A friend said he was cooking this which immediately gave me a yearning.
First thing was that my paprika was supermarket and stale, so I ventured to the Spice Shop in Brighton, purveyor of all things herby, spicy and tasty.
Then it starts getting religious: is it a soup or a stew? Sour cream or not? Served with potatoes, rice, pasta, dumpling or some form of bread? Whose grandmother is the one true queen of goulash?
Ultimately, it seems to me at least, it boils down to distinguishing it from any other beef stew and that means NO WINE and NO tomatoes, however tempting that may be. The guardian recipe recommends faffing with green peppers, I didn’t and they were fine. Use lots of onions, they cook right down to the volume doesn’t matter. For a pound of meat, at least three, fried gently.
Hungarian joke: “what do you want for dinner tonight to go with your sour cream?”
Having stocked up on shiny new paprika it was disappointing to find that my caraway was dead. The end result was good enough but we both thought “needed mushrooms”.
Last night I did it again my way:
- Put in a bunch of quartered button mushrooms
- Used most of a bottle of red wine (Hungarian! Undrinkable!)
- Use a tin of chopped tomatoes
- Threw in a handful of pearl barley just because
- Bought fresh caraway seeds
- Scored beef shin from Morrisons which was fatty, marbled and so tender.
- I threw in some garlic at the onion frying stage
- I put a tablespoon of flour in with three of the paprika when coating before frying. Threw the unused in anyway
- I made herby (with Greek oregano!) dumplings
I liked mine better.