Goulash is an iconic Hungarian dish, and the only Hungarian food most
peasants people have heard of! Trying to work on being less of a food snob. Further bulletins as events warrant. I really wanted to make Goulash, especially since it’s freezing here. Stew is also the easiest thing in the world to make- throw a bunch of stuff into a Dutch Oven, turn the heat on, go lie in front of the fireplace and read Kurt Vonnegut. Kurt Vonnegut is optional. Not everyone’s cup of tea. But Goulash is everyone’s cup of stew! Well, except for vegetarians. The chunks of beef and broth wouldn’t go down too well with them. Feel free to substitute the beef with chicken, or just leave the meat out altogether and make it with veggies!
½ lb chuck steak
4 cups *unsalted* chicken or beef broth (Beef is definitely preferred, but I hardly ever keep any, so I used chicken broth)
1 yellow onion
1 head of garlic
8 oz tomato paste
1 Yukon Gold potato
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
1 bay leaf
Start by heating some olive oil in a pot. I love using my Dutch Ovens for stews in any way, shape, or form, but any heavy, flat bottomed pot will do!
Now throw in the paprika, and stir it around so it toasts a little bit. There are two kinds of paprika- Spanish and Hungarian. Spanish paprika is spicier, and brighter in color. Hungarian paprika tends to be a bit sweeter and darker.
While it toasts, slice the meat into chunks. Don’t try to use a ribeye or sirloin for stew- plain old chuck works the best! It’s one of the toughest cuts of meat, and it gets delicious and fork tender in a stew.
The paprika should be sizzling by now,
so dump the meat in, and sear it.
Don’t worry about cooking it through, since it’s going back in later. You just want to get some nice color on the outside! Once it’s seared, remove it from the pot.
Peel and slice the onions, carrot, and potato, and throw those in
with the tomato paste. Sear those too- I’ve found that when I sear vegetables as opposed to cooking them in liquid right away, they keep their flavor much better.
Now throw in the steak, add salt to taste,
and then pour in the broth. I like using unsalted because it lets me control the salt content completely. Making stew is a power trip for me.
Add in the bay leaf,
put the lid on, and let it simmer for 1-2 hours, checking it periodically. Once the meat is soft enough to cut with a fork, remove it from the heat, and serve it right away with crusty bread. Or soft bread. You do you!