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Goulash (Hungarian Beef Stew)

December 23, 2011

I tried goulash for the first time a couple weeks ago at a German restaurant in Chicago (Mirabell Restaurant). The goulash was the best thing I had there, so I wanted to try making it. Apparently, goulash is not supposed to be spicy, but theirs was really spicy (and delicious). This recipe is not spicy at all, but it still tastes great. Maybe next time I’ll forget about authenticity and add a pinch of cayenne.

Goulash

3 ½ lb boneless beef chuck-eye roast (or other boneless chuck or blade roast), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

salt

1/3 cup sweet paprika (get fresh Hungarian Sweet Paprika from the Spice House)

1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed (about 1 cup)

2 Tbsp tomato paste

3 tsp white vinegar

2 Tbsp oil

4 large onions, diced small (about 6 cups)

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch thick rounds (about 2 cups)

1 bay leaf

1 cup beef broth, warmed

¼ cup sour cream (optional)

pepper

Sprinkle meat evenly with 1 tsp salt and let stand 15 min. Chop onions in food processor and move to a bowl. Process paprika, roasted peppers, tomato paste, and 2 tsp vinegar in food processor until smooth (1-2 min.).

Combine oil, onions, and 1 tsp salt in large Dutch oven; cover and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften but aren’t browning. Add paprika mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions stick to bottom of pan, about 2 min. Add beef, carrots, and bay leaf. Stir until beef is well coated and scrape down sides of pot with a spatula. Cover and transfer to oven.

Cook at 325 degrees F until meat is almost tender and surface of liquid is ½ inch below top of meat, 2 to 2 ½ hours, stirring every 30 min. Add enough broth so that the meat is still ¼ inch above the liquid. Cover and cook another 30 min. or until a fork easily slips in and out of the beef.

Skim fat off surface. Remove bay leaf and stir in remaining tsp vinegar and sour cream, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with egg noodles.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated – Soups & Stews (2011)

(Note: I also tried the schnitzel, spatzle, and red cabbage at Mirabell’s, but if that’s what you’re going for, I think it’s better at Technique restaurant, part of the Cordon Bleu cooking school — and it’s only $10 for a 3 course lunch or dinner!)

Schnitzel, spatzel, red cabbage

The schnitzel at Technique. I don't know what the sauce was, but it sure was good!

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