Sunday, October 30, 2016

Joey's Ghoulish Goulash

 Ok, so it's Halloween, you're busy getting the kids' costumes together, you're answering the door a million times a day to give yummy treats to neighborhood ghosts and goblins, and you've already eaten too many mini Snickers bars and Milky Ways, right? Do you feel like cooking an elaborate dinner? I'm thinking probably not. When I was growing up,  Mom always had a pot of soup simmering on the stove, just because it was easier and it would warm us up after spending all afternoon trick or treating. Usually I would post a soup recipe for Halloween, just for the family tradition of it all, but today I decided to go a little rogue, and try a stew instead.
 For years, I've been wanting to find a really hearty authentic Hungarian Goulash, which is classically a tomato based beef stew with lots of paprika. The more I searched, the more I discovered that classic goulash is like classic tomato sauce. Everyone makes it differently, everyone has a grand mom who makes it the best, and all are equally authentic. So, as I often do, I deconstructed a few recipes, took what I liked from each of them, and made my own! And of course, since I'm doing it for Halloween, I MUST call it GHOULISH Goulash. Of course, I'm not the first person to ever think of this, but the alliteration and play on words is just too good not to!
 So here it is! It's easy to make, feeds a crowd, and it's absolutely delicious! Actually, I liked it so much, I made it twice in one week! It's warm and hearty and comforting. You could even prep it in the morning, (or the night before) and then let it cook all day in the crock pot. Enjoy it on Halloween or any night when you want something warm and cozy!

2 lbs beef cubes
olive oil
3 medium onions, roughly chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
5 tbs paprika
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Extra wide egg noodles

Heat oven to 350ºF.
Place beef cubes on a tray in one layer. Pat them dry with a paper towel. (This is a very important step, so no skipping!!) Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a few glugs of olive oil to a large heavy pot or Dutch Oven. Brown the beef in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan, removing to a separate bowl as you finish browning each batch. While the beef is browning, chop your onions. After you finished browning the beef, add the onions to the pot with a little extra oil. Stir and saute until they begin to soften. Add the remaining ingredients and the browned beef along with any accumulate beef juices. Give it a good stir, cover, then place in oven for about 2 hours. When the stew is almost done, boil your egg noodles according to package directions. Serve stew over noodles with some warm crusty bread.

As noted above, it's very important to pat the beef cubes dry before browning them. It's also just as important (if not MORE!) to not crowd the pan. You don't want to steam them, you want to BROWN them. So just take your time and brown the beef in smaller batches. You'll get a much deeper flavor!
As with every stew, make it how you like it! Do you want it to be saucier? Add more crushed tomatoes and beef broth. Do you want it to be spicier? Add more pepper and paprika. Taste as you go, and tweak as you like!
If the sauce is too thin, make a slurry of a little flour and water, then add it to the stew to thicken it. Easy!

No comments: