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Italian food pilgrimage

Passport & Plate - Goulash

Hungary | Tuesday, 11 March 2014 | 5 photos


Ingredients:

For goulash:

300 g good quality beef
4 medium-sized potatoes
1 carrot
1 onion
200 g champignons
1 green paprika
1 red paprika
3 tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 tbsp ground paprika
0,5 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp chili paste
1 tsp salt
0,5 tsp black ground pepper
Beef broth cube

For sauce:

30 g butter
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp creme fraiche
0,3 l crushed tomatoes or tomato paste


Cut the beef into 1-1,5 cm cubes.
Put the beef into a thick-bottomed pan, add ground paprika, salt, cumin seeds, black pepper, chili paste, the beef broth cube. Add water to cover the meat. Gently bring to a boil, then allow to simmer over a low flame with the lid for about 2 hours.
Cut the potatoes into 6 chunks, chop carrots lengthwise and crosswise.Add to the mixture and cook on low flame for 10 minutes.
Cut the mushrooms and the red and green paprika into half a centimeter thick slices.Add to mixture and cook on low flame for another 10 minutes.
Dice the onion, add to mixture.
To prepare the sauce melt the butter on a low flame in a frying pan, mix in the flour. Add creme fraiche and crushed tomatoes. Add water if the sauce is too thick. Slowly bring the sauce to a boil, allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Slice the tomatoes.
Add tomato slices, minced or finely chopped garlic and sauce to the soup. Let the soup stay under the lid on a warm stove for 10 minutes.

Serve hot. The traditional goulash does not have mushrooms, onion or tomatoes as ingredients, and the sauce is optional but adds thickness and a creamy taste to the dish. Extra ground paprika and chili paste can be added to taste depending on how spicy you like your food.



The story behind this recipe

The recipe is my own modification of Hungarian goulash. I discovered this nourishing soup during a short thrift trip to Budapest. It was late autumn. I flew in with a friend on Friday and we were due to leave Saturday afternoon. Our funds were severely limited and at first we were a bit suspicious of Hungary's signature dish because of its laughably low price and were not convinced anything short of a beef chop with a generous serving of fries could keep hunger away for long. Yet once we tried it that's what kept us warm in between racing from one sight to the other on a windy November day. Not only was a plate enough to keep you full for hours of sightseeing, the soup was delicious beyond measure. Obviously the waiters were not ready to surrender the whole recipe, so a plan was devised to order goulash in several restaurants and ask just one question at each eatery about how the soup is prepared. After ordering at 4 different places in one day and getting too stuffed for comfort I was able to piece together the main idea behind preparing the dish.
I experimented with the recipe multiple times on my return home and built upon it, finally coming up with a dish that is healthy, filling and extremely flexible in additional ingredients.

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