Easy Beef Goulash
Coming into these cooler months of the year I love creating slow cooked delicious dishes that make you feel nice and warm inside. This goulash is a dish I’ve been wanting to cook for a while now, since I got back from Europe last year.
The goulash uses a tougher cut of meat which is slow cooked for hours which gives the beef a really tender gelatinous texture. I always like to cook with the best quality ingredients I can find. For this reason I always cook with meat from Gary’s Meats at Prahran market. The quality of their produce is by far the best I’ve ever seen across any butcher in Melbourne.
Here is the link to Gary's Meats http://garysqualitymeats.com.au/
Goulash tends to use two main spices which I found in my research of the perfect recipe. These are caraway seeds and paprika. The paparika reminds me of the Central Market Hall in Budapest, Hungary, where rows of stalls that lined the market constantly had piles of paprika for sale.
Here is the link to Central Market Hall Budapest, Hungary http://budapestmarkethall.com/great-market-hall-budapest
Over the past couple years I’ve been so lucky to travel to so many eastern European countries. One dish I kept on seeing across menus was goulash, each country has their own special way of cooking it. I saw it in menus in Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and Poland. I was very sceptical to try it, as I had previously heard it was a soup, and the thought of the texture put me off. But finally last year in Prague at a restaurant called Lokal I gave it a go. And my goodness the flavours were delicious, I had mine served with rice. If you’re ever in Prague, make sure you make a trip to Lokal, and be sure to make a booking in advance.
Here is the link to Lokal http://lokal-dlouha.ambi.cz/en/
The recipe below is a Viennese style, and I got the inspiration from Rick Stein, its more of a stew rather than a soup. The spatzle didn’t work out as well as I expected, so I’ll save this recipe for another time. The goulash can be served with mash potato, macaroni, rice, or store bought spatzle. I’ll link in the recipe that I used, although for some reason it wasn’t as light as I expected it to be.
Here is Rick Stein's recipe where I got the inspiration, https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/viennese_gulasch_96419
This recipe calls for lard or suet, I couldn’t find lard at the market so I got my butcher to cut off a chunk of beef fat which I then rendered down before adding the rest of the ingredients. The recipe also calls for a heap of onions, don’t be shy with the onions, add them all in, and you’ll see at the end once the goulash thickens how beautiful and silky the onions become in the dish. The recipe also mentions a goulash seasoning cube, you don't have to add these. I got them during my most recent trip to Vienna, but it can be substituted for more salt at the end of the cooking if needed.
I hope you enjoy making this goulash as much as I did. This is my easy go-to goulash recipe.
100g lard or suet
1.5kg brown onions, diced
1.5kg beef shin, roughly diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or roughly chopped
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbs spicy paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Goulash stock cubes- image below, if you don’t have access to these just leave them out, and add more salt at the end to taste
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tbs flat leaf parsley- roughly chopped
Sour cream to serve- optional
In a large heavy based saucepan, melt the lard or suet in a pan until melted on a low to medium heat
Add the onions and cook for 5-10 minutes or until translucent, on a low heat
Heat a fry pan to a very high heat, once hot place the beef in to brown, stirring so each side is browned, take off the heat and leave aside
Add the tomato paste, caraway seeds, salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar and paprika to the onions, and stir
Add the beef into the onions and stir, cover with water until it reaches the top of the pot
Deglaze the fry pan that you cooked the beef in by filling with a cup of water and scrapping the bottom of the pan. You will be left with beautiful brown pan juices that you can add to the beef mixture. This will add a heap of flavour to the dish, remember colour = flavour
Allow the beef to simmer, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn. Simmer until all the liquid has reduced and the meat is tender. You may need to top up with more water along the way, to ensure the beef becomes tender.
Add the goulash salt cubes into the water as well at this stage, by crumbling them into the water
Once the goulash has reduced leaving enough sauce for the meat season the dish with a little extra salt and pepper to taste
Serve the goulash with your intended sides, and garnish with chopped parsley and sour cream