Friday, February 17, 2012

Slovenian Dinner Week 4: Beef Goulash with Bread Two Ways

Beef Goulash (golaž) with Sauerkraut
Garlic Bread or Bread Dumplings
Green Salad

After last week's misadventures with žganci, a more sensible person would have been done with buckwheat. But I decided to the start the day with a quick little invention of my own, healthy buckwheat šmoren.

Fortified with buckwheat, I began my search for a dinner recipe.  Maybe something a little less exotic than last week's chicken ajmoht.  Goulash seemed like a perfect choice.
I found versions in all three of my vintage cookbooks, but some of them struck me as a little bland.  I wanted something with more bite than a traditional American beef stew, so I did  a little mix-and-match with the recipes to come up with the tastiest possible version.

1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper (my substitution for green pepper)
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1.2 lb. beef stew meat
1 T. paprika
1 t. salt
a pinch of cayenne
1 t. ground caraway seed
1 T. flour
16 oz sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (or not!)
water as needed

Saute the first four ingredients in a little olive oil.  Add meat.  Cover and simmer.  Add the spices and flour, stir to combine, and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the sauerkraut and  enough water to achieve a stew-like consistency.  Cover and cook until meat is tender, about 1 hour.

The result:  A familiar dish, easy to prepare, and  with more tang than the typical goulash.  It seemed like the simple, mild-mannered cousin to  bigos, Polish hunter's stew. The sauerkraut flavor did seem  pronounced,  and I wondered whether I should have used less.  (Some recipes use none at all.)  My husband, on the other hand, thought we could have used more.

I had planned to serve the goulash with bread dumplings, a dish I had never tried, but I ran out of time.   So my husband threw together some garlic bread,  along with  the green salad.

We had plenty of goulash left over,  so I figured I would get another chance to make those dumplings the following night.

And, as I expected, the goulash tasted even better the next day!

(For a second take on goulash with sauerkraut, go here.  And for an even spicier dish, known as goulash soup or  bograč, go here.)

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