9 March 2011

Austrian Beef Goulash

Not so long ago, I had a crack at making Hungarian Beef Goulash.  It wasn't so terribly successful in that the broth/sauce was far too thin for hubby's tastes and the paprika didn't feature well enough in the general flavour.

I resolved to have another go at another time, as once I'd fixed the thin broth issue, the paprika issue should be easier to define.  However, in the meantime, I discovered this "Austrian Beef Goulash" recipe.

Now this intrigued me, as I wondered what made it "Austrian", as opposed to "Hungarian".

Having made the dish, I think the largest differences are the degree of tomato that is employed, plus the lack of caraway seeds.  In truth, though, it really is very similar.

Oddly enough, even though the recipe uses two tablespoonfuls of paprika, hubby still declared the paprika flavour to be lacking.  I might have to use three tablespoonfuls in future, although I am a tad nervous of overdoing it for everyone else!

I used beef shin in mine, as I am trying  - where possible - to use cheaper cuts of meat.  Doing that is good for my purse and good for the global waste issue.  I extended the cooking time of the original recipe to some three and a half hours (at a low heat) to ensure that the fat was all rendered down and the meat super-tender.  Shin of beef really does lend itself to this type of cooking, as the flavours were superlative.

It is worthwhile, when cutting up the beef, to make the cubes a little bit larger than one normally would for this kind of meal.  The sauce becomes quite thick and we've discovered that it is difficult to find smaller cubes when it comes to plating up.  You don't want to plate up two ladlefuls of sauce, whilst leaving all the beef in the pan!

One other advantage to using shin of beef, is that Jonty and Basil (the dogs) get the offcuts.  From the moment my feet touched the kitchen floor, Jonty (the Saluki) was in attendanceHe's a very attentive companion, as he watches everything being got out of the larder, pan cupboard and fridge.  He begins to lick his lips as the onions go into the pan, as he knows the next job will be to cut up the meat.  I think, however, he just doesn't understand why I insist on calling Basil (Jack Russell) to come and share the haul.  He'd be really much happier if I'd leave Basil sleeping and let him (Jonty) have the lot!


Ingredients :

3 tbsp sunflower oil (sunflower is best, as it can attain a greater heat than olive)

2 large onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, grated
4-5 chesnut mushrooms, quartered
600g shin of beef, cut into large cubes
2 tbsp paprika (more, if you desire)
2 tbsp plain flour
salt & pepper
3 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tsp mixed herbs
125ml red wine
400g can tomatoes or 500ml passata
350ml beef stock
2 large red peppers, cut into rings
142ml carton soured cream
chives, chopped, to garnish

Method :

1.  Heat a tablespoonful of the oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium to low heat, and cook the onions until soft - approx 5 minutes or so.

2.  Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue cooking and stirring for another five minutes or so, then set aside.

3.  Add the remainder of the oil and, on a high heat, add the beef and sear until browned.

4.  Return the onion mixture to the pan and add the flour, seasoning, paprika, tomato puree, vinegar and herbs.  Stir well, then add the wine and bubble for a minute or so.

5.  Add the tomatoes, stock and bring to the boil.  Stir all the time, to avoid lumps forming in the sauce.  Once boiling, check the seasoning.

6.  Cover and place in the oven for two hours.

7.  Remove from the oven to add the peppers and stir through.  Put back in the oven for another hour.

8.  Serve with white rice, sour cream and chopped chives sprinkled over.

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