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Archive for the ‘Eastern European Style’ Category

Goulash is a soup, or sometimes a stew, with its origins in Eastern Europe, primarily Hungary.  The flavours of paprika and caraway seed, both which are used in this recipe, are particularly associated with the cuisine of the region.  (Paprika is available in many forms: variations of hot, sweet and smoked.  It is also widely used in Spanish cooking.)  There are a number of variations of basic Goulash, which are helpfully listed on Wikipedia.   The word Goulash apparently comes from the Hungarian word for a cattle herdsman but it is also similar to the Czech and Slovakian words for ‘mishmash’, or mixture … and this dish certainly is a delicious and warming mixture!

This is my last ‘soupy’ post for a while but although this was originally called simply Pork Goulash Soup and comes from Women’s Institute Soups for all Seasons by Liz Herbert it is much more of a main meal.  If necessary the liquids could be lessened by adding a smaller amount of stock at the outset and/or reducing the sauce to give a thicker stew.  I have written previously giving information and a basic recipe for Suet Dumplings to which I am adding recipe variations as I come across them.  There is also a recipe for Beef & Bean Casserole which includes plain dumplings.  Dumplings are an optional extra in this Goulash recipe but I think are worth adding with instructions given separately in the recipe book where it was suggested that they could be flavoured with either caraway or fennel seeds.  We recently enjoyed the flavour combination of  Fennel & Apple Chutney with pork in a Sausagement Plait.  (It would be interesting to try fennel dumplings in a fishy stew, although I have never come across recipes with this combination.)  I chose caraway seed for its authenticity, plus it is a flavour I like.  The first time I felt the quantity of caraway seeds was rather scant so doubled the amount on the second occasion: I suppose it depends on personal taste.  The original recipe was for a very small quantity of dumplings and only just about adequate if potato was served as well.  I doubled the quantity the second time to serve the dumplings in place of potato.  The amounts could be increased further for larger eaters.  The soup/stew is rich, thick and tomatoey especially with the soured cream on top.  (I did not have soured cream but made my own by combining a squeeze of lemon with some single Elmlea half fat cream.)

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Pork Goulash Soup/Stew with Caraway Dumplings
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
225g/8ozs lean pork
1 clove garlic, crushed
1tbsp flour
½ tsp smoked paprika
600ml/1pt chicken stock, or vegetable stock – halve for a thicker stew
400g can chopped tomatoes
Salt & black pepper
4tbsp soured cream (to serve)
   or
4tbsp single cream and a few drops of lemon juice, to make it sour

For caraway dumplings: 
   (amount doubled from original recipe but could be increased further)
100g/4ozs self-raising flour
50g/2ozs suet (I use vegetable rather than meat, as it is slightly lower fat)
2-4tsp caraway seeds, depending on taste – optional
   (alternatively fennel or toasted sesame seeds can be used)
4tbsp crème fraîche, yoghurt or milk
salt to taste
a little extra water as required

1.  Heat the olive oil gently in a large saucepan and fry the onion and pepper for about 10minutes, until it just begins to brown.

2.  Cut the pork into small pieces or thin strips.  Combine with the onions and pepper in the pan and cook for 2-3minutes.

3.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1minute.

4.  Lower the heat, stir in the flour and cook for 1minute more.

5.  Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan along with the paprika and stock.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  For a thicker stew to serve on a plate add less stock and reduce sauce at Stage 7 so it is thicker.

6.  Meanwhile, put the suet, flour and seeds (if using) into a bowl, season and mix together with the crème fraîche and a little water if necessary.  Divide into 8 balls (or 12 smaller ones).

7.  Season the goulash to taste and add the dumplings to the pan.  Cover with a lid and cook for a further 10minutes until the dumplings are risen and cooked.

8.  Serve goulash in bowls with soured cream drizzled over and 2 or 3 dumplings on top.  Add a simple green vegetable if needed.

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