Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Boss's Goulash

I am blessed with some excellent bosses at the Telegraph, and one of them (that I know of) happens to also be a pretty good cook, if what he brought to our Christmas party is any indication. We had our Xmas shindig at the local cross country's not really a hill...) where there is a big cabin groups can book for events. There was a big wood stove and an outhouse, and that night we got a huge dump of snow, so the kids were happy (and some adults, too, though I was not one of them). Everyone brought something for dinner; I brought a cake for dessert, Boss A brought sangria and mulled cider, Boss D's wife made homemade bread, which she makes professionally at a local coffee shop; and Boss AB brought Hungarian Goulash and some egg noodles. The picture above is of that meal, served on fancy paper plates!

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.

I quote:

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!



Pierce said...

Sounds good for a cold day...warms the bones.

DEZMOND said...

I live just two or three miles from Hungarian border and my homecountry of Vojvodina also has goulash as a dish in our national cuisine. I don't eat it myself, since it has meat, but it is very very popular. Here it's usually eaten served with pasta mixed with sour cream.

Wandering Coyote said...

Pierce: definitely a bone-warming dish. Loving it!

Dez: basically, Noodles Romanoff is noodles with sour cream, also with parmesan cheese, garlic, and a bit of green onion. DELICIOUS!


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