Beef Goulash for the Soul
Well, the nights have started drawing in, and isn't it that little bit colder most days? I keep hearing rumours of an Indian summer, but every hint of it seems just to be a tease before the chill sets in again. I'm sat on the couch today, under a blanket, because I refuse to believe it's time to put the heating on!
In any event, it's definitely time to switch to your autumn wardrobe (which to me means cracking out the Autumn/Winter/Spring jumpers) and trade the light summer salads for those good old-fashioned hearty stews. Something a bit more comforting, and well... soul-warming!
I promised back in January that not every recipe would be a fat club one, but it turns out that most of them have. I can only apologise for that, whilst hoping that you haven't found them to be lacking. You'll be glad to know that this one isn't from Fat Club.... but I'm still fat fighting, and it just turns out that this particular recipe is still pretty healthy, and would be considered "free" at Slimming World... just a coincidence, though!
I loved this recipe - not only was it super tasty, but it definitely warmed me up. It doesn't have the spice you might expect from me, just a nice warmth and depth that left me feeling comfy-cosy!
600g stewing steak, diced
2 onions, chunkily chopped
1tbsp hot paprika
1tbsp smoked paprika
1 beef stock cube
2x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2tbsp tomato puree
2 large peppers, chunkily chopped (try to avoid green)
1 large measure of soul
If you can have "finely chopped" then I'm definitely claiming "chunkily chopped"!
I split this into three portions, but felt I could've managed more, so in these quantities, it may suit two better.
- Pop the oven on to pre-heat to 150ºc (Fantastic) or 170ºc (classical). I heard it on the grapevine that that's gas mark 3
- Get your groove on. Take the large measure of soul neat... I recommend something along the lines of this
- Turn it up to the ten
- Close your eyes, and sway. Just a little. All you need is a pinch, and a finger-pop
- Spray a casserole dish with some oil or fry-light, and heat over high, on the hob
- Once it's up to heat, lightly brown the beef, and then chuck in the onions
- After a few seconds, add the paprika, and the beef stock cube (it would make sense to crumble this in, because whole stock cubes is crazy-talk)
- Stir in the tomatoes and the puree, and season well with salt and pepper
- Cover, and pop it in the oven
- Sing. Loudly, and soulfully (not necessarily well) for an hour
- Remove the goulash from the oven, add the peppers, and give it a right good stir
- Re-cover, and pop it back in the oven
- Sing and dance, with hand-claps, for another hour
- Give it one last stir, and serve with some rice, or potato wedges
Well it was quite a comfortable win for Tesco this week, coming in at only £9.69 compared to ASDA's second place offering of £10.13.
Sainsbury's managed a third place effort at £10.76, a considerable way ahead of Morrisons' £14.27.
In fairness, Morrisons were only let down by their pack sizing putting them £3 behind at the offset. They also suffered from high prices on paprika - they only seemed to stock the Schwartz brand, which was surprising as they normally carry a good range at prices only slightly pipped by ASDA.
So - what's your beef? My beef is that there wasn't enough beef. I'd probably up this recipe to 1kg of stewing steak, but leave the sauce as it is... theres enough to go round. With 1kg it could probably stretch to serve four, but I think two or three would be more comfortable for gluttons like me!
As I was cooking, I wondered if more paprika might be in order. You certainly could add more, although I found the balance just right - it's not spicy, just comforting, and adding too much paprika has a tendency, in my own humble opinion, to add an earthy quality that some may find slightly unpleasant.
You could add some spice heat to this if you wanted, but shock-of-shocks, I'm going to recommend against it. This may just be because I tend to add chilli to everything, so this recipe represents a bit of a change for me. You should feel free to experiment for yourself, as the sauce is certainly robust enough to hold up to a bit of extra heat.
This could easily be made vegetarian or vegan by swapping the meat for potato or sweet potato, maybe some butternut squash, or a quorn-style substitute. Remember to change the stock cube too, though! I think I'd like to try it with some chunky potato.
The hairy bikers do a recipe for paprika chicken. Part of their Hairy Dieters series, it's not quite a goulash, but rather a similar Romanian variation called Paprikash. It's quite tasty, but one of those paprika dishes that I find particularly earthy. I think this sauce is better, and you could certainly swap the beef for chicken thighs if you wanted to mix it up a little.
This one is a fairly faithful recreation from the recipe in Comfort Food without the Calories by Justine Pattison.