Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Warm up with Goulash

Hello autumn! How chilly you are. Forcing me to bring out my extra comforter. Wear shoes. Turn on that weird vent heater thing that is in the living room floor of my beach cottage. Damn you. But then again you aren't all bad, your coming did force me to make this fabulous stew that I've had bookmarked all year.

It's called Goulash - and I had never heard of it until I came across it on Smitten Kitchen's site. Here is Wikipedia's definition: Goulash (plural: goulashes) is a soup or stew of meat, noodles and vegetables (especially potatoes), seasoned with paprika and other spices. Originating in Hungary, goulash is also a popular meal in AustriaCroatiaCzech RepublicRomaniaScandinaviaSerbiaSlovakiaSlovenia and the north-eastern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is one of Hungary's national dishes

I'm quite upset that I have not heard of this tasty concoction since I am a quarter Czech. Somebody should have clued me in sooner! 

It consists of beef, bell peppers, and lots of onions. And for some reason I was daunted when I first read the recipe and shoved it aside for future contemplation.

Turns out it is quite easy!

Recipe halved and modified slightly from Smitten Kitchen.

Makes about 8 cups, serving 6

3 slices bacon, chopped (I wouldn't be afraid to add more if your feeling frisky)
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
2 medium onions chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika (preferably Hungarian sweet) - I found it at Ralphs
*There was once caraway seeds here - but I omitted them because I find them dreadful. (Unfortunately I remembered this after I bought them.) If you like them add 3/4 teaspoon.*
1/6 cup all-purpose flour (eyeball it)
1/8 cup red-wine vinegar (eyeball it - don't be afraid to go closer to 1/4 cup)
1/4 to 1/2 - 8 oz can of tomato paste (I used closer to 1/2 can)
2 1/2  to 3 cups beef broth
1 cup beer
1 teaspoon salt
2 bell peppers, chopped fine (I used one orange, one yellow - but feel free to use what you want)

- In an 8-quart heavy kettle cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. In the remaining fat brown chuck in over high heat, transferring it as browned with slotted spoon to bowl.
- Reduce heat to moderate and add oil. Add onions and cook, stirring, until golden - add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in paprika and flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in vinegar and tomato paste and cook, whisking, 1 minute. (Mixture will be thick.) Stir in broth, beer, salt, bell peppers, bacon, and chuck and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer soup, covered, stirring occasionally, 60 to 75 minutes. Check consistency, add more beef broth or beer as needed.
- Season stew with salt and pepper. 
- Makes terrific left overs and is delicious served over whole wheat egg noodles.

peace, love, goulash, and happiness!

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