Beef Goulash

As most people will be aware, goulash is a dish of Hungarian origin, the term ‘goulash’ deriving from a Hungarian phrase that translates roughly as ‘herdsman’s stew’. It was in origin a dish of beef, onions, caraway seed and paprika brewed up in a smoke-blackened pot over a stockmen’s campfire as they tended their cattle out on the great European plains. So delicious is this dish that it has migrated all over the world, becoming part of popular cuisine from Eurasia to the Americas to Australasia. It comes in many variations, with all sorts of things added – potatoes, mushrooms, cumin, celery, whatever happens to be around and appeals to the local palate. The following is a basic example.

2 tsp paprika.
¼ tsp white pepper.
Salt to taste.
¼ cup olive oil.
300 – 400g lean stewing beef [topside or skirt are good], diced.
1 large onion, peeled and diced.
2 cloves garlic, crushed.
1 tsp whole caraway seeds.
3 tblsp plain flour.
1 400g can crushed tomatoes.
1 cup beef stock.
Small tomatoes for garnish.
Parsley for garnish.

Mix the paprika, pepper and salt together in a small dish. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a hot flame and brown the meat all over. Remove and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and stir fry until beginning to turn golden then add the garlic and caraway seeds.
Stir fry for a minute or so until the garlic starts to turn golden brown then add the paprika mix and the flour. Cook, stirring, for a minute, then add the tomato and beef stock. Bring to the boil, stirring well to ensure that the mixture is smooth and lump-free. Return the meat to the pan, stir through then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring frequently. Cooking time will vary considerably depending on the cut of meat: skirt takes at least 1 ½ hours, but rump steak can be done in 45 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to sit, covered, for 2-3 hours. Gently reheat and serve, garnished with the little tomatoes and the chopped parsley, with new potatoes and sliced green beans on the side.

The above will yield far more gravy than is needed for the meal. Gently spoon some of the excess liquid into a container – you should be able to extract about a cup and a half – cover and freeze. At some later time this can become a tasty simmer sauce for a quick chicken meal for two.

Serves: 2.

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