It’s not really a “family recipe,” since by the time I was growing up in a blue-collar working-class neighborhood, “Goulash” was a puddle of ground beef and tomato sauce served over elbow macaroni. But its the kind of stew that speaks to my Eastern European roots. And it takes a big piece of relatively inexpensive meat and can turn it into something sublime.
The recipe I printed from Recipezaar years ago and filed away in my three-ring recipe binder is no longer there, but it’s close to this recipe for Real Hungarian Goulash. Note the “No tomato paste here” in the title – that was what I had to add to find the right recipe. Because it doesn’t have tomatoes, or shouldn’t. I also don’t cook any roots in my beef stews, especially this one. Just cubed chuck roast, browned with onions and tossed with several tablespoons of paprika and then left to simmer in a Dutch oven for several hours.
I do stir dollops of sour cream in at the end, though.
Fresh from the pot on the first day, I served it with mashed potatoes and sweet and sour red cabbage.
Day two, with no other cooking to do and a free afternoon, I decided to make egg noodles. One of the many resources at my disposal from previous times of plenty is our Kitchenaid Mixer and a lot of attachments, including pasta rollers and cutters. Homemade pasta, per pound, is not something that’s cheaper than store-brand noodles, but it is good, and different from our usual fare, and inexpensively filling. With the mixer, a batch doesn’t take long to mix, roll, and cut. If you put a pot on to boil when you start rolling and cutting, you can cook as soon as the last piece is cut. I tossed them with lots of butter and poppyseeds and fresh lemon zest, and Secunda liked them so much she refused to let her goulash touch them.