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New England Goulash

This recipe is fun and delicious and is true to the wonderful nature of a traditional goulash. Use only a beef chuck roast for ultimate tenderness. The initial browning of the beef serves to seal in the juices; the intention is not to cook the meat at this stage, so it is best to keep the heat high to medium-high and not extend the suggested cooking time. If the baby potatoes are on the large side, cut them in half to maintain the proper cooking time. Use caution when handling the hot peppers.

New England Goulash with Baby Red Potatoes
G. M. Joachim, A Taste of It All, Celebrating the Mood of Food

5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 Tablespoon butter
1 (3-4 pound) beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1″ cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups onion, coarsely chopped
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 Tablespoons paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 whole fresh jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
15 whole small baby red potatoes, unpeeled
1 large red and one large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
½ cup light sour cream
1 Tablespoon fresh, flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 300°. Season beef chuck cubes generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large, oven-proof kettle over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Add half the meat to the kettle in one layer. Cook the undersides until browned, not moving the pieces, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until all sides are browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl; add 2 more Tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and brown remaining beef the same way. Transfer the meat to the bowl.

With the heat set to medium, add the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and the butter to the kettle. Add the chopped onions and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the kettle with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits until the onions have softened (about 8 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low; add the minced garlic and simmer for 1 minute. Add the paprika, cayenne, and flour to make a roux. Cook and stir until onions are evenly coated and flour is absorbed, about 4 minutes.

Stir in 1½ cups broth, scraping the pan bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen remaining browned bits. Increase heat to medium, whisking until thickened. Gradually add remaining broth, stirring constantly and scraping pan edges. Stir in tomato paste, bay leaves, marjoram, and jalapeño pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the browned beef and its juices; stir to blend. Submerge meat into the liquid with a wooden spoon. Increase heat to high until simmering. Cover the kettle and place in the oven and cook for one hour and fifteen minutes.

Remove kettle from oven; add the potatoes and chopped bell peppers. Stir, cover, and return the pot to the oven, cooking another 40-45 minutes until meat and potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and skim off any fat that rises to the top.

Mix the sour cream with ½ cup of the hot stewing liquid. Stir this mixture into the stew and stir in the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately with extra sour cream.

Serves 4-6.

MF&L Staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

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