I made several changes to Slater's recipe in both preparation and ingredients, but I hope the spirit remains intact. His use of porcini mushrooms — not a traditional ingredient in Hungarian cuisine — won me over. Porcinis, although pricey and sometimes hard to find, lend a rich, earthy essence to soups and stews. I serve this with spaetzle, but feel free to substitute egg noodles or pearl couscous.
2poundsbeef or pork(or a mix of beef and pork), sliced into 3/4” cubes
2large onions, diced
1large red bell pepper, diced
1hot chili pepper(I used one hot Hungarian wax)
1tablespoonsweet Hungarian paprika
1/2tablespoonhot Hungarian paprika
1 1/2teaspoonscaraway seeds(optional: toasted and crushed)
15 ouncecandiced or crushed tomatoes
9ouncebox of spaetzle, cooked to package directions
salt, to taste
Soak mushrooms in 1 cup very, very hot water for a half hour.
Preheat oven to 275°F.
Heat oil or lard in a large 5 quart dutch oven or oven-proof stock pot over medium until shimmering. Add 1/2 of the meat, and brown on all sides (about 8 minutes). Remove to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining batch.
Add the onions and stir well, scraping any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Allow to soften and turn slightly golden. Add the chile and the peppers, cook briefly until just softened. Add the paprika(and stir well to coat the vegetables, cooking for just one minute. Add the flour and stir to coat. Add the mushrooms and their soaking liquid, along with the wine. Stir well to mix.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add the tomatoes and caraway seeds. Stir well. Finally add the beef stock. Bring to, as Slater delightfully commands, an enthusiastic simmer. Salt generously, give it one last stir and cover with a lid.
Place in the oven and allow to cook undisturbed for 1 1/2 hours.
While the stew simmers in the oven, prepare the spaetzle, timing it so that it will be completed in synch with the stew.
When the stew is finished, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Gently stir in the spaetzle (as much as you want; you might not use it all), then swirl in the sour cream. Or, add the sour cream, and serve the stew on top of the spaetzle.
adapted from Nigel Slater's amazing book, Tender
Hungarian Winter Stew (Hungarian Goulash) was originally published on https://soupaddict.com/hungarian-winter-stew/