Wolfgang Puck's Hungarian Beef Goulash With Spaetzle

Beef Goulash with Spaetzle - A Hearty Cold-Weather Dinner

Wherever you grow up, the foods you eat in childhood help define important moments in your life, whether holidays, special family occasions, or simply the changing seasons. I especially know that's true at this time of year, because cold autumn evenings make me crave goulash.

Yes, I grew up in Austria. And, yes, most people think of goulash as a Hungarian dish. But remember that, not so long ago, those two countries were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with Vienna as its capital, and their cuisines are as intertwined as their histories.

The word "goulash" originated as a compound of two Hungarian words for "herdsman" and "meat." At its most basic, that defines what goulash is: meat herdsmen would cook for themselves around the campfire. They used tough cuts, simmering them slowly until tender and spicing up the stew with paprika. But goulash eventually became a dish the elite enjoyed, too, with the finest, most tender cuts of beef, veal, or pork.

One of the things I like about goulash is that, using the same kinds of inexpensive cuts that middle-European cowboys had, you can easily make a warming, satisfying family-style meal. It's really easy to prepare, too, once you know a few secrets that all good Austrian (and Hungarian) cooks practice.

First comes the meat. Ask your butcher for whatever good, flavorful, inexpensive beef cut is available, such as shank, shoulder, or short rib. For convenience, get it off the bone, precut into cubes and trimmed of fat and gristle.

For absolute authenticity, you need more onions than you'd get for most stews; aim for equal volumes of onions and meat. Be sure to saute them until they turn caramel brown to develop a deep color and flavor.

Having the right kind of paprika is essential, too. Look for good-quality imported Hungarian brands, and be sure to buy small containers that won't sit on your pantry shelf turning stale and flavorless. I prefer a mixture of two different kinds, one spicy, one sweet; and, although I like my goulash on the spicier side, there is no one right way and the balance is a matter of your own taste.

In fact, when my parents used to visit me in Los Angeles and I'd serve them goulash at Spago, my father always told my mother, "Wolfgang makes it too spicy. You're going to have to show him the right way to prepare goulash."

One thing my father always approved of, though, was how I served the goulash -- with the little Austrian dumplings called spaetzle. Easy to make, they're a perfect way to soak up the delicious sauce, whether you're Austrian or Hungarian and whether you like your goulash mild or spicy.

Beef Goulash with Spaetzle Recipe

    Prep Time: 40 minutes

    Cook time: 2 Hours

    Yield: Serves 6

Beef Goulash with Spaetzle Recipe Ingredients

    For the Beef Goulash

    1 tablespoon whole caraway seeds

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    4 cups thinly sliced yellow onion

    1 tablespoon sugar

    3 garlic cloves, minced

    1-1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika

    1 teaspoon spicy paprika

    2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram leaves

    1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

    1 bay leaf

    3 tablespoons tomato paste

    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

    4 cups organic chicken broth

    2-1/2 pounds boneless beef shank, cut into 2-inch cubes

    1 teaspoon salt

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    For the Spaetzle

    4 cage-free egg yolks

    1 cage-free egg

    1-3/4 cups milk

    1 pound--about 3 cups--all-purpose flour

    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    1 teaspoon salt

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    4 ounces unsalted butter, melted

    1/2 cup peanut oil

    2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into pieces

    1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

Beef Goulash with Spaetzle Recipe Directions

    For the Beef Goulash

    Put the caraway seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a bowl to cool. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Set aside.

    In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sugar and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions turn a medium caramel-brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the caraway and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute longer.

    Add both paprikas, marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf. Saute, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.

    Stir in the tomato paste and vinegar. Add the broth, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan deposits. Add the beef, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, until the beef is very tender, about 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

    Before serving, taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings, if necessary, with salt and pepper. Serve on heated plates or in large shallow serving bowls, with spaetzle on the side.

    For the Spaetzle

    In a small bowl, beat together the yolks, egg, and milk.

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Add the melted butter and the egg mixture and mix by hand until well blended. Do not overmix. Cover and refrigerate to rest for at least 1 hour.

    Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Place a large mixing bowl filled with ice and water on the counter near the sink.

    Place a large-holed metal colander on top of the pot. Put the batter in the colander and, with the back of a large spoon, force the batter through the holes into the water to form spaetzle. Cook until the spaetzle rise to the surface, 4 to 5 minutes.

    Drain and instantly transfer the spaetzle to the ice water. When cool to the touch, drain well. Transfer to a bowl and stir in half the oil. (At this point, you can cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.)

    Before serving, heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add the remaining oil and the spaetzle. Cook for 2 minutes without moving the pan, to brown their undersides. Add the butter pieces and saute, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.


Subscribe to Receive our Gourmet Recipes

Wolfgang Puck's Hungarian Beef Goulash With Spaetzle - A Hearty Dinner Recipe

World-renowned chefs with an extraordinary passion for food share their passion on iHaveNet.com. These chefs make great cooking easier than imagined. Each gourmet recipe features expert advice and an easy-to-make recipe. Exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable

© iHaveNet