Tuesday, April 08, 2008
A sort of Hungarian goulash
I seem to be a bit behind on the blogging front - I have a huge backlog of delicious dishes to share and not enough time to post them. I'm almost at the point of cooking a week's worth of unbloggable food, just so I can catch up. That is sad really, isn't it?! Tonight I was planning to make spag bol, but as I have no spag, it looks like it'll be just 'bol'. I've thrown a large potato in the oven though, so hopefully that'll make up for the lack of 'spag'. Either way, I won't feel the urge to photograph or blog about it which means that, for once, I'll be eating a piping hot supper! Anyway, on list of things to post are a deconstructed 'Mont Blanc', kiwi fruit muffins (really), spiced rhubarb cake, successful hummous, two salmon suppers and a partridge in a pear tree...
I've been feeling especially inspired by the recent acquisition of several new cookery books. A couple of weeks ago, I received an exciting addition to my weekly veg box: The Abel and Cole cookbook. It is chock full of imaginative recipes that I actually feel like cooking. More to the point, they are the sorts of recipes that require no scales or precise ingredients - it is all just 'a mug of x', 'a large handful of y' and (my personal favourite) 'a dollop of z'. You don't come over all faint if you've forgotten a vital ingredient - you can just leave it out, or substitute in most cases. It is the sort of useful book that inspires confidence.
So much so, that last week I actually tried three recipes from it. Or sort of. Keith Abel might be a touch upset if I credited him with this goulash recipe. I didn't posses many of his suggested ingredients so I improvised. I decided this was fine as Hungarian goulash is a loose sort of term, applicable to all kinds of stews and soups. There is no definitive recipe. After some research, I have decided that the key parts are paprika and beef. And probably peppers of some kind. Oh, and sour cream, either stirred through or 'dolloped' on top. I didn't have peppers or sour cream, but I wasn't deterred. My heart was set on goulash and I wasn't going to let a small thing like missing most of the key ingredients put me off.
Anyway, all that is important here is that the end result was delicious. Richly flavoured with a pleasing paprika hit. Certainly not authentic, but absolutely one to repeat. This is odd, in fact, as goulash used to be the one dish I really couldn't eat as a child. It graced our school menu once a fortnight and I used to dread it and push it around my plate. Funny how things change...
A sort of Hungarian Goulash
Inspired by 'Gazza'a Goulash with Rosemary Dumplings' from the Abel and Cole cookbook, page 26
400-500g stewing beef, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large onion, sliced
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 large red pepper (I didn't have one, but I'd use one next time)
1 tablespoon paprika (preferably smoked)
1 tablespoon tomato purée
2 mugs of stock (beef or chicken)
1 bay leaf
1 bouquet garni
2 tablespoons soured cream or creme fraiche to serve
fresh chopped parsley
1. Pre-heat oven to 160C. Heat olive oil in a lidded casserole dish and brown the meat quickly on a high heat. Do this in batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan. Remove with slotted spoon and set to one side.
2. Add onions to pan (with a touch more oil if necessary) and fry for a few minutes. Once starting to soften, add the pepper, if using.
3. When onions and peppers are soft, return the beef to the pan along with the garlic, paprika, tomato purée, bay leaf and bouquet garni. Stir together until combined.
4. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Give a good stir and season with salt and pepper.
5. Place in oven for an hour and a half, until the meat is soft and tender. You may need to check very now and again to ensure it doesn't dry out. Add more stock if necessary.
6. Serve with noodles, rice or mash. Top with a dollop of sour cream and plenty of chopped parsley.