Hungarian goulash

Adapted from Saveur and Aurel Pop

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. sunflower or canola oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1½ lb. beef chuck, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram (we used fresh!)
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can beans (pinto beans work, we used navy beans)
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 medium parsnips, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 5 cups of bouillon stock
  • 1½ lb. medium new potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 tomato, cored and chopped (sub: 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste)
  • 1 Italian frying pepper, chopped
  • Rye bread, for serving (optional; egg noodles instead!)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium. Add the onions, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Increase the heat to high. Add the beef, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, stirring only once or twice, until the meat is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Searing it adds extra flavor!
  3. Stir in the paprika, marjoram, other spices, and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add 5 cups water (with bouillon). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the beef is nearly tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. Add the carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beans. Cook, uncovered, 45 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and peppers; cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, with rye bread if desired. Also, sour cream and dill on the side, if desired.

Jesse really really really likes paprika — and I could think of no dish that is more paprika than this one (which I’ve never tried before, on account of the beef). I found this article that was so interesting, I actually read through the whole thing! I don’t often read through back story because every blogger writes a novel for their recipe (hence, why I avoid doing so), but I do recommend reading the Saveur article, for the historical context of food (IT’S FOOD!!!) and culinary depth in Hungarian culture.

I modified the directions for next time we make this recipe, based on how we would reallocate the timing — more time for the beef chuck to break down, less time for the vegetables so they don’t turn into mush. Following tips from The Kitchn, we decided to cook it for the 2 full hours, to really let the stew beef break down and tenderize. Veggies survived the simmer.

We picked up most of the ingredients at the local farmer’s market. If you don’t have marjoram, fresh oregano is a good (tho strong) substitute for fresh marjoram. If you don’t have caraway seeds, 1) anise, 2) fennel, or star anise could be a substitute (one website even suggested cumin seeds — maybe appearance, but not the same flavor in my opinion). Jesse may have dashed in a splash of good red wine (if you have, not required). I prefer egg noodles to rye bread any day, so I used the leftover German spätzle from this recipe.

-Jessica

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