Many years ago, dear hubby and I spent a winter vacation in Austria. We skiied (real mountains!) we sledded (dear Gods, 8 km down a steep mountain road together on a single flimsy sled! ) and we led the genteel life in Vienna (Coffee! Sacher Torte!). It’s the vacation we still talk about many years later.
Among the treasures we brought back from that vacation were das Franz Ruhm Kochbuch and a half kilo of paprika. Both of these were in support of a new enthusiasm for gulasch, or goulash – beef and sometimes potatoes with a marvelous blend of onions and paprika bound with a hint of tomato. As a soup, it’s a grand pick-me-up or restorative. As a stew, it can be plain or very fancy. It lends itself to variations: more gravy, less meat means ‘student style’. With little sausages and pickles. Or ‘carriage driver style’ – with the sausage plus a fried egg on top.
At our house, we tend to like it as shown above: with potatoes and sausage and pickles, in texture somewhere between a stew and a soup. I can’t think of a better dish for cold, grey, or damp weather.
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 3 large onions, chopped
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 c flour
- 2 Tbsp sweet paprika
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 4 c beef stock
- 1 1/2 lb lean beef, cubed
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp caraway seed
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 2-3 potatoes, peeled if desired and cubed – leftover cooked potatoes are okay here
- small sausages – hot dogs are fine
- dill pickles, chopped
Heat oil in a heavy Dutch oven, sauté the onions until they begin to turn golden. Add the tomato paste and flour, and stir well. Remove from the heat, and add the paprika, stirring very well to combine.
Add the vinegar, then return pot to the heat. Add broth. Bring to a boil, then add the meat, garlic, caraway, and marjoram. Reduce the heat, and simmer gently, covered, until the beef is tender. If you’re using raw potatoes, add them early on, so that they’ll cook through, but if you’re using cooked potatoes, wait until just before serving.
At serving time: score sausages/hot dogs several times, and cook or heat until just cooked through. Put one sausage on top of each bowl. Scatter with chopped dill pickles and serve.