Tuesday, January 27, 2009
An authentic gulyás is a beef dish cooked with onions, Hungarian paprika, tomatoes and some green or red pepper. Hungarian goulash is neither a soup or stew, though in Hungary it's considered to be a heavy soup. When properly cooked it has a nice evenly thick consistency that is almost like a sauce. Gulyás was first made by herdsmen. It moved from their tables to those of the nobility in the late 18th century when Hungary moved to assert its national identity and independence from Hapsburg empire. The only trick to making an outstanding goulash is in the preparation of the onions. Think onion slurry - the kind used to make French onion soup - and you, too, will own the secret. I hope you'll try this. It's a wonderful peasant meal.
Magyar Gulyás - Hungarian Goulash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium to large onions, thinly sliced (about 4 - 5 cups)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
1 large carrot, peeled and cubed
1 large red bell pepper, cubed
1 to 3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 to 3 teaspoons hot Hungarian paprika (optional)
2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups beef or chicken stock
2 to 3 pounds of cubed beef stew meat
4 medium-sized boiling potatoes, cubed
Salt and Pepper
1) In a large saute pan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over low heat. Add onions and cook for about 30 minutes, or until onions are translucent but not brown.
2) Turn heat to medium-high. Add beef, in batches, and sear until lightly brown.
3) Add garlic and ground caraway seeds and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.
4) Add diced carrot, bell pepper, paprika (both hot and sweet), marjoram, thyme and bay leaf; toss and allow to saute for a minute.
5) Add tomato paste and stock along with a pinch of salt and pepper.
6) Bring contents of pan to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender.
7) Add potato cubes to goulash and cook for 30 minutes longer. Remove bay leaf. Transfer to shallow bowls and serve. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.