Monday, September 7, 2009


It was chilly (only 75!) and overcast today, which made it perfect for stew. Goulash is Hungarian I think, and is essentially oniony, paprikay beef stew. Yum! It also happens to be very very easy to make, as all good stew should be. This is my parents' recipe (if you can even call it that), and they always make it in the pressure cooker, allowing one to go from raw to stew in about 30 minutes. I have no pressure cooker and didn't think far enough ahead to put this in the CrockPot (though you easily could), so I just made it in a pot on the stove, the old-fashioned way. The amount of this recipe is enough for 2 decently-sized portions-- two dinners or a dinner and leftovers-for-lunch!

Start with 1/2 lb stew beef (or lamb I suppose). I cut mine into smaller chunks to encourage it to cook more quickly. In two batches, brown it in a combination of canola and olive oils. You only want the meat to brown, don't worry if it's still raw in the middle. Remove from the pan and add two large handfuls of sliced onions. Brown those also, adding more oil as necessary. Deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine, then add the meat back in, along with a beef boullion cube, 3-4 T. of [mild Hungarian] paprika, 1/2 t. cayenne or hot paprika and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer and cook until the meat is tender-- about 20 minutes in a pressure cooker, 90 minutes on the stovetop, or 4+ hours in a CrockPot. Keep an eye on it and add more water as needed. When the meat was almost tender I added about an extra half cup of water and when that reached a rolling boil, three handfuls of uncooked egg noodles. 9 minutes later I had a one-pot goulash+noodles dinner! Serve with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper. On a whim I added some fresh basil for garnish and discovered that it complements the paprika and beef flavors excellently! I plan on throwing a few more leaves in with my leftovers.



    Why the combination of canola and olive oil?

  2. Mom always does that because the canola oil has a higher smoke point (better for high-heat browning) but the olive oil tastes better.