Goulash in Austria?

 

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Prior to visiting Austria, I had thought of Goulash as a specifically Hungarian dish.  Goulash does have Hungarian origins, but I quickly learned that relegating the dish to Hungary alone would be an error.  Austria and Hungary share a storied history, and indeed were unified under one government for some time.  Currently, Austria and Hungary share a 220 mile border.  It stands to reason, then, that these two countries would share many nuances of their food cultures with one another.  This would explain why one of the best meals we enjoyed in Austria, and perhaps in all of Western Europe, was a perfectly prepared Goulash.

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Residenzbrunnen Baroque Fountain in Salzburg

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Residenzplatz (Public Square) in Salzburg

What is Goulash? The name sounds a bit off-putting, to be perfectly honest!  Don’t let the name steer you astray – Goulash is a delightful comfort food, perfect for approaching Autumn weather.  It’s basically a stew, but different from an American beef stew in that the broth is much more rich and heavily seasoned with paprika.  I’ve simplified the recipe below a bit, saving the bread dumpling in the top photo above for a future recipe (bread dumplings are really a dish in their own right).  Instead of the bread dumpling, I’ve added additional vegetables below.  The end result captures the flavors of Austrian Goulash with more vitamins and fewer carbs.  You’ll want to start this recipe the night before serving… it’s super easy with a slow cooker, don’t worry!

Ingredients (Serves 6)

4 large, very ripe tomatoes

1 large onion

1 large red bell pepper

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon hot Hungarian paprika

1 tablespoon smoked Hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 pounds beef roast

6 medium potatoes

6 small onions, halved

6 carrots, peeled and halved

Directions

Step 1) The night before serving, cut tomatoes, 1 large onion, and red bell pepper into chunks.  Place in a crock-style slow cooker.  Add wine, cover, and cook on low overnight.

Step 2) The next morning, puree contents of slow cooker with an immersion blender.  Stir in paprika.  Leave the slow cooker turned on low, and leave the lid off the slow cooker during Step 3.  This will help to evaporate any excess liquid.

Step 3) Cut the beef roast into serving size chunks (cutting a 2 pound roast into 12 pieces works well).  Sprinkle with salt, and brown all sides on a hot pan for 2 minutes per side.  You will probably need to do this in 2 batches.

Step 4) Add browned beef to the slow cooker and sauce.  Place small onions and carrots on top.  Replace lid on slow cooker, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until meat comes apart easily with a fork.

Step 5) Just before serving, poke potatoes with a fork and microwave until tender (check after 5 minutes, but may take 8 minutes or longer).  Yes, we’re using a microwave.  There’s no need to be all precious about it.  Your potatoes will actually have a more pleasing texture this way, trust me.

Step 6) Place a cooked potato in each serving bowl and arrange a serving of meat, onions, and carrots alongside.  Generously ladle Goulash sauce over the top of everything.  Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired, and serve immediately.

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