Thursday, September 1, 2011
I love the warmth that a large bowl of goulash can give in the dead of winter. Meaty, hearty, reassuring. I realise that today is the first day of spring, not mid winter, but I have decided to post this recipe anyway. After all, some of my readers are soon coming into autumn. We have enjoyed it a couple of times over our short Queensland winter.
When I was travelling through Europe in my twenties I met some friends in Austria who persuaded me to do things I wouldn't usually do. Austria to me was: theatre, palaces, galleries and most importantly, coffee and cake.
But one of the absolute highlights from those 12 weeks travelling though Europe was when we went white water rafting. Something I would never, ever choose to do. I am no adrenalin junkie. Two things made that day very special. Before we got to the craziness of the river rapids we glided down a peaceful river as if gliding through a postcard. We sat still, in a tiny yellow canoe on a narrow river of glass. Our boat snaked it's way through emerald green hills dotted with tiny gingerbread cottage farmhouses. Cows mooed, birds sung and leaves ruffled in the gentle breeze. I remember it as paradise.
With the buzz of white water rafting over, we begun our steep climb back up to the showers and to the small restaurant near where our bus had parked. The once shining sun had disappeared behind dark clouds. Unnoticed by us, as we rode the gauntlet of rocks and waves. As we stepped slowly up the hill the clouds grew darker. Thunder shook the valley and lightening streaked the sky. Exhausted, I entered the showers and had one of the longest and hottest showers I can ever remember having while travelling in Europe. When I came out of the shower block it was pitch black, it was 3:00 in the afternoon. I quickly entered the restaurant as heavy drops of rain began to fall and I ordered a bowl of goulash.
I don't need to tell you that was the best goulash I have even eaten. Warm and nourished, I sat and watch the rain pelting hard on the glass wall of the restaurant. I felt safe while the thunder bellowed and the lightening flashed. Safe and happy and full in every way, with my large steaming bowl of goulash.
Many years ago I played around with different goulash recipes to come up with this recipe. This is the closest that I can come to that goulash eaten on that day. I hope you enjoy it too.
• 1 kilo chuck steak (cut into 4cm pieces)
• 1 1/2 tables. olive oil
• 2 onions (chopped)
• 1 clove garlic (crushed)
• 1/4 cup sweet hungarian paprika
• 1/2 teas. caraway seeds
• 900 ml beef stock
• 2 large potatoes (peeled and cut into 4 cm pieces)
• 1/2 teas marjoram (chopped)
• 1 x 400 grams tinned tomatoes (chopped)
• 2 green peppers (sliced)
• crusty bread
In a heavy casserole dish, heat the oil and gently saute the onion and garlic until soft and lightly coloured. Remove from the heat and stir in the paprika. Stir until the onions are well coated and return to the heat. Add the beef, caraway seeds and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 1 hour. Add the potatoes, marjoram, tomatoes and peppers and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for a further 45 minutes until the potatoes and meat are tender. Season to taste. Serve with buttered noodles and crusty bread.