Well, it is finally supposed to be nice here in Ottawa today, so it feels a bit strange to be giving you a decidedly wintry recipe today. But at least I am posting! You may have noticed a lack of posts around here lately. I apologize for that and hope to make it up to you with lots of tasty treats in the coming weeks!
This recipe was originally named Goulash, but I am calling it Paprika Beef Stew, because after making it, I can confidently say that it isn't goulash. Now, I realize that there are a lot of different interpretations of what goulash is or isn't. Growing up my mom made us "goulash" that was ground beef and zucchini in a tomato based sauce. That is the American version. This recipe is closer to the Eastern European version, but it still isn't what I remembered from my trip to Prague. Of course this stew is delicious, I just don't want to confuse people who may be looking for something a bit more traditional.
Give yourself a lot of time to make this and read through the directions fully before doing so!
Paprika Beef StewVia the Kitchn
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck (preferably chuck-eye roast or chuck tender)
4 thick-cut slices bacon, roughly chopped
Neutral cooking oil, such as canola or safflower
2 yellow onions, sliced into thin half moons
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1/2 cup dry red wine, such as Chianti or Zinfandel
3 1/2 cups good-quality beef stock
2 red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces egg noodles, cooked according package directions
Sour cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Cut beef into 1-inch cubes. (You can place the meat in the freezer for thirty to forty minutes to make make it easier to cut. Just allow it to come to room temperature before cooking.) Thoroughly pat dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and pepper.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and fry until crisp and golden, about 7-9 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the remaining fat in the pot, and set aside.
Add 1/3 of the beef cubes to the bacon fat (do not stir or disturb the meat) and cook until the bottoms are seared and deep golden brown (almost black), about 3-5 minutes. Turn beef and continue cooking until remaining sides are browned, another 3-5 minutes. Remove the beef to a separate bowl.
Allow the fat in the pan to reheat for a minute or so (and to cook out any residual meat juices before continuing. Add the next 1/3 of beef and a glug or two of oil if the pot seems dry. Repeat the searing process until all the meat is browned and set the bowl aside.
Lower the heat to medium and add a couple tablespoons oil. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and caraway seeds and sauté for another minute or so. Stir in the paprika, tomato paste, and marjoram until combined.
Pour in the wine and increase heat to high. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to remove any leftover browned bits. Add stocks, browned beef, and reserved bacon to the pot and bring mixture to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 1 hour, then stir in the bell peppers. Return to the oven and continue cooking until the meat is quite tender, another 45 minutes to an hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle over cooked egg noodles, and serve with a big dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill. This recipe is even better made a day or two in advance. Just reheat in the same Dutch oven over medium-low to medium until warmed through.