Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Hungarian Goulash
Hungarian Goulash, served over a bed of trofie pasta.

It doesn’t exactly shout “Springtime!” but I had a jones for some Hungarian Goulash a couple of days ago, and there was nothing to do for it but to procure the necessary provisions and cook away.

I really like this stuff. It’s stick-to-your-ribs satisfying, and it’s not all that difficult to make. You don’t even have to brown the meat; all the necessary caramelization and Maillard reactions take place while the meat simmers in the Dutch oven... which in turn sits in a 325°F oven oven. It produces its own nice gravy-like sauce, almost entirely from the moisture in the onions and carrots you hack up and stick in the pot. No flour or other thickening agents. And, having tried it both with and without a dollop of sour cream, I’m going on record to say that it’s better without. You don’t need the extra richness (or calories), and you don’t need the dulling effect that the dairy has on that bright paprika flavor.

Instead of serving the goulash over egg noodles this time, I tried some trofie, a kind of pasta made without eggs that resembles squiggly little stretched-out spaetzle. It was a winner - I’m going to have to keep a supply of that Exotic Pasta around.

All I can say is, this is a far cry from the soupy, flavorless “Hungarian Goulash” they used to serve for lunch in our elementary school cafeteria. Of course, a school lunch only cost 25¢ back then... and it was worth every penny. Sometimes.

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