Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gulyás - goulash

The gulyás, goulash, doesn't need much translation.. It is so well known Hungarian dish that it found its way, with own word, even in English. Just as the paprika did :).

Typically is made of beef meat, that's where the name comes from. Gulya means cattle, and gulyás is both the herdsman and the dish made by the herdsmen in a cauldron above open fire on the meadow.
IMHO it is best made in a cauldron.. But one doesn't always have the luxury to wait for it to happen, so people make it in a pot..
There are several recipes for the goulash, too, most of them are with lot of meat, we prefer it with 1/3 meat, 1/3 vegetables, 1/3 potatoes, and some noodles. You can cut the veggie and potato portion into half (a bit less salt maybe as well) if you want it more meaty.

~500 g (~1.1 pound) beef meat, suitable for stews
1 piece of beef tail, optional
noodles (galuska or csipetke), I will use galuska not csipetke
3 carrots (300 g)
1 larger parsley root, ~100 g, more is good too
1/2 celery root, ~100 gr, more is good too
~500 g (~1.1 pound) potatoes (rusetti)
caraway seeds (Carum carvi), needed it be, can be replaced with cumin, though they differ in taste
1 large onion (~ 100g)
1 medium tomato
1 fresh paprika, or 1 tsp minced paprika 
powder paprika, black pepper, salt,
Italian parsley
5 tbsp oil (sunflower oil)

Chop finely the onions and saute them in the oil until glassy/transparent. Remove from fire, add 1 tsp powder paprika, add a bit of water and put it back to the fire, until it is reduced back to the onion/oil.
You can actually at this point add a chopped small potato, a small parsley root, carrot, etc.. it will give a thicker texture to the gulyás as it will overcook and become pasty.
Add the meat cut into 1.5 cm (~0.5 in) cubes and put it in the hot oil, stir couple of times until all the sides of the meat whitens.
Add salt and pepper, ~0.5 tsp pepper, ~1 tsp salt, 0.5 tsp caraway seeds, and stew the meat at very low heat for about 1.5 - 2 hours, depends what type of meat you used, add water if needed so that the meat is covered in juice.
(In a hurry? Start preparing the meat ~6-7 hours before you need it, and after you tossed it for 5 minutes in the onion-oil transfer it into a slow cooker and let it cook overnight, or at least for 6 hours.)
Add the vegetables (carrot, parsley, celery root) cut either in cubes or ~3mm slices. Add the fresh paprika or the 1 tsp minced paprika. Adjust the saltiness of the stew with additional salt (~1 flat tsp, beware if you use minced paprika it is usually salted), more black pepper if you want, and add more water until the meat and veggies are all evenly covered with water.
Stew for 15 minutes and add the tomatoes peeled and cut into ~1cm cubes, potatoes cut into 1.5 cm cubes and the washed Italian parsley.
Stew for additional 30 min.
Last add the noodles.

1 egg
2 tbsp flour
Beat the egg lightly, add ~2 tbsp flour, you should get a tooth paste like texture except a bit more sticky.
Boil 1 l (4 cups) water with a pinch of salt and scoop the paste into the boiling water, ~ peanut sized, they will sink to the bottom, and boil just until they emerge to the surface and the color changes from yellow to whitish, remove them with a strainer spoon and put them into the soup. Optionally you can scoop them directly into the gulyás, then no need for a strainer, just be careful not to over-boil them anymore with the gulyás.

Serve with fresh bread.
Optionally you can serve it with prickles and/or freshly cut parsley sprinkled on top.

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