Attila Albert: Clay pot for cooking from Hungary’s Őrség region
Attila Albert: Clay pot for cooking from Hungary's Őrség region
Attila Albert: Clay pot for cooking from Hungary's Őrség region

Work of Art in Focus – March 2023

Őrség region is situated in the south-western part of Hungary – more precisely in Zala and Vas Counties – as well as in Slovenia's Prekmurje region. Őrség constitutes a unique historical and ethnographic area. The region was named after the sentry posts erected here by the Hungarians during their Conquest of the land at the end of the 9th century A.D.: the posts served to protect the western gates to the country. A special settlement structure characterised the villages in this area: this included belfries, groups of houses erected on hilltops, houses with small roofed terraces, as well as barns used exclusively for storing hay and fodder. The protective role of stone castles built elsewhere in the country was assumed in this region by fortress-like churches constructed during the Age of the Árpád Dynasty in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries.

The greatest appeal of today's Őrség region consists in its centuries-old traditions, its lavish and protected natural environment, and the deservingly famous hospitality characterising its inhabitants. Old traditions live on as they are cultivated on a daily basis, and – in the scope of diverse events – they are presented to those visiting the region throughout the year.

Őrség region has been populated mostly by Protestant Hungarians. Here, the lent leading up to Easter is not characterised by any special lent dish, but the inhabitants have always observed not to consume meat and not to prepare dishes using lard on Fridays. A much-loved dish is bean salad with pumpkin seed oil complete with special pretzel-looking bread baked in a stone oven.

Attila Albert: Clay pot for cooking from Hungary's Őrség region

The salad is prepared in a clay pot using the following ingredients: 3 cups of speckled beans, 2-3 red onions (may be mixed with chives), parsley leaves, 1 tablespoon of wine vinegar, 1,5 tablespoons of honey, pumpkin seed oil, salt.

Preparation of the salad: soak the beans before cooking for about 8 hours, then cook the beans in salty water in a clay pot until they are soft. Slice the red onions and cut the parsley into small pieces. Mix the wine vinegar with the honey and pour the mixture on top of the onions and sprinkle it with the parsley. Put some salt on it and leave it for a short while to mature. Drain the beans, add them to the red onion mixture and pour some pumpkin seed oil on top. Put the dish aside to let the flavours mingle. Serve the salad with slices of pretzel-looking bread.

Preparation is as simple as this. Enjoy your meal!

The artwork of the month of March can be seen at the exhibition entitled Pure Source in the exhibition spaces on the 5th floor of the Pesti Vigadó until 2nd April.