It’s chilly in Budapest now, time for wearing layers. But it’s time for eating layers, too. Layered dishes are extremely popular in Hungary, and my absolute favorite is Rakott Krumpli (layered potatoes). Made with potatoes, sausage, bacon, and gobs of sour cream, it’s quintessential Hungarian comfort food. My first year in Budapest, Elizabeth, my cleaning lady, would bake a big casserole dish full of it for me every week and leave it in the oven. One day, I had to ask her to stop. My pants wouldn’t fit.
In Hungary, there are many versions of the Rakott Krumpli recipe. Here’s a twist on Elizabeth’s. She recommends serving it with a salad or pickled vegetable. I suggest eating it with loose pants and no belt.
Rakott Krumpli (layered potatoes)
Ingredients: 2 lbs/1.2 kg potatoes; 5 oz/150 g bacon; 4 hard-boiled eggs; 7 oz/200 g spicy sausage, suitable for baking; butter for dish; 1 1/4 cups/300 ml sour cream, 2 tbsp/30 g fine white breadcrumbs, optional.
Directions: Cook the potatoes in their skins in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and leave to cool until just warm, then peel and slice them. Dice the bacon finely. Sauté it in a skillet without any oil until it is crisp and golden. Slice the eggs and sausage. Butter an ovenproof dish and cover the bottom with a layer of sliced potato. Add a layer of sliced egg and sausage and pour over a generous splash of sour cream. Then add a layer of crispy bacon with the juices from the skillet. Continue layering the remaining ingredients in the same way until they are all used, reserving a little of the bacon, pan juices and sour cream. Finish with a layer of potato. Pour the remaining sour cream over the potato, and top with the bacon pieces and pan juices. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top, if used. Bake in a preheated (medium) oven for 40 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden brown.