COOKING has become something of a hobby for many of us – the proof of which can be found on the multitude of websites and blogs stewing on the internet.
Gone are the days when we meticulously consult the gathering tomes by revered celebrity chefs, panicking about that one missing ingredient.
As a collector of recipe cards and scribbled notes (don’t judge too harshly – everyone needs their interests), I find myself adopting then adapting many recipes according to what I have, what I like, and what whoever I’m cooking for is willing to eat.
Purists may say that the results are inauthentic, or lacking in precision or execution: but I like to think of it as experimention, which either goes wrong or has me reaching for seconds.
The point, fellow foodies, is this — the following recipe for goulash is probably unrecognisable from the traditional Hungarian dish, and there are definitely a few changes.
Perceptive readers may spot a leek, for which I can only blame my other half and his aversion to onions (they do work surprisingly well as a substitute though).
But the recipe does work, and does taste good – although I add a cautious note to constantly taste as you cook, particularly when using chillies as everyone has their own idea of the perfect level of spiciness.
So here it is, a winter warmer served with crusty bread (or if you’re near Partick, pick up some dumplings courtesy of the new Polish delicatessen — see, adapting).
Enjoy, cut out the recipe, and make your own notes in the margin – or even better, get in touch, and I’ll try something new next time as well.
500g slow-cook beef (I used topside, but any stewing/casserole cut will work), cubed
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
100ml beef stock
1 pepper, sliced
1 onion or leek, sliced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 chilli, finely chopped (add according to taste, according to spice preferences)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp cornflour
Sprinkle of plain flour, for browning meat
Soured cream and crusty bread (or dumplings), to serve
Preheat the oven to 170c – no hotter or the meat will be tough.
Coat the beef in flour and season well, then heat a small amount of oil in a casserole dish (on the hob) and brown to seal in juice. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Use the same dish to soften onion or leek, chilli and garlic, then dust with paprika and remove from heat.
Add the chopped tomatoes, stock, mushrooms and beef to the pot, and simmer in the oven, covered, for at least 1 hour 30 mins.
Mix cornflour with a splash of cold water to form a watery paste and add to the stew, along with the peppers – this will thicken the mixture slightly.
Cook for a further 30 minutes, or until beef is tender and falls apart.
Serve in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream on top, and with crusty bread to dip in.