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

Leek farro soup (Minestra di farro e porri)

Adapted from La Tavola Marche and Madonna del Piatto

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups pearled farro
  • 6 1/4 cups stock ***Avoid using bullion (or stock) cubes for this! There are only a few ingredients & they should be of the highest quality possible ^_^
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • freshly grated salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin 2 tablespoons
  • sprig of rosemary
  • extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
  • parsley, finely chopped (to taste)
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved lengthwise

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the leeks and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Add the farro, pour in the stock (I cooked carrot, celery, parsnip, turnip from a soup greens package), season with salt and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the farro is tender. Season with pepper.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls or a soup tureen and sprinkle with Parmesan & drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Provide toasted Italian crusty bread, rubbed with cut garlic, to mop it up. Also good to have plenty of freshly grated Parmesan on hand, per person.

A former roommate left this bag of Italian farro, so of course I needed to find the perfect soup recipe for the long winter nights.

Cheers,
Jessica

Rapunzel’s hazelnut soup

Rapunzel’s favorite dish that Mother Gothel makes. Here is the Disney version :

Disney-version Ingredients:

  • 2 lb butternut squash, seeded and cut into 6 sections
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of chicken stock, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts (for topping)

but… The version I prefer (I do not do fruit in my soup, thank you very much) is this: Creamy hazelnut soup

Ingredients:

  • some hazelnuts
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium leek, white only, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 3 small russet potatoes, chopped (optional)
  • 1 spoon flour
  • 1 L vegetable stock
  • 220 g crème fraîche
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • handful of chopped hazelnuts, roasted

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Once butter is melted and hot, add the sliced leeks and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft.
  2. Add the garlic, parsnips, and potatoes and cook for about five minutes, stirring often. Make sure your parsnips and potato pieces are about the same size and not too big. Add a few sprinkles of salt and pepper to the veggies as you stir.
  3. Add 3/4 cup of the peeled hazelnuts to the pot and stir for a minute or so.
  4. Add the veggie broth and creme fraiche and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, at least until the parsnips and potatoes are soft.
  5. Remove the thyme sprigs and use an immersion hand blender.
  6. To Roast Hazelnuts: Preheat oven to 275° F. Place 1 cup of raw hazelnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the hazelnut skins burst. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, roll hazelnuts between paper towels to remove skins. Place skinless hazelnuts into a small plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin.
  7.  Serve soup in bowls, and top with the crushed roasted hazelnuts.

~Jessica