Tonight I thought it appropriate to get in touch with some of my roots and make a traditional Hungarian dish. That is, of course, goulash. Goulash is a beef soup, seasoned with little more than paprika, salt and pepper. Add-ons include–but are not limited to–potatoes, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and tomatoes, depending on how nuanced you prefer your goulash to be.
As you can see, I added a fair bit to my goulash. Parsnips, potatoes, tomato, onion, garlic, carrots and some mushrooms.
2 medium parsnips, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
6 button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
about 1 lb stew meat
5 gold potatoes, cubed
5 cups of water
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
salt & pepper to taste
As always, start off by chopping and mincing. This step is actually one of my favorites because you can throw on some music and relax while you’re organizing your ingredients.
With that out of the way, rinse and pat your meat dry. Put in a bowl, toss with some salt and pepper.
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat up some olive oil over medium heat. Throw your onion in there, and cook until it becomes translucent (about 1-2 minutes). Then, crank up the heat to high and throw your meat in. Stir it around, making sure to brown all the sides evenly. Once you’ve gotten your meat to a color of your liking, put in the garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and parsnips. I added my tomatoes at this stage, but you can hold off and wait until you add the potatoes to do that. Sprinkle some of the paprika in, stir, then add the rest.
Once those ingredients have gotten to know one another, add the 5 cups of water. At this point, you can add more paprika, salt and pepper if you want. You can even add some tomato paste (I did). Add the bay leaves and rosemary (totally optional). Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.
Take a break, get some reading done, vacuum, watch a movie…..take a nap…..whatever. Just come back after 45 minutes.
Ahhh, doesn’t that smell delicious? You’re not done yet, though. Now it’s time to add the potatoes. You can add the tomatoes now, too if you didn’t do it before. Throw your potatoes in there, and simmer uncovered for another 20-25 minutes, or until they’re tender.
Serve with some crusty bread, some rice, or a salad. Egg noodles would be good, too. I love this dish. It’s very simple, very traditional. I think it really says something about the culture from which it came. It also makes tons of leftovers (for one person it did, anyway).
It’s been a while (hasn’t it?). For the past two days in Boston, the temperature has dipped below zero. Although I had toyed with the notion of succumbing to Chinese takeout for tonight’s dinner, I instead decided to make a mushroom soup.
This soup is straight from Anthony Bourdain’s cookbook, with a few modifications. I made the perfect amount of soup, for once. When you’re cooking for just yourself, it’s hard to make the right amount of food – especially soup. So, this recipe serves one, with leftovers for the next day.
approximately 10 button mushrooms (you can use more or less depending on what you’re into), sliced
about 3 TBSP unsalted butter
about 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, finely sliced
1 leek, white and tender green bits chopped
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
chicken or vegetable stock
salt&pepper to taste
After all your ingredients are chopped, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Right before it browns, throw your onions in. I let mine carmelize, but you can do whatever you want. Stir occasionally so nothing burns.
Once they’ve reached a stage to your liking, add the leek bits. Give it a stir to coat. I let them cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the garlic and the mushrooms. As you can see, the pot is crowded, so your mushrooms are most likely not going to brown. You don’t want them to, anyway. Well, I didn’t for my soup. If you want them to brown, get a skillet and have at it.
Add in the olive oil and stir to coat everything nicely. (It was getting a little dry in there, wasn’t it?) Give it 2-3 minutes, then add in enough chicken stock to cover everything. Put in the sprig of rosemary and bay leaf, cover, and simmer for an hour.
Yup, an hour. I find the time really lets the flavors come out.
If you don’t want your soup to be chunky, you can wait for it to cool a bit and blend it in batches. I don’t have a blender, so it was chunky, which I enjoyed. I really love mushrooms, and they add a great dimension to this soup. Well, they are the soup. I served it with a side of Israeli couscous. Soup and couscous? It was a weird combination, not sure I’d do it again.
Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of the end result for tonight. Once I take one, I’ll surely update.
Tomorrow: salade d’onglet. I have the meat marinading as we speak.
Ah, yes. Turmeric has quickly become my go-to spice of choice. It lends a saffron-yellow color to the dish with the added bonus of FLAVOR. No, saffron does not have flavor. It is an aromatic spice typically used for coloring. It–like lobster–is indicative of luxury, and lacks much else. (I only mention that about saffron because I have come across people who truly believe it has a taste. I taste nothing.) Anyway, turmeric is used frequently in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines, both of which I happen to be very fond of.
Tonight I revamped a navy bean soup I made once upon a time. It’s been floating around in my freezer for…oh, perhaps a month and a half, maybe two months. Needless to say it began to collect quite a bit of ice. So, what to do with an iced-over soup?
Dump it into a sauce pan, and throw tons of things into it. Make it new again. Give it back what it once had: flavor.
And that is what I did. This started out as a pretty plain soup consisting of navy beans, onions, a little garlic, a bay leaf, and a variety of dried herbs.
To it, I added some leftover chicken, 1/2 tsp – 3/4 tsp of turmeric, 1/2 tsp-3/4 tsp of tobasco sauce, the juice of half a lemon, 1 chopped leek, 1 chopped carrot, some chopped fresh parsley, and some chopped fresh thyme. I let it simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the carrots and the already cooked chicken were quite tender. For what was once a hunk of ice and beans, it tasted damn good.
Experiment with your leftovers! What bad could possibly come of it?