Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hungarian Goulash with Egg-Drop Dumplings

My aunt was Hungarian, and my mother (who lived in Hungary for many years) was Austrian. I don’t know if my aunt ever made Hungarian Goulash, but my mother will long be remembered for hers, principally because it tasted awful. Stringy, rock-hard knobs of beef and vats of paprika do not a good Goulash make! And to think … Goulash was my mother’s specialty! Anyone who ever knew my mother - a gifted pianist - knew that her considerable talents lay outside the kitchen. 
There is no single recipe for Hungarian Goulash, but good quality stewing beef and plenty of onions are essential. Hungarians say that using Hungarian sweet paprika is mandatory, but (not being Hungarian, myself), I find regular paprika does an excellent job. I like to serve this dish with sour cream and with my recipe for Spätzle, posted Sept. 17, 2011 (indexed under Side Dishes), but I also like to serve it with the easy Egg-Drop Dumpling recipe included in this post. My Goulash uses a slow cooker. Although it’s very easy to make, it requires 5-½ hr. in a covered slow cooker, to blend the flavors and tenderize the meat. Warning! Goulash is highly addictive!

This recipe requires a slow cooker
Hungarian Goulash with Egg-Drop Dumplings:
2 tbsp. canola oil
½ lb. back bacon, diced in bite-sized pieces
2 lb. stewing beef, cubed
4 or 5 medium-to-large onions, thickly sliced or coarsely chopped
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
2 or 3 bay leaves
2 tsp. garlic, minced
3 tbsp. Hungarian sweet paprika
¾-to-1 c. apple juice
1 tbsp. browning sauce such as Bovril or Kitchen Bouquet
In heavy skillet, heat oil almost to smoking point. Add back bacon and stewing beef, stirring constantly to brown. If meat releases water, drain and start again. If meat continues to release water, continue to drain until meat seares in hot oil. Remove both meats from skillet and set aside. Lower heat, adding onions, marjoram, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and garlic. Add half of meat to slow cooker and sprinkle with half paprika. Add half of onions; repeat. Combine apple juice with browning sauce and pour over seasoned meat and onions. Cover slow cooker and set to “low.”
After 5 hr. on slow cooker’s lowest setting, drain off ¼ c. of broth, cooling to room temperature. When cool, stir in 2 tbsp. flour until no lumps remain. Return flour-and-broth mixture to pot, stirring to thicken meat mixture. Makes 6 generous servings.

To Prepare the Egg-Drop Dumplings:
1 egg
6 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. salt

Combine flour with unbeaten egg and salt. Let batter rest 30 min. before dropping into Goulash by teaspoonful. Cover slow cooker and turn to high heat. Simmer 5 min. after dumplings rise to surface - any longer and they will toughen. Yields 7 dumplings. Serve Goulash and dumplings in large soup bowls, with a dollop of sour cream.

Use the tenderest stewing beef, back bacon, and a slow cooker

And plenty of onions! The pungent kind that make you cry!

Sliced thickly or chopped coarsely, don't skimp on the onions
Fry them in the same skillet you've fried the beef and bacon
Layer onions, meat, and spices in cooker. Pour on apple juice 
Patience is a virtue. It also tenderizes meat and blends flavors
When Goulash is done, decant 1/4 c. of broth and mix with flour
Blend well, removing lumps
Return to cooker to thicken Goulash
Prepare Egg-Drop Dumplings and let mixture sit 30 min.
Hungarian Goulash with Egg-Drop Dumplings and sour cream


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