Various sausages owe their name to their place of alleged origin. And so it is with another Viennese favourite: the Debreziner found in snack stands around the city.
- Lightly-smoked pork sausages
- Flavoured with sweet paprika
- Named after the Hungarian city
- Also used in some goulash recipes
- See also:
What is a Debreziner?
The Debreziner belongs to the family of parboiled sausages, a description that acutely fails to whet the appetite. But don’t let that put you off trying one, since they have a distinctive and hearty taste.
The sausage takes its name from the Hungarian city of Debrecen, which was part of the Habsburg dominions for several periods of time (depending on such factors as the ebb and flow of the Ottoman empire).
Debrecen also formed the capital of Hungary during the brief flirtation with independence in the late 1840s.
As such, the Debreziner joins the list of Viennese sausages and other foods adopted from imperial lands. (The menu hanging up outside a sausage stand is both a price list and the outcome of centuries of central European political history.)
The Viennese seem to have quickly ignored the revolutionary tendencies expressed within the sausage’s name. For example, one 1875 classified ad for a location in Rossau (now in Vienna’s ninth district) highlighted its:
…daily fresh supply of “genuine Debrecziner” sausages
As with many sausages that have migrated across Europe (now there’s an image), the exact contents vary. But in Vienna, the Debreziner is usually a pork-based, lightly-smoked and relatively thin sausage, though you may find other meats included.
What sets this sausage variety apart from the others is its particular distinguishing ingredient: sweet paprika.
The spice explains the reddish colour and ensures a richer, more savoury experience that you get with, for example, the simple frankfurter.
As with all good sausages, the uses vary. My family knows the Debreziner as a prime ingredient in goulash, where it complements the traditional paprika seasoning for that Hungarian dish.
But on snack menus and at the Würstelstand, our Hungarian friend sits comfortably alongside your other boiled or fried sausages as a simple meal served whole (usually in pairs) with bread, ketchup and mustard.
(Close observers of the quoted classified ad earlier will note a slightly different spelling: Debrecziner. Another legacy of an empire that crossed various linguistic borders. You may also find the sausage marked as a Depreziner or Debrecener, for example.)