Tuesday, October 28, 2003

It's cold in Cleveland. Time to bring out one of my cold weather dishes - Hungarian goulash!

Back in college, my roommates were blessed with this dish every Wednesday evening. And we never got sick of it. My version is slightly different from the traditional version. It's more stew-like than soup-like: more potatoes! more meat! more everything! (Except water, of course. That would just mean more soup.)

1. Dice one large onion & 1 Hungarian pepper & saute in olive oil with several pinches of caraway seeds. Cook in medium heat for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent but not brown.

2. As in any traditional Hungarian dish, add paprika! As much or as sweet or as hot paprika as you wish.

3. Add some water & cook at medium high for 15 minutes.

4. Through a wire mesh strainer pour off onion mixture into a large pressure cooker.
5. You want to get all the juices out of the onion mixture, so add water through the mesh strainer onto the skillet and press the juices out with a wooden spoon, or your hands, several times. Add the juices to the pressure cooker too. The point is you're adding liquid volume and getting all the flavors out of the onion/peppers, because now you're going to discard onion/peppers.

6. Add about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds of beef. I like to use London broil & cut it into small cubes. Or you could buy the pre-cut stew meat.

7. Add salt & pepper to the pressure cooker. Turn on the heat, close the lid, and let the pressure do the work! I cook with pressure for about 45 minutes.

8. The next phase is cooked like a traditional soup. Remove the lid from the pressure cooker and add chopped celery, 4-6 peeled & diced potatoes, and a chopped tomato. Cook at a boil for 30 minutes.

9. And now for the least traditional ingredient (this is ladygoat's influence): add half an ounce of patis (Shhh! Don't tell Mom! Let alone Grandma!).

10. This is a good spot for a taste test: Do you need to add more salt? Pepper?

11. After the 30 minute boil is up, I make egg-drop noodles. One egg into a mug, add flour and mix until gooey. Using a hot spoon, scoop into boiling soup. Cook for 10 more minutes and serve!

I like this dish with bread and sour cream.

I made this dish for my old high school buddy/college roommate/video-game chum/hell-on-wheels friend Igor, who is presently recuperating from tonsillectomy. [Side note: each one of his tonsils was as big as a fist! :( ] Fortunately, he's recovering quite well.

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