Beef Goulash

I love this time of the year, mostly cos I love piping hot meals that warm you right down to the soul. Soups and stews are always fall/winter favorites and boy, do I have a winning recipe for you! Beef Goulash. Beef Goulash is essentially a hearty beef stew, seasoned with paprika and other spices, that originated in Hungary. While some argue that tomatoes are not a part of the traditional recipe, growing up, my mom always made goulash as a tomato based stew and I loved it!

Some people add carrots, potatoes and other vegetables to the stew, but I stuck to some simple celery and a bell pepper for mine. Also, if you have caraway seeds you can add some crushed, but I didn’t have any at home so I substitued with cumin instead. Goulash is traditionally served over small egg noodles or in other parts of the world over mashed potatoes or polenta. I’ve always eaten this flavorful stew over rice…but not just any rice…Uncle Ben’s Rice. But however you choose to eat it…it’s a dish you’ll love for sure.

So traditional or not, here’s my version of Hearty Beef Goulash Stew…

Beef Goulash

2 lbs Stew Meat (chunks)
5 Cloves of Garlic
1 Large Onion
4 Stalks of Celery
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/3 Cup Flour
3 tsp Hungarian Paprika (divided)
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp oil
1 (16oz) Can Diced Tomatoes
3 tbsp Tomato Paste
32oz of Water
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 Bay Leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste
Handful of fresh parsley
Sour cream (for garnish)

– Start by finely mincing the garlic cloves and then roughly chopping the onion, celery & bell pepper in a big dice.
– In a little bowl, mix together 1/3 cup of flour and a generous teaspoon of paprika.
– Dust the beef stew chunks with the flour & paprika mix and toss it, so that all the pieces are well coated.
– In a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil to the butter, to keep it from burning.
– Fry the meat pieces in small batches on high heat and brown them on all sides. Then scoop out the beef and set it aside on a plate. Repeat until all the beef is browned.
– Then add some more butter/oil to the same pot (all the brown bits stuck to the pan is good flavor). Toss in the minced garlic and diced onion and sautee them for a few minutes until it all turns soft and translucent.
– Add the celery and sautee for a few more minutes.
– Then pour in a can of diced tomatoes with all the juice. Add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste. And, using the same tomato can as measure, pour in 2 cans of water into the pot.
– Add 2 teaspoons of paprika & about 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil.
– Next, add the meat back to the pot (juices ‘n all). Season the stew with salt & pepper. Add a couple of bay leaves to the pot, cover the pot and let the stew simmer on medium-low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Stir ocassionally.
– Once the stew has been stewing, add in the bell pepper pieces and some freshly chopped flat leaf parsley and stir. Leave the pot open and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
– While the stew simmers in the open pot you’ll notice a film of fat form on the top. Using a spoon, skim as much of the the fat off the top and throw it away.
– Serve over egg noodles or rice and garnish with a spoon of sour cream and some chopped fresh parsley.

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