In the interest of providing Chew’s budget-minded readers with more practical dining tips, I have been charged by the editor with the task of probing the growing array of ready-made microwaveable Hungarian dishes. As you can see in the picture above, for my first attempt I chose the Paradicsomos húsgombóc burgonyával, made by the Pesti Reformkonyha (note that the site is currently down), and which you can likely find in your neighborhood supermarket in Budapest for something in the neighborhood of Ft 750 (€2.90). As the package itself helpfully informs English readers, the dish is “Meat balls in tomato sauce, with potato.” But any Hungarian could tell you this is just töltött paprika (stuffed peppers) minus the peppers.
The package promises it only needs three minutes of reheating to be ready, which was fortunate, as I was starving by the time I threw it in to be nuked. Sure enough, after the requisite three minutes of radiation, it was ready to be munched on.
Taste-wise, the tomato sauce was a bit on the sweet side. Some Hungarians prefer their stuffed peppers with added sugar, something I confess to being guilty of when I was a kid, although I’ve long since outgrown that. The meatballs themselves taste like you’d expect them to, so that the “saucy” half of the dish was fine.
The only complaint was with the potatoes. In my family, we always ate stuffed peppers with mashed potatoes, but I know customs differ from house to house, so that’s not what caught my attention. Instead, it was the fact that the potatoes were a bit on the rubbery side that spoiled the meal a bit for me, and that like the sauce, they were also a bit on the sweeter side. It took away from the better, “saucy” half.
Incidentally, Stouffer’s in the United States makes a surprisingly good stuffed pepper microwave dish that, unlike this one, comes without potatoes but includes the peppers.