Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hungarian Beef Goulash

First off, before you do anything, check your supply of paprika and make sure that it has not been idling away since the ice age and that you have enough of it to feed a small army. I am clearly not Hungarian as I would have known about the massive amounts of paprika Hungarians enjoy putting into their dishes. Up to this point, I thought this rusted colored spice served only as a garnish for deviled eggs. Nope, that is absolutely an important flavor and does not exist to simply throw a hint of color into dishes. On that note, since paprika plays such a prominent role in this particular dish, I would also advise that only the best Hungarian sweet paprika be used. If you have a Penzey's in your area, that really is your best bet to stock up for this recipe.

The second item that I think I should bring to your attention is the incredibly robust taste of this dish. Go ahead and have this dish without the props but for my purposes, I had to put this with pasta and peas to ease the strong flavor. I also was using this as dinner for my little guy and he was happy with it as long as it was ground up and mixed with the peas and pasta. Anything else was met with stiff resistance.

One final note is that the size of this recipe obviously was meant to feed the masses. Since I just live with my little guy, I had to freeze a huge portion of it for about three months. This dish froze and thawed beautifully and I would even say the flavor was even better after the ingredients had a chance to bond doing hard time together in the ice box. Make some now, save it for later and it can be a nice dish that you forgot about and pleasantly rediscover after months of being ignored. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Best Slow and Easy Recipes, from the Editor's of Cook's Illustrated


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, minced
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Kosher salt
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup minute tapioca
2 bay leaves
5 pounds boneless beef chuck eye roast, cubed
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream


Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, paprika, tomato paste, garlic, caraway seeds and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened and highly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits.

Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker and stir in the soy sauce, tapioca, and bay leaves until evenly combined. Season the meat with salt and pepper and nestle it in the slow cooker. Cover and cook, either on low or high, until the meat is tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

Let the cooking liquid settle for 5 minutes and remove as much fat as possible from the surface using a large spoon. Remove the bay leaves. Stir the sour cream into the stew, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over noodles and peas. Enjoy! AJ

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