Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wolfgang Puck: Gulyás (Beef Goulash)

As a child, when I used to flick through my mother's recipe cards, I always stopped to look at the ones written in a strange handwriting.  The recipes were in metric units, and they were always something foreign-sounding.  Like Gulaschsuppe.  Or Apfelstrudel.  I didn't know it at the time, but they were written by my mother's best friend when she lived in Germany.  These items never appeared on our dinner table that I remember, but I always wondered what they tasted like.  Finally I made some goulash (although not with my mother's recipe card - I'm too lazy to translate metric), and I'm certainly glad I did.  This Hungarian stew has a beautiful depth of flavor and is true comfort food.

Gulyás (Beef Goulash)
From Wolfgang Puck

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
1½ tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon hot paprika
2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cups chicken stock
2½ pounds beef shank, cut into 2-inch cubes**
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and sugar until caramelized. Add the garlic and caraway seed. Cook for 1 minute. Add the sweet and spicy paprika, marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf. Sauté another minute, until fragrant. Add the tomato paste. Deglaze with the vinegar and the stock and add the pieces of beef shank, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until very tender, about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with spaetzle on the side.

Makes 4 servings

**Note: If you can get beef shank still on the bone, throw those bones in at the same time as the beef cubes.  The marrow from the bones will cook into the stew and make it even more delicious.  Just toss the used bones before serving.  I got 3 (1¼-pound) shank steaks on the bone, and it worked beautifully for this recipe.

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