This week, I’m sharing another dish from my German heritage: goulash.
Goulash originated in Hungary, but it’s a popular dish in my ancestral homeland, too, and elsewhere throughout Europe. I’m sure they valued its hearty, warm qualities on cold nights.
And I do, too.
Goulash is basically beef stew, flavored predominantly with a certain spice: paprika. It is also tomato-based, and loaded with vegetables.
I called my version of this recipe Sweet Paprika and Tomato Stew because those are the flavors that jump out to me. And I didn’t want you to be turned off by the term “goulash,” which can conjure images of monotonous slop. This is actually a veggie-forward dish, and it could be adapted endlessly: chopped chicken thighs instead of beef, no meat at all (maybe chickpeas instead?) to make it vegan, celery or whatever veg you have in your fridge in addition to the ones listed below.
Sweet Paprika and Tomato Stew
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 to 2 ½ pounds stew beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into thin rounds
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
3 tablespoons paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne powder, or more to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 cups beef broth
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, browning on all sides. It doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through; it will cook more later in the stew. Remove beef with a slotted spoon to a large pot or Dutch oven.
Return skillet to stovetop over medium heat. If there is a lot of fat from the beef, carefully discard most of it. A tablespoon or two is fine, but you don’t want much more than that. Add remaining canola oil to skillet, then add onions, carrots and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add garlic, caraway seeds, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper and mix well to coat the vegetables with the spices. Transfer mixture to the pot with the steak.
Heat pot over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring well, then pour in beef broth. Bring to a boil, stir, then let bubble for a couple of minutes.
Reduce heat to low to simmer (you still want to mixture to be bubbling slightly) and cover. Let cook for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every half-hour or so.
Stew is ready when it’s nice and thick and a deep red color. Taste it and adjust seasonings if desired.
Serves 4 to 6.
Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times