Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh My Goulash!

Cooking for Matt is easy. We pretty much like the same things (pasta, pizza, sushi and red meat), so whenever I’m feeling up for it, I prepare him something simple yet hearty.

One time, I figured I would make him something he missed from his native Germany. He immediately asked for Beef Goulash. Although it is essentially Hungarian, this rich-yet-unfussy stew is a popular dish in countries all over Central Europe. I searched the internet for a recipe and found Wolfgang Puck’s version on If there would be a fool-proof Goulash recipe out there, it must be from this popular Austrian chef.

Needless to say, it was a hit with Matt, and pretty much all the other home-sick Germans I’ve ever cooked it for. One friend even went as far as saying that it was better than his mother’s! (Note: I chose to keep his identity hidden for his own safety.)

After cooking goulash for quite a number of times, I have eventually made it my own, tweaking the measurements to suit our taste and using ingredients that are easily accessible in Manila. Matt, for instance, is not a big fan of kuemmel (caraway seeds) so I don’t put a lot. But what I have realized is that the secret to tasty, authentic and flavorful goulash is paprika, lots of it. Also, I have substituted chicken stock with easy-to-store Knorr chicken cubes, which work just as well.

Beef Goulash (Preparation time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 3 hours)


1 kilo Beef Shank (cubed)
4 cups White Onion (thinly sliced)
6 cloves Garlic (minced)
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons White Sugar
2 teaspoons dried Thyme
2 teaspoons dried Marjoram
1 teaspoon Kuemmel
2 Bay Leaves
3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 tablespoons Spanish Paprika
¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 liter Water
2 Knorr Chicken Cubes
Salt and Pepper, to taste


-Sautee onions in olive oil until soft in medium heat. Add sugar and cook until caramelized.
-Add garlic, thyme, marjoram, kuemmel, bay leaves, paprika and tomato paste, in that order.
-Deglaze pot with balsamic vinegar.
-Add cubed beef shank and cover with water. Toss in Knorr cubes in the stew and mix. Let it boil in high heat.
-When boiling, lower heat and let the stew simmer for at least 2 ½ hours, or until very tender.
-Season with salt and pepper before serving. Serve hot, with Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Peas.

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