When we lived in Arizona, my folks noticed that I had an affinity for mud. Not the nice clean loamy mud of Maryland, but the sticky gluey clay mud of the high desert and pinyon-juniper forests. The kind of mud which can pull off a pair of canvas All-Stars and then pull of the socks for good measure. I loved the mud.
After a heavy rain, or as the snow melted, I could spend hours creating canyons, alluvial fans, oxbows and rapids in the muddy rivulets. So my parents bought me a pair of galoshes. And I galoshed through the mud for the five years we lived on the Coconino Plateau. And, being a kid, I conflated Goulash and Galosh.
So here is my recipe for
2 pounds sirloin sliced 1/4 inch by 1 inch by 1/2 inch chunks (approximate size on the chunks)
4 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 large strong onions, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
32 ounces chicken broth (you can use beef broth, but (for me) that is a little too much)
3 bay leaves
1 stalk celery sliced lengthwise and then chopped
1 sweet red pepper, seeded, veined and diced
1 sweet green pepper, seeded, veined and diced
1 large carrot, roll cut*
2 cans (12 ounce or so) chopped Italian tomatoes, with juice
2 Tablespoons whole Carraway seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 to 4 teaspoons hot paprika powder
3 to 5 Tablespoons sweet paprika powder
8 ounces sour cream (make sure it hasn’t gone bad (then again, how would you know?))
1 pound wide egg noodles, cooked
Toss the meat in the flour until the meat is coated. Heat the oil in a large pot until a light haze forms on the oil. Brown the meat in batches until browned (do not let it burn).
Add the diced onion and saute until translucent (don’t let them burn — burned onions are bitter. Onions are much better with a sunny disposition). Add the garlic and saute for about another minute, then dump the meat back into the pot.
Add the broth and bay leaves, bring to a boil, then knock it back to a light roiling simmer. Cook until the meat is fork tender, adding more broth if needed. Remove the bay leaves (if you can find them (if you can’t, just remember to warn your eaters))
Add the celery, red pepper, green pepper, carrot and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
Add the Carraway seeds and both Paprikas. Reduce to a simmer and cook the noodles. Don’t over cook them.
As soon as the noodles are drained, dump the sour cream into the goulash and stir until it is fully incorporated. Turn off the heat.
To serve, place noodles in the bowl and scoop some goulash over the noodles. Add a dollop of sour cream and a bottle of good Pilsner for each consumer. Consume and enjoy.
This is a stew which brings back memories of snowy Arizona evenings, of me chilled to the bone and then taking a hot bath to warm up and remove the mud, of jokes about galoshes and goulash.
OPTIONAL: Substitute a strong red wine for half of the broth.
- To roll-cut the carrot, wash and scrape the carrot. Chop off the ends and lay the carrot on a cutting board. Slice through at an angle which intersects the flat cut end. Give the carrot a quarter turn and slice again at the same angle 1/2 down the root. Keep doing that until the entire carrot it chopped. The carrot should be an odd shape which increases surface are and enhances flavour transfer.