with water, often repeatedly throughout the day, but not so often as in some Polish American communities about which I have heard.

In certain towns in Wisconsin and New York, people can become pretty wet all day on Monday and Tuesday. In one town, it is said that girls are drenched with a bucket and then carried to a river for dunking first thing in the morning. Giving boys the decorated Easter Eggs is supposed to save the girls from drenching, but I think it probably does not work.

In Washington DC, the Whitehouse just has an Easter Egg Roll!

Dousing the women on Wet Monday.
Dousing the women on Wet Monday. | Source

An Old Hungarian-American Feast

Preparing and eating Chicken Shortcake may be more fun for some of us than being drenched in water or thrown in a river during early spring.

The following recipe came from an out-of-print leaflet about 60 years old. Hungarian immigrants settled in several communities in Northeastern Ohio in the 19th and 20th centuries and brought many good recipes with them from their homeland. The recipe below is probably a version of a traditional dish, Americanized. The American South has its own version as well.

The particular recipe provided only the ingredients required to serve a large group, like the whole town or at least a church congregation. It listed:

  • 40 pounds of Chicken
  • 30 small boxes of Frozen Peas
  • 12 cans Cranberry Sauce
  • 3 large boxes of Baking Mix
  • 17 small boxes of corn muffin mix
  • 2 stalks of Celery.

The recipe below is a good modification for a family dinner, I think.

Musical Accompaniment: Hungarian folk music of Transylvania and Moldva

Please rate this recipe for Chicken Shortcake

5 stars from 1 rating of Chicken Shortcake

Ingredients for Chicken Shortcake: 6 Servings

  • 3 pounds Chicken, Cut up
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp Hungarian Paprika, or to taste
  • 1 Medium Onion, peeled and cut in half

Instructions

  1. Place a cut up chicken in a heavy pot and cover with water. Turn stove burner to medium high heat.
  2. Add salt, pepper, paprika, and onion halves.
  3. Bring the pot to the boil and then lower heat to medium low. Simmer 60 to 90 minutes, until chicken falls off bone. Make sure to add enough water to end with at least 3 Cups of Chicken Stock.
  4. Remove pot from burner and let cool.
  5. Remove meat from bones.

While Chicken Simmers, Additional Instructions

  • Take 1 Cup sliced mushrooms and sauté in a little olive oil in a heavy pot.
  • Add 2 Tbsp flour and stir, then add 3 Cups of the stock in your chicken pot, and stir to thicken. Refrigerate any unused stock.
  • Add 2 or 3 ribs of celery, chopped or sliced and stir.
  • Add a pound of frozen peas, thawed, to the pot.
  • Add chicken meat to the pot, breaking it into bite sized pieces and simmer on low heat. Taste and re-season if needed.

Meanwhile, prepare cornbread:

  • 1 Cup Self Rising Cornmeal.
  • 1 Cup Baking Mix
  • 2 Eggs, well beaten before adding to other ingredients.
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Place chicken mixture into a rectangular baking pan and top with the cornbread mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F about 45 - 60 minutes or until cornbread is done. (Glass pans require less cooking time than do metal pans.) Remove from oven and serve.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with cranberry sauce if you like, or with a green salad or fruit salad, and a plate of pickled vegetables.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A castle in Hungary.Architecture in Transylvania.
A castle in Hungary.
A castle in Hungary. | Source
Architecture in Transylvania.
Architecture in Transylvania.

© 2015 Patty Inglish

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Comments 14 comments

Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 20 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

This meal sounds wonderful, Patty. It is a recipe I will certainly try soon and am adding the ingredients to my shopping list now. Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed reading the Hungarian history and traditions about wet Monday and Tuesday. How interesting.

Voted up and sharing.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 20 months ago from North America Author

Happy Easter, Phyllis! I am delighted that you came to visit here and will try the recipe. This Hub was fun to write, and so was finding old leaflets and recipes. Who knows what I'll find this week?


drbj profile image

drbj 20 months ago from south Florida

Thanks for the interesting recipe, Patty, and the info about Bela Lugosi, one of my favorite Draculas.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 20 months ago from North America Author

I hope you enjoy the recipe! I love finding old information we can still use today.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 20 months ago from New Delhi, India

Nice hub, full of interesting historical information and yummy recipe!

Will be trying this soon. Thanks for sharing the details. Voted up!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 20 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

What an interesting mix of history and recipe. You highlight some interesting Hungarian tradition and top it off with a meal and sprinkle with Bela Lugosi. Wow


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 20 months ago from Oklahoma

I love the way you mixed the history of the food with the recipe. Wonderful read.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

I love to try something new like this chicken shortcake. Those Hungarian post-Easter traditions sounds like fun and sounds interesting too. Voted up for interesting!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 20 months ago from Orlando Florida

I never heard of wet Monday. Reminds me of the ice bucket challenge. I like this recipe. It's like chicken port pie or a chicken cobbler. I'm going to give it a try. Voted up ++


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i love hungarian easter eggs, very classic and unique, the way they celebrate easter is fun too


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 20 months ago from North America Author

@ChitrangadaSharan I hope you enjoy this recipe as you make the dish. I especially like the cornbread made with buttermilk and baking mix (Jiffy or Bisquick),

@mckbirdbks - Thank you for the compliment. Hungary is so interesting. It's food, its people, its traditions. We are fortunate to be able to study them, I think. Time to watch a Bela Lugosi movie...


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 20 months ago from North America Author

@Larry Rankin - Thanks for enjoying this Hub and making a nice comment. I like this recipe, because it is different than our regular chicken pot pie and the buttermilk is a nice flavor to add.


oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 20 months ago from australia

Patty Inglish Hi. Enjoyed the history and the photographs are amazing. As it is coming up winter over here, your chicken shortcake recipe will be something new and different to try. Thumbs up. :) :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 20 months ago from North America Author

Hey, that is pretty good timing! I hope you really enjoy this dish :)

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