I have always enjoyed goulash, and indeed my next article in Bread 'n Molasses Magazine will be about the goulash I enjoyed as a kid, made by my mom. That recipe, however, came from an old edition of Betty Crackpot's (AKA Crocker) definitive cookbook and is a highly Americanized version of the traditional Hungarian dish. AB's is different, and it was so good when we chowed down on it at the ski cabin in the middle of a snowstorm. During a my recent big batch freezing spree, I asked AB for his recipe so I could make a crock pot full of it to freeze, and he very nicely shared the recipe with me.
Fry up stew meat and onions in quite a lot of butter until browned on the outside. Then I put enough cans of pureed tomatoes in the crock pot with the meat that it looks 'stewy'. Then I cook it for a whole day, adding some salt and a fair bit of paprika (I like the smoked). I'll add carrots and mushrooms, though some say this is a sin! I may even splash in some hot sauce to bring it up to the level of tangy-ness I like. Finally, if it feels too watery I'll add some cornstarch to thicken it a little. Oh, I also put garlic in because I put garlic in almost everything.
So, using this as a template, I got a family pack of stewing meat at Safeway that was about 1.2kg in weight. I had most of a bottle of passata left over from the quinoa salad recipe, so I dumped that in, along with a partial can of leftover diced tomatoes from the borscht I made last week. I have two kinds of paprika on hand, Spanish and Hungarian. I used a few tablespoons of both. After letting the goulash cook on high for several hours in the crock pot, I added some Worcestershire sauce to make it a bit tangy, but when I tasted the broth, I found it lacking. It needed something to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, so I added a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar.
It was fantabulous. Not as fantabulous as AB's, but fantabulous enough for me. I may not even freeze any; I might just spend a week eating this. For the initial meal I had, I served the goulash with what my mom used to serve her goulash with, Noodles Romanoff. A sinful side dish indeed - but wonderful, and nostalgic. It was perfect!