I was going to start this post with "Nothing was going right this week." But that would not be quite true. The goulash with spaetzle was going very right. In fact, this comfort food saved my sanity this week because I could count on a pot of this great stew waiting for me when I got home. I've been itching to make a goulash ever since Diana's post on Off the Bone about her trip to Budapest. Diana's description of this glorious stew reminded me of our honeymoon in Prague, and it suddenly dawned on me that I'd never tried making goulash before. This situation had to be remedied at once. I basically followed Diana's recipe, but couldn't help incorporating a bit of Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon technique, and an extra slow, extra long braise. The result was a spoon tender, melt in your mouth stew that is perfect for comforting people in distress (even ones with broken computers).
3 Lb beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Tbsp lard or oil
2 onions, finely sliced
2 medium carrots, finely sliced
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 Tbsp flour
4 cups beef stock
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 300F.
- Dry the beef well on paper towels
- Set a large, heavy, oven proof pot over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp lard and wait for it to melt. Add as much beef as will fit in one layer without crowding the pot and brown well on all sides. You'll have to do it in batches. Remove beef to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining Tbsp lard, onions and carrots to the pot and cover. Turn down the heat to medium-low, and cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender and starting to brown, 5-7 minutes.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high. Return beef to the pot, season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in paprika and flour. Cook stirring constantly until no streaks of flour remain. Continue to cook stirring for another minute.
- Add beef stock, garlic, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. Then cover and set in the middle of the oven for 3 and 1/2 hours. The stew is done when the beef is spoon tender.
Serve with spaetzle, noodles, potatoes, or just good crusty bread.