Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to Make Czech Goulash

Things are starting to heat up as summer draws near. Warmer temps once again mean using the oven less and opting for the stove and outdoor grill. Before it gets too hot, I need to enjoy a few more heavy Czech meals until the autumn season brings forth cooler temperatures. One dish that comes to mind is Czech Gulas also known as goulash, or gulash. Gulas is a stew meat dish that has effectively worked its way around eastern and central Europe with slight variations found across every country. I have seen Gulas on Czech and Polish menus at restaurants in the States that bear distinguishable differences. The main variances have been in the thickness of the sauce as well as the color.  Some goulash will appear more “paprika red” while others appear more brown like Stroganoff.  Goulash also can be served over a variety of side dishes whether it is egg noodles, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, or dumplings (knedliky). I prefer this dish over egg noodles, but will never pass up the opportunity to serve over dumplings if they are on hand! Here is my recipe. As long as you standby the main ingredients of meat, onions, and a tomato base, the rest is up to you. If you have extra vegetables in your crisper that you need to use, add them to this recipe whether it is celery, green pepper, or even asparagus. I am sure that Worcestershire sauce is a no-no to gulas purists, though I am reluctant to take that ingredient out of this recipe as it adds a nice flavor.
Czech Gulas
2 pounds Beef Chuck, cubed or Stew Cuts
2 cups water with 2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved
1 large onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons butter or Lard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper
1.       Dredge meat cuts in flour and set aside on plate.
2.       Melt butter or lard in large Dutch oven under medium heat.
3.       Once shortening is melted, add onions and cook until soft or translucent.
4.       Add floured meat and sauté until lightly browned. This will give your goulash some backbone as the roux forms and flavor is added by the browning of the meat.
5.       Add tomatoes, garlic, Worcestershire, paprika, salt, pepper, and bouillon water.
6.       Stir together and simmer under low to medium heat covered for about half hour stirring occasionally.
7.       If much of liquid has cooked down, add about ½ cup water and continue simmering.
8.       Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
9.       Just before serving, stir in 1 cup of sour cream.
10.   Serve over egg noodles.

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