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Hungarian Food - Gypsy Man-Catcher Soup (Legényfogó Káposztaleves)

Updated on December 8, 2012

Gypsy Man-Catcher Soup

Cabbage Soup
Cabbage Soup
Hungarian Food
Hungarian Food
Cabbage Soup
Cabbage Soup
Barley for Soup
Barley for Soup

Hungarian Food

5 stars from 1 rating of Gypsy Man-Catcher Soup


Gypsy Man-Catcher Soup

(Legényfogó Káposztaleves)


This Gypsy inspired specialty contains smoked beef, cabbage and barley thickened with a rántás (roux) made with flour, fat and paprika. It is also reported to be helpful when you are hung over.


The traditional recipe calls for smoked chuck which I do not believe is readily available. I have substituted pastrami, which you can find in most super markets or delicatessens. It also calls for savoy cabbage, but you can substitute almost any cabbage that you like. If you prefer a richer soup, use packaged beef stock in place of the water or feel free to make your own stock from beef soup bones.


There are a substantial number of Gypsies scattered throughout Hungary and they have strongly influenced the food and music there. A number of Hungarian recipes have "Gypsy" variations and Gypsy violinists such as Sandor Lakatos are world famous. At the end of this article there is a map indicating where they are located geographically.




Preparation Time:

60 Minutes

Cooking Time:

1-1/2 Hours



1 Lb. of smoked beef chuck (I substitute pastrami)

2 large Onions sliced ¼ inch thick

2 Cloves of Garlic peeled and chopped

1 Savoy Cabbage cored and chopped

4 Oz. of Pearl Barley

2 Quarts of Water or Stock

2 Tablespoons Lard or Butter

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 Tablespoon Hungarian Sweet Paprika

Black Pepper to taste.



  1. Cut the pastrami into half-inch cubes.
  2. Place the pastrami, the sliced onions and the stock in a soup pot and boil gently for about 30 minutes. Then add the chopped cabbage, barley and garlic and continue cooking for about 30 minutes until the cabbage is soft.
  3. In a saucepan, make a roux by melting the fat, adding the flour and paprika and stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to brown slightly. Gradually add one cup of water or broth while stirring and add the mixture to the soup.
  4. Bring the soup back to a boil, and season with ground black pepper. Check for flavor and add salt if necessary.


Serving Suggestions:

This soup is especially good when served with home made tepertos pogacsa (crackling biscuits) and a bottle of Egri Bikaver (bull's blood from the city of Eger in Hungary).


Gypsy Violin Music

How to Make a Roux.

The Gypsies in Hungary

A Gypsy Horse and Wagon
A Gypsy Horse and Wagon
Two Gypsy Violinists
Two Gypsy Violinists
Distribution of Gypsies Throughout Hungary
Distribution of Gypsies Throughout Hungary

Map of Hungary

show route and directions
A markerBudapest, Hungary -
Budapest, Hungary
get directions

B markerDebrecen, Hungary -
Debrecen, Hungary
get directions

C markerVienna, Austria -
Vienna, Austria
get directions

George Lang’s Cuisine of Hungary

If you only plan to buy one cookbook this year and if you enjoyed my recipes on Hungarian food,I highly recommend this cookbook. Owner of Café des Artistes in New York and the magnificent Gundel restaurant in Budapest, George Lang not only provides authentic recipes from the various regions of Hungary, he also provides historical information and anecdotes on their origin.

This is one of my very favorite cookbooks of all time.



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    • profile image

      Kayli 3 years ago

      None can doubt the vearcity of this article.

    • profile image

      Alessia 3 years ago

      Hi Zita,I was looking at your wtbeise and I see that it would be ideal for a project which I'm completing at university.I was wandering if this wtbeise is still active by you and if not would you consider to transfer it to me for development in my project.Thank you.I look forward to your reply.

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 6 years ago

      It is getting to be that time of year when the soups taste better and better. What impressed me most, when I started studying Hungarian cooking, was how many varied and tasty soups they make, often with an interesting story about their origin.

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      You've made me hungry for this delicious soup! Funny, I was thinking earlier that I should make some homemade soup. It's one of those cold chilly rainy days. Thanks for the yummy recipe! Voted up and useful!