I first cooked beef goulash a little over five years ago, inspired by a dish I had eaten at a restaurant in Salzburg, Austria in May 2014. After a couple of attempts, I settled on a recipe and included it in a post about some beef dishes we had sampled during our travels.
Although I liked the goulash, Maggie was not so keen on the flavour of the paprika, an essential ingredient in any dish by that name. However, she tolerated its appearance on our home-dining menu just once each year thereafter, if only for the dumpling which sat on top of each filled ramekin.
Between last year’s batch and getting ready to prepare a meal of goulash once this year’s winter had set in, I had made some significant changes to my diet, in order to lower my blood sugar level by reducing my consumption of carbohydrates. So, I wanted to reduce the proportion of potato and flour in the mixture for the dumplings but without detracting from what they contribute to the flavour and texture of the finished dish.
My solution was to use some cauliflower in place of some of the potato and, thanks to the relative ‘lightness’ of the cauli, I could probably get away with less flour. Then, as I set about the task, I decided to cater for my dear wife by reducing the volume of red-pepper additives, both paprika and cayenne.
I am pleased to say that the result was so agreeable that Maggie suggested we make a batch again soon. Which we did, using slightly wider ramekins, topped with smaller dollops of dumpling and thus leaving room for the bubbling juices to push up and cook the dumplings evenly.
So, hear is the amended recipe, which has secured the place of beef goulash in our winter menu for many years to come. Happy cook, happy kitchen-hand!
1-2 tbsp olive oil
500g gravy beef (weight after meat is trimmed), cut into 3cm cubes
salt and pepper
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
¼ cup each of chicken stock and beef stock
1¼ tsp sweet paprika
<¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup tomato passata
200g potato suitable for mashing
100g cauliflower florets
70ml self-raising flour
60ml grated pecorino or parmesan
20ml chopped parsley
- Heat a little oil in a heavy-based, non-stick pan over moderate heat, and brown the beef in two or three batches. Remove beef from pan and season with salt and pepper. Wipe pan clean of any burnt meat juices.
- Preheat oven to 150C (less if your oven cooks hot).
- Add onion, garlic and sufficient olive oil to the pan and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add carrot and sauté for a further 4 minutes. Add paprika and cayenne and stir for 1 minute. Transfer onion mix to an oven-proof baking dish, over moderate heat.
- Add browned meat, stock and passata and bring to the boil. Transfer to oven and cook for about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is just tender. Adjust seasoning after one hour of cooking. Remove goulash from the oven and uncover the dish so it can cool a little.
- When the beef is nearly cooked and tender, peel the potato, cut into chunks and cover with plenty of salted, cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 9 minutes. Add cauliflower, return to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes
- Drain the two vegetables well, return to the pan, add the butter then, when it has melted, add milk and mash until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the flour, cheese and parsley and stir to combine well.
- Increase oven temperature to 170C and place an oven rack one level above mid-point.
- Divide the beef and its sauce evenly between 3 or 4 ramekins (ours are 12cm in diameter and 6cm high. Use a grapefruit spoon to add four or five small dollops of the dumpling mix to each ramekin, spray with cooking oil and bake for about 20 minutes or until the dumplings are golden.
Cheers for now!