Goulash or Beef Stew? Well it turned out to stew.
The weather yesterday turned gray, wet, windy and reminiscent of winter. The weather forecast predicts more of the same for another 6 days or more. UGH in a refusal to admit winter is soon upon us again, I made a silent summer resolution. There will be no winter food being made in my kitchen in the official month of summer, also known as July, I don’t care what the weather is doing.
However, The Man was feeling soft and cozy and developed a hankering for a meaty stew of some such. Thus the promise was broken and I decided to go for goulash. Sounds easy enough, but in reality I have yet to succeed with a goulash, not this time round either. Not to worry though because while I was failing at the goulash I succeeded in making a really yummy beef stew reminiscent of Dinty Moore. That canned stew taken on all the camping trips of my childhood. While I am not a big fan of the canned anything, this stew is actually pretty tasty. It has all the key ingredients required of a good stew meaty, savory and really tender.
To be honest this is the first time I have succeeded with a beef stew come to think of it.
Beef Stew ala Dinty Moore, serves 4 bowls
This is not difficult to make, but it takes a minute as it requires a fair bit of cooking time. It’s a two step process. Make a big batch and you can freeze it for a rainy day.
1/2 kg stew meat, chopped into 1 cm cubes
1 Bay leaf
1 TBS Caraway seeds
1 Medium Onion, chopped roughly
1 Beef Bullion cube and approx. 1 liter H2O
Directions, step 1
Chop up your onions and meat. I decided on small meat cubes as I wanted it to look like the goulashes I have had in Hungary and Prague. Also it would take less time to get the meat soft and flaky. Yes, I said flaky. Saute the onions and caraway seeds in a bit of oil until the onions are translucent. Then add the meat and brown on all sides. When the meat is done add approx. 1 liter of water and the bullion cube. Let simmer until the meat is really soft. Approx. 40 minutes to 1 hour.
Goulash figured out.
Okay this isn’t necessarily the traditional recipe, but it gave me the taste I remember from Hungary and Czech. Basically follow the steps above, but add 3 onions and even more paprika powder. Add the paprika powder slowly so it doesn’t end up too spicy. But, yeah it needs a lot. AND as with above you need to let it simmer a good long while. A Czech goulash is served with dumplings, boiled bread, sliced about a 2 cm thick. Alternately you can instead of wine you can use some pilsner to get the Czech version a little more Czech.
Ingredients, step 2
1 Russet Potato/Bakpotatis, chopped into 1 cm cubes, leave the skin on.
1/2 Med. Carrot sliced thin and then chopped roughly, also leave the skin on.
1 Celery Stalk chopped thin
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped roughly, don’t leave the skin on
3 Plum tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 Hungarian Red Paprika/Bell Pepper, chopped small (can substitute with a reg. red paprika/bell pepper, but you want the spice of the Hungarian)
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Cup Red Wine
1 TBS Kalvfond/Kitchen Bouquet
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
More Beef Bullion and H2O
Directions, step 2
While your meat and onions are simmering prepare the rest of the vegetables. Chop everything up fairly small. When the meat is tender add the vegetables. Add a bit more water/bullion to replace the water that has steamed away during the first step. Be careful not to add to much water as it will need to boil down and the more you put in the longer it takes to boil down. When the vegetables are soft and tender take a potato masher and smash a bit of the soup, potatoes, to get a thicker consistency. Then add the wine, worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and the kitchen bouquet/kalvfond. Let simmer a bit longer, until you get the desired consistency. I like my stews thick so I let mine simmer for quiet awhile. In total I think I let it simmer for 2 hours in the second step.
Serve with a bit of sour cream/gräddfil or creme fraiche.
Be careful not to let it burn on the bottom and make sure you have enough left over for breakfast the day after! Yes, stew for breakfast. So you won’t have to hear this coming from the bed, I want more, make me more.
Ok while this may not be the way it’s done traditionally, it’s the recipe that gave me the flavors I remember from Czech and Hungary. Basically follow the above recipe, but increase the onions to 3 medium onions and lots more paprika powder. Becareful with the powder though it can get spicy! If you want to Czech it up add some beer instead of wine. The key really is to let is simmer a good long while.
In Czech goulash is served with dumplings, boiled bread, sliced up 2 cm. I haven’t gotten that ambitious yet, but eventually I will get to it. While the dumplings aren’t GI they do taste good and are great for getting all that juice in your mouth.