Memories of summer is now in the distant past. The air is once again cold and damp. The trees are leafless and the ground full of fallen leaves waiting to be cleared. Our barbecuing days are over, at least for now. Warming stews and soups are what's best to eat at this time of year.
With all the end-of-the-year festivities we are faced with, it it best not to fuss with the everyday meals. One of the easiest and fuss free dishes I like to cook is goulash. It is a rustic stew usually made with beef but can also made with pork, lamb or veal. The ingredient that gives it its character is paprika. After the searing and sauteing process it just sits in the oven to develop that rich taste and tender texture that we all look forward to. It is so versatile, too. It is equally delicious with boiled potatoes, rice, pasta or bread. Make this dish one of your favourite winter warmers.
1 kg. braising steak, cut into cubes
flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging
2 tbsps. olive oil
2 tbsps. butter or butter substitute
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 medium onions, sliced
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsps. tomato paste
2 c. beef stock (boiling hot)
1/4 c. sherry (optional)
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1/2 of a small red sweet pepper, sliced
1/4 c. crème fraîche or sour cream
Slice the beef into approximately 2"x1"x1/4 thick slices and dust lightly with the seasoned flour. Shake off the excess.
Brown, a few at a time, in a mixture of the olive oil and butter. Set aside.
In the same pan, saute the garlic for 1 minute, then add the onions and cook until soft. Add the paprika and the tomato paste. Blend well.
Transfer to an oven proof casserole then add the beef, the 2 c. of boiling hot stock and the sprig of thyme. Stir gently then cook in the oven for 1 hour and fifteen minutes or until the beef is tender.
Add the sweet pepper strips after an hour of cooking.
When done, stir in the crème fraîche. Serve with tagliatelle, boiled potatoes or rice.
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