First weekend of June. Not the time of year you typically associate with stews, but given our bizzare-o weather here in the Bay Area, I’m setting a pot to simmer.
These goulash basics (thank you, Sona!) will help you get a comfort-food dinner on the table with minimal fuss. You’ll need a piece of beef, a pound or two, or somewhere in between, preferably a piece of grass-fed chuck roast like our friends at Bi-Rite have conveniently chopped into stew cubes and packaged. The other essentials are red wine, onion and paprika. Other than that, you can experiment. Your goulash can be mild or spicy, soupy or dry, but it will always be fork-tender and flavorful. Enjoy!
makes 4 servings
1 pound beef chuck roast, cut in stew-sized chunks (preferably grass fed)
olive oil, a couple tablespoons
1 yellow onion
some red wine (a couple 6 oz. cups)
some broth, or more wine (another 6 oz. cup)
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon total mixed seasonings to provide heat and additional flavor, as desired: hot chili powder or chipotle or piment d’espelette, a sprinkle garam masala, a sprinkle porcini powder, some fresh chopped rosemary or thyme, you name it
serve over polenta or with pasta or crusty bread
1. Season and brown the meat. Dry meat with a paper towel, if moist. Combine paprika, salt and seasonings and sprinkle over all sides of the meat cubes. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized dutch oven or other pan (I use a Staub 2 3/4 qt braiser w/lid). Put meat in pan and brown over medium heat, turning to get all sides. This will take about 10 minutes.
2. Chop onion into a medium dice.
3. When meat is browned, remove from pan onto a plate and set aside. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the meat pan, heat, then add the onions. Stir with wooden spoon to get the “fond” (caramelized goodness from the meat browning step) off the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the onion is softened. You can put a lid on during this time to retain moisture and “sweat” the onions — just don’t forget to stir, as you don’t want burned onions.
4. Return meat (and any accumulated juices) into the pan with the onions. Over medium heat, add the wine and broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a medium-low and cover to retain a slow simmer. Let simmer away for an hour or more, and you’re done!
Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips
- As with all stews, goulash is even better when served the next day. Make it a day ahead, refrigerate, then just a reheat and you have dinner the next day.
- You can’t really go wrong with slow cooking beef — just keep enough liquid in the pan to let the meat simmer slowly and get tender. Wine, broth, a little stout beer, water, it’s all good. If you need to add some during the cooking process, do that.