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Monday, December 14, 2009

Transylvanian Goulash - Slow Cooking at Its Best



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Transylvania is a province in central Romania that's surrounded by the Transylvanian Alps and the Carpathian Mountains. If we are to believe the likes of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice, this plateau is also the ancestral home of vampires. While imagination should be allowed to soar, I wish the two of them, in the midst of all that Gothic angst, could have given a nod to Romanian cooking. I've held on to this recipe for quite a while now. It first appeared in "The Cooking of Vienna's Empire" by Joseph Wechsberg and it was featured in The New York Times in 2006. I didn't give the recipe a try until last week. My bad! This is absolutely delicious and I hope those of you who trust my opinion and recipes will give this a try. A bit of back ground will help here. We've had unseasonably cold weather in Oregon this past week. I had a taste for choucroute garni but my pantry and freezer did not have all I needed to make it. I decided that this would be a perfect time to give this recipe a test run. I'm so glad I did! This is perfect winter fare and the recipe adapts beautifully to crock-pot or low-slow oven cooking. I'm giving directions for both. Here's the recipe.

Transylvanian Goulash...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:
1 pound (drained weight) sauerkraut
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, miced
Salt
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
3 cups chicken broth
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut in 2-inch cubes
1-1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1/4 cup tomato puree or plain tomato sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons flour

Directions:
1) Wash sauerkraut under cold running water then soak in cold water for 20 minutes to reduce sourness. Strain well, pressing out excess water.
2) Melt butter in a 5-quart casserole; add onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until lightly colored, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, season with salt and cook a minute or two longer. Stir in paprika, pour in 1/2 cup of broth and bring to boil. Add pork cubes. Spread sauerkraut over pork sprinkle with caraway seeds. Combine tomato puree and reserved broth in a small bowl. Mix well and pour over sauerkraut. Bring to a boil.
3) If using a crock-pot, transfer contents of casserole to crock-pot insert. Cover, and cook on high, for 3 to 3-1/2 hours, or until pork is fork tender but still retains its shape.
4) If using a conventional oven, preheat to 250 degrees F. Cover casserole and transfer to oven. Cook, covered, for 3 to 3-1/2 hours, or until pork cubes are tender but still retain their shape.
5) When pork is tender, transfer meat and sauerkraut to a serving platter with high sides. Tent with foil to keep warm.
6) Transfer sauce to a 2-quart pan. Set over medium heat. Combine flour, heavy cream and sour cream in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Stir mixture into sauce and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Do not boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over meat and serve. Pass additional sour cream as a side. Yield: 6 servings.

This post is being linked to:

Crock-Pot Wednesday at Dining with Debbie

40 comments :

Bits of Taste said...

This looks so yummy! is it spicy?

Debinhawaii said...

Such a rich-looking dish--perfect for the winter weather!

Katy ~ said...

Oh my! Does this every sound good! I love sauerkraut and can imagine how much the flavor adds to this dish, tame down a bit by the sour cream and heavy cream. Ole Sweetie Pi THINKS he doesn't like sauerkraut. I have to try and slip this one past him.

Chef E said...

Yum, this sounds perfect for the cold weather and the photo is 'the perfect bite' to me...

Penny said...

Mary, This sounds like my kind of meal. I have had a hankering for sauerkraut lately. Thanks for a great recipe.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I make a similar goulash with beef and paprika - yours looks gorgeous. I love the close-up shot. I hope no vampires came to visit for a taste. I can't read Anne Rice. I hate to admit it, but I get nightmares.
Sam

Jeanette said...

I love the story behind this. I am saving this for after Christmas. We have the days pretty much planned till then but these flavors sound good.

Kathy said...

Looks delish!!! Can't wait to try it! I think I have everything except the sauerkraut. Guess I need to head to the grocery store today!!! Thanks for sharing :O)

Martha said...

Definitely sounds like winter fare. Looks yummy!

Cathy said...

Oh, Mary, I know I will LOVE this recipe. The caraway seeds and paprika are the flavors I've grown up. Add pork and sauerkraut and you've got a perfect dish. The ingredients are on my grocery list today. Thanks for sharing this.

Karen said...

Another great recipe and another great history/story to go along with it! I have to admit I don't cook much but I really enjoy your blog! You just might turn me into a cook!

Joanne said...

This looks delicious! Super savory and perfect for a cold winter day.

Natashya Kitchen Puppies said...

Wow, that photo is awesome. The parsley looks like a tree in magical terrain.
Sounds like a great dish!

Di said...

Mary, I love how you whet our appetite first with a little history. Let's see, sauerkraut in the pantry, pork in the freezer... I may not have caraway seeds... Thank you.

George Gaston said...

Mary, your title stirs up intrigue and wonder! My first thought was "Dark Shadows" and Barnabas Collins (now I am dating my TV viewing), but a course your mention of Stoker & Rice were right behind.

This goulash ~ what a fun word to say ~ sounds intriguing, as well. Going by your review, I will definitely put this in my list of "to make". Many thanks...

Federica said...

un piatto molto invitante!

Mary said...

Bits of Taste, the dish is flavored rather than spicy. If you like heat hot Hungarian paprika could aloso be used.

A Year on the Grill said...

OK Mary... i have all these ingredients right now... This is worth a consideration.

It sounds good, but all transylvanian based recipes need more garlic... just in case we have to worry about the neighbors.

Lea Ann said...

Love the story and I HAVE to make this recipe. Thanks for the post.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Wow! I've actually been to Transylvania! I've never heard of this, but as I read each ingredient I must make this. Seriously! I love my Austrian goulash, but the flavors of your recipe with the sauerkraut... I see slow cooker heavy. I'm so excited to make this!

Bob said...

Heh, I'm not so sure I would have wanted Ms Rice to talk about cooking. Look at how badly she mangled vampire myth!

I've never had goulash before, it sounds awesome. I'll definitely have to make some this winter.

Maria said...

What a comforting meal!

JG said...

I use my Slow Cooker often and this sound like a great meal to make! Thanks for the recipe.

ARLENE said...

This looks fabulous. I just bought some rather pricy smoked paprika. I wonder if this would work in this dish.

Karen said...

Mary, I just realized that you have almost 500 followers! At first I was surprised, but then I thought, well, yes, of course she does! Your posts are always a interesting mix of recipe history, personal stories and gorgeous photos. I also realized that I'd never gone back to the beginning of your blog. I did tonite and looked quickly at many, many posts. It seems that you are not only a wonderful cook, but a beautiful person. I look forward every day coming to your blog! I saw your recipe for Christmas Pudding and I think I will make that to send to a friend... a man I worked for years ago who was very good to me at a time when I needed people to be good to me. We've remained friends and years ago I made him a Christmas Pudding. I think it's time he had another one!

Lori said...

Wow- it does sound and look yummy. I am always looking for different recipes.

Mary said...

Karen, thank you. I'm sure your friend will be delighted with his Christmas pudding. Hugs and blessings...Mary

Claudia said...

Great winter dish. I love Hungarian Goulash and its Transylvania cousin looks simply grand.

Helene said...

This looks like a .great Goulash

My Little Space said...

Gosh, such an awesome photo! Really mouthwatering! Hopefully I can get the full ingredients and try it out some day. Thanks.

Joycee said...

Perfect recipes for these cold blustery days. My girls used to love Goulash, I must make this over Christmas to bring back some memories for them! Thanks Mary for all your sweet comments at GrannyMountain, you are my most devoted reader! My Dad sure loved his family and those are great memories for me now.
joy c.

Mary said...

Jeanette, welcome to One Perfect Bite. I hope you'll become a regular visitor.

noble pig said...

I have to make this, my husbands family is from Transylvania.

Raluca said...

The goulash looks great, but I need to comment on Romania's mountains.. The thing is we do have the Carpathian mountains but no Alps :)..And to be honest Bram Stoker is not the best source on Romania's geography :). Raluca from Romania

lostpastremembered said...

MY sauerkraut just came out of the crock... now I have a perfect recipe for it... this looks richly delicious!

Penny said...

Mary, I made this tonight. It is just as good as it looked on your blog. Thank you for a great recipe and your dedication to sharing your wonderful ideas. We loved the sauerkraut overtone to the pork stew. Happy meal all around.

A Gracious Home said...

This sounds fantastic. I will try to make it. Thanks, Doylene

Jamie said...

Too funny as I have a goulash simmering on the stove right now. Just fabulous. And yours reminds me that I need to add some cream. Yum!

pigpigscorner said...

This looks amazing! so comforting and hearty!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I made this recipe, Mary, and it was both simple and tasty. I will blog my version sometime after Christmas. This dish was perfect to make in the slower cooker, while we were at a Christmas Concert. I chilled it, and reheated it the following day.
Thanks for the inspiration!

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