Monday, January 20, 2014
German Gulaschsuppe (Beef Paprika Stew)
Awhile ago, I was slowly caramelizing some onions and browning beef cubes intending to make some beef curry, when I suddenly thought Gulaschsuppe, and that sounded a lot more interesting than curry. I asked Michael which he'd prefer, and after a moment's thought we agreed that a nice spicy stew was a good idea.
I have realized that this dish is as close to a 'signature' dish as I've got. The one that my children will remember many years of sitting down to it for dinner.... the one I know will be well received (at least by those who like spicy) at any potluck I might attend. It is surely the recipe I've been making the longest that I still enjoy eating!
This is a popular German stew/soup - some areas will add peppers to it, others will remove the potatoes and just make it about the beef. It wouldn't be traditional - but I think sweet potatoes could be happily swapped out for the potatoes. I made a couple minor changes to my usual recipe this go-round - I used tallow instead of olive oil (it was, simply, what was at hand). I like using tallow to brown beef because it adds a rich, meaty taste and lets the meat brown really well while remaining tender. I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar along with the wine when I deglazed the pot, again, because it was at hand. It smelled good! I'm not sure if it did anything particularly different from the wine, but everything came out quite rich and hearty.
Here's the recipe:
2 T. olive oil (or tallow, coconut oil, etc)
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 lb beef, cubed into bite sized pieces
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup red wine
6 med thin skinned potatoes, peeled and cubed into bite sized pieces
32 oz beef broth
3 bay leaves
2 T. caraway seeds
1 T. hot Hungarian paprika
2 T. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 small can tomato paste
Cook onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion is caramelized. Scrape pot and add beef, browning well .. the crusty bits add to the flavor. (Don't burn.) Scrape the pot again and add the wine and balsamic vinegar, which will deglaze the pot - let it simmer on low until the wine has almost entirely evaporated.
Add broth, bay leaves, caraway seeds and paprikas, and let simmer for as long as you've got time for... I like to give it at least an hour, but less is fine, as long as you let it cook long enough to tenderize the beef.
Add potato cubes and enough water to cover plus about 1 inch above, and bring to boil. When potatoes are tender, add tomato paste, lower to a simmer and let cook for about another 15 minutes.
If you like, give it another splash of wine just before serving.
I also served this with the Grain-Free Biscuits that have become our go-to choice for bread, when we need some. One a whim, I tossed about a 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese into the batter, and they turned out really moist and delicious that way!