This is what I left the boys with a Tupperware container of when I left them to drive up to Edmonton today for the BlogWest conference. Here’s hoping I don’t come home to it still in the fridge and a stack of pizza boxes in the recycling bin.
It was one of the last recipes I made for the Soup Sisters cookbook – a Hungarian Goulash contributed by the awesome Anna Olson. I must admit – beef stew is not my thing, having grown up with flank steak stew that reminded me of rope cooked in stewed tomatoes. (Sorry mom.)
I wasn’t going to eat any myself, and gave Mike a bowl and went upstairs to pack. But his enthusiasm and the rich, dark, reddish broth (spiked with a hearty dose of paprika) convinced me to give it a go. (And break from the weeks of living on toast and tea.) It was fab.
It also had something called csipetke – Hungarian pinched noodles that are like teeny dumplings simmered in the finished stew. I made them, but not having a sense of nostalgia around such things may not again. Instead, I added new potatoes.
The dough is STICKY. You will have to scrape it off your fingers. I pulled the stew out of the oven and put it on the stovetop, and simmered little marble-sized pieces in the broth. You could do it in the oven, or skip it altogether.
Hungarian Beef Goulash
adapted from a recipe Anna Olson contributed to the upcoming Soup Sisters Cookbook (Appetite)
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb stewing beef (Anna recommends boneless blade roast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
1 onions, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
a few garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp (5 mL) caraway seeds (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced or whole plum tomatoes
4 cups (1 L) beef stock (use low-sodium stock, if using store bought)
Salt and pepper to taste
5-6 new potatoes, halved or quartered, or 2-3 larger potatoes, scrubbed and diced (optional)
Sour cream for serving (optional)
In a large heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour off most of the bacon fat (if there is a lot) and brown the beef in batches, then transfer to a heavy cast iron pot or baking dish.
Sauté the onions, carrot, parsnip and celery until the onions are softened, and add them to the beef in the pot. Stir in the paprika, garlic, thyme, caraway seeds (if using) and bay leaves.
Add the stock and tomatoes, cover and cook at 300F for 2 1/2-3 hours, until the beef is very tender. If you like, add the potatoes about halfway through the cooking time. Remove the bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the goulash topped with dollops of sour cream and crispy bacon.
Csipetke: Whisk 1 egg lightly, then stir in 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt – the dough should be dense but a little stretchy and you should be able to pick it up and handle it with your hands. If it’s too dense, add a little water. Using dampened hands, pinch off little pea-size pieces of the dough and drop into the simmering goulash. Simmer for 5 minutes before serving.