I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Weekend Food and It is March Already?

Yes indeed, March snuck in like a lamb, at least here at the beach...but winter is still very much with us and despite the calendar, the world seems endlessly cold and grey. And that is if you don't have mounds and mounds of snow.

Hi! If you had last week's blizzard [s?] at your house, I do hope all is well, cozy and warm. The weather just seems perfect for delicious hot fragrant comfort food, so today we'll make classic Hungarian goulash and spaetzle. Yum!

The goulash is essentially a very simple stew. I was inspired to make it recently because I found lovely sweet Hungarian paprika at Savory Spice, when I was ordering the  seasonings for the chili verde.

You do need nice paprika for this...I haven't found truly wonderful paprika since I left Brooklyn Heights and its gourmet spice shops...but you can get a fairly good version in most markets, just look for the red old fashioned tin, and be sure it says "Sweet" [not hot!] on it. [Szeged is the name of the maker, I believe.] Or Savory Spice .

The recipe is old, from a tattered James Beard cookbook my mom gave me when I was in college.
[Yes, I cooked in college, somehow it is always ME who does the providing of sustenance. Too bad I hate to cook....] Nevermind! This is easy and delish!
You need good beef for goulash. Please do not buy ''stew meat'' unless that is all you can afford!
The better the ingredients, the better the result, so true in all cooking!

I usually buy a sirloin steak/ London broil  and cube it myself.

Cut in 11/2" cubes.
Toss with flour, paprika, tenderizer, salt, seasoned [or plain] pepper.

Saute in batches, in a combination of oil and butter. Get the cubes nicely browned.

Add a large can of tomato puree, 2 Cups of beef broth. Some red wine if you have it? You can use what you have on hand. Water to cover. Stir....
Here I used crushed tomatoes and consomme, plus leftover brown gravy, leftover wine.....

Stir in the rest of the flour paprika mixture. I add more paprika...and 2T. of sugar or sweetener.
No onions, No garlic. You can add mushrooms, whole, if you insist.
Stir gently to mix the browned bits into the mix. Cover with foil, then the dutch oven heavy lid, bake 3 hours at 350.

Or at this point transfer to your crock pot and slow cook it for about 8 hours on Low? I like to cook dishes like this ahead of time, so that I can refrigerate overnight. I cool it off and put the whole thing right in the fridge, on a teatowel...
The flavors meld nicely..and I skim off all the excess fat and oil.

Reheat gently. And while you're reheating.... you must make spaetzle! {Or boil up some whole wheat noodles!} Spaetzle is  a noodle/ dumpling, of I think Swiss origin. Pronounced Spetz'-lee.

Mix 2 beaten eggs into 1 cup of cold water.

Pinch of salt. Slowly add flour until it becomes a sticky dough.

I work in the [well-cleaned] sink so it is less messy.

It will be hard to stir, but keep mixing...big circular sweeps with your stirring fork,
until what my mom called rubber bands form. You'll see the noodle dough changes, becomes shiny and makes long swirls? refrigerate while you bring salted water to a boil.

To form the dumplings, hold the bowl in your left hand [or you know, reverse for lefties!], tip it over the boiling water and just as the dough slides to the edge, chop off a small bit with a sharp knife held in your other hand. Keep doing this until the water is full. Remove with a slotted spoon to  colander, then a heated bowl. Takes a few batches but it is easy and fast to do. The dumplings cook almost instantly, I let them all rise to the top of their cooking water and then wait a moment or two. Practice, practice! The smaller the little bits you chop off the finer the dumplings. Up to you. Mine in the pix are too chunky,lol.

Serve with the goulash,and a big blob of fat free sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. I like a green veggie to go with, usually steamed broccoli.

MMMMmmm. Smells so good. Warms your tummy, and your wintry soul. Lots of easy to reheat leftovers, freezes well too.


le Creuset Dutch Ovens here  also at Williams-Sonoma. And you might find a great buy in an odd color at Marshalls or T J Maxx. Mine is 5 1/2 quarts. And it is at least 20 years old.


         gone to the beach..... [to walk off the goulash!]


a couple real recipes in case you need them, but they're more complicated!


and a fancy James Beard one here