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Kobalsz at a Glance
Hungary, Central-Eastern Europe
Type of Charcuterie
Fresh Sausage, Smoked, Brined
Pork, beef, fat, salt, pepper, garlic, Hungarian paprika, other spices
Hungarian sausage, Csabai kobalsz, Gyulai kobalsz, Cesmege kobalsz, Debreceni kobalsz, Cserkesz kobalsz, Hazi kobalsz, Lecsokobalsz, Lo kobalsz
The name kobalsz is a general term for all sausages in Hungary. In the earlier times, ancient Hungarians lived in a semi-nomadic setting as fishermen and hunters. It was common for them to prepare dried and salted meats which would not spoil in their long journey.
These were often used in the preparation of stews. The slaughtering of pigs was common during rural celebrations and brought about more methods of preservation including the making of sausages.
As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of kobalsz. These usually differ according to the region they are made in and may each have a different flavor ranging from mild to spicy. The most popular among the different sausage types are the Gyulai and Csabai kobalsz.
The Gyulai kobalsz is spicy and comes from the town of Gyula. Csabai is also spicy and uses large amounts of paprika. It is under PGI protection and is made in the town of Bekescaba. Most commercial kobalsz in markets today are similar to the homemade sausage known as Hazi kobalsz.
These are traditionally made from pork shoulder, but newer ones now use a mixture of meats that may include beef and even lamb. The roughly chopped meat is mixed with fat and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, Hungarian paprika (either sweet or spicy) along with some other spices. This is then stuffed into casings then cooked before being eaten. Some varieties of kobalsz may be smoked, lightly smoked or pre-cooked and can even be eaten raw.
Most kobalsz in the market today are similar to Polish sausage but contain paprika. It has a similar appearance being 1 1/2 to 2 inches (39-50 mm) in diameter, but kobalsz has a darker deep red color due to the paprika. In terms of taste, it is also quite similar to Polish sausage with a garlicky flavor, with kobalsz being more intense when it comes to spiciness.
Hungarian sausage can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner on its own. It can also be served on bread with mustard, pickles, sauerkraut and relish. Aside from this it can also be used as a flavoring agent for other dishes such as soups.
Photo Credit: artizone