Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beef Goulash (Healthy!)

In August of 2007 I had the distinct pleasure of accompanying the Porteus brothers on a trip to Eastern Europe. Jim's brother Sam was in the Czech Republic teaching conversational English, and the rest of us couldn't resist jumping at the chance to visit him.

We spent most of our time in Most, CZ. We then traveled down through Prague, to Budapest, and spent a week in Slovenia before making our way back up. To date, that trip was the most fun I've had, and an amazing experience. I can't wait to pack up my backpack and a weeks worth of clothes to do it again.

Of course, I could never tread new ground without taking in the culinary experiences to be offered. Eastern Europe is a very "meat-and-potatoes" area. Most of the meals consisted of a meat with some sort of gravy and a heavy starch. We quickly became fond of knedliky (Czech Dumplings), Svickova (marinated beef and gravy), and duck dishes.

Throughout our travels, on every menu we came to glimpse upon, there was always Goulash. Beef Goulash varies a little from country to country, but essentially is a beef and red pepper stew. Not only does this warm my bones in the winter, but it takes me back to those wonderful times I had with Jim and his brothers gallivanting through Europe.

I've tried multiple recipes, and what I've ended up with is bits and pieces of my favorite recipes, plus my own additions, ending up with a really fantastic dish.

Sam said it was some of the best goulash he's ever had, and he should know he lived in traveled through Eastern Europe for over a year (eating a lot of goulash).

Beef Goulash
7 slices Center-Cut Bacon (chopped)
3 Beef Shanks
2 lbs. Stewing Beef (plus) 1 lb. Marrow Bones
2 tsp Sea Salt
6 cloves Garlic (chopped)
1 large Leek (chopped)
1 tblsp Caraway Seeds
2 tblsp Flour
4 Roasted Peppers (chopped)
3 tblsp Paprika
1/4 cup Red Wine
15 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
2 cups Beef Broth
5 Yukon Gold Potaos (cubed)
chopped Parsley

1) In a large pot, over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pot and drain.

2) Add to rendered bacon fat, chopped garlic, leeks, and caraway seeds. Saute until leeks and garlic are soft.

3) Add beef and marrow bones, salt with sea salt. Let cook until brown on all sides. *If using shanks, cut meat off the bone and into 2 inch cubes after browned and return to the pot.

4) Slowly add flour with a sifter, mixing intermittently to avoid clumping. Let cook for about two more minutes.

5) Add, bacon, roasted peppers, and paprika. Saute to combine.

6) Add red wine to deglaze the pot, scraping up bits that might be stuck to the bottom.

7) Add tomatoes and beef stock, turn heat to high and bring to a boil.

8) Add potatoes, turn heat to low, cover and simmer.

9) Cook covered, over low heat, for two hours until beef and potatoes become very tender. Remove bones.

10) Serve with chopped parsley.

No comments: