Paprikash!

In an effort to revolutionise our meals in the aftermath of Christmas and the New Year, I have spent this week trying out new recipes. Partly in the hope that I eat less and can fit into a bridesmaids dress by the summer and partly because I’m pretty bored of our standard suppers – we all have them, the ones you can cook without having to think about it.

Last night, I decided to cook Paprikash, which to me sounds like a tennis player of the late 80s, as I am refining my stewing abilities. The only other stew in my repetoire is a stove-top, short cooking time attempt and I wanted to prove I could make a stew better than my now-famous attempt at Beef and Ale Stew which resembled bullets floating in brine!

I absolutely love paprika and I often make goulash with pork as I think the texture suits the creamy, spicy sauce but on this occasion, they had bargainous stewing steak in the shop on my way home from work so I thought I would be better suited to a thicker, more stock based stew. I left out the carraway seeds in the recipe below but I now regret this. I don’t normally like carraway in things but I think the aniseedy/contrasting flavour would have actually lent itself well to the dish. We ate it with mashed potato and soured cream although I think rice is probably more traditional!

I also used smoked paprika as this is what I had in the cupboard. I’m not entirely sure how much they differ but I think from previous cooking, regular paprika is possibly a little stronger and spicier. Perhaps smoked paprika is too subtle.

A Hungarian Paprika Stand

So here is the recipe I used but inclusive of the carraway seeds which I suppose are entirely up to your personal taste. I often serve goulash on big slices of toasted sourdough and I would think this would be nice this way too. I was seriously tempted to add a dumpling or two to the pot for the last 20 minutes but I forgot to buy suet in the shop and because increasingly my brain is becoming a sieve if last night’s hunt for the cream is anything to go by! It was in the fridge door all along.

Beef Paprikash

Serves 4

  • 500g cubed beef
  • 1 tbsp flour, seasoned really well
  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms (halved or quartered)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml beef stock
  • a small bunch parsley , chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Toss the beef with the seasoned flour then brown all over in 1 tbsp oil in a large pan. Scoop out, then add the onions and cook really well until soft and browned at the edges. Add the garlic, mushrooms and pepper and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Return the beef to the pan and add the spices, tomatoes and beef stock. Put on a lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 2-2.5 hours until beef is really tender and sauce thickened.
  2. Stir in the parsley. Serve with rice and soured cream.
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