Pörkölt Goulash (from Chili & Vanilia)
-1 kg beef or pork stew meat, cubed (This is about 2.2 pounds. I used 1.8 pounds, which turned out fine. I also highly recommend "Country-Style Pork Ribs," the boneless kind. SO GOOD and very tender).
-3-4 big onions, finely chopped (I bought 3 big onions, but two ended up being about 5 cups chopped. So...I went with that. If you're adventurous, you could add another 2-3 cups with the other big onion, but I think 5 cups was plenty).
-4-5 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil (or lard)
-3-4 tbsp best quality Hungarian sweet paprika
-Salt (I used a generous 1/2 teaspoon...salt according to your tastes)
-Pepper (I used a generous 1/4 teaspoon...pepper according to your tastes)
-1 green pepper, sliced
-1 fresh tomato, sliced in half or quartered
-1/3-1/2 c. water (NOTE: I ended up adding a whole cup of water AND 1/6 cup red wine, because I really thought the sauce would burn. The first 1/3 cup got mixed in, but didn't look like it got at all watery, so I added in the wine and the second 1/3 cup. This would probably have been sufficient, but I'm paranoid, so added another 1/3 cup. I should've trusted the recipe, because after a 1/2 hour, the mixture was VERY saucy. I guess this was because the meat is uncooked and leaches a lot of moisture into the mix. Oh well. It was still good a little saucier than the recipe dictates--just not as authentic.)
-*Optional: 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
-*Optional: 1/6 cup red wine (I used merlot--the fruitiness added a nice dimension of flavor)
-Serve over egg noodles, boiled potatoes, or dumplings.
1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the finely chopped onions (and caraway seeds, if you so choose) and cook until translucent.
2. Now comes an important secret step: Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the paprika. This is very important, because if you keep the heat on the pan, the paprika could burn from the sudden heat and get bitter.
3. Put it back, add beef/pork cubes and stir so that the spicy onion mix covers the meat evenly. Cover with about 100-150ml (1/3-1/2 cup) water (and wine, if you want) so that the liquid doesn’t completely cover the meat. Add the sliced green pepper, the whole tomato (which will be removed at the end), salt, and pepper. Simmer covered on very low heat for about 1-1,5 hours.
4. After 1 hour, check, add a litle more water if necessary, so the stew doesn’t burn. Depending on the thickness of the sauce, cook for 10-15 minutes uncovered so that all the liquid reduces and all what you get is a spicy, thick sauce which covers the meat. It tastes even better reheated.
Verdict: This was so delicious. When I first tasted the sauce (before it boiled), I thought, "Ewwww, paprika water." And I did not have very high hopes. But something magical happens in the hour it simmers, and it becomes fabulous and complex. I would make this again and again.
Greg's Country Battle Royale: Hungary wins over Senegal.