Warming goulash – defy the chill!

Cold snap or is this the way winter manifests itself these days? Whatever it is, the UK loves to grind to a standstill the minute a flake of snow appears. Well really I mean London, coz hardened Northerners are quite used to getting a foot or two of snow without whinging about it on Radio 4!

I default to one pot cooking in weather like this. After a two mile trek in blizzarding slush to deposit Sam at school, a parcel at the post office and the dog around the park I needed to feel cosseted and comforted. Goulash, my friends, was the solution!

For this particular recipe you don’t even need to soften the onions or brown the meat, it’s literally a case of tossing the meat in seasoned flour and throwing the whole lot in a casserole dish in the oven. Bobs your proverbial.

It also fills your house with delicious aromas of gently cooking beef – a lovely welcome to everyone returning to the house.

The amount of paprika in this recipe gives the dish an extra warmth, but if your kids are sensitive to spice I’d probably scale it back by a tablespoon or so. The sour cream does soften its impact though.

The goulash went down very well with the boys, and as the snow pelted down outside we were rosy cheeked warming up from the inside as we noshed our stew. This is what winter is about!

Goulash – Serves 6

1kg lean diced casserole steak
3 tbsps plain flour
3 tbsps paprika
2 large onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsps tomato puree
150ml red wine vinegar
500ml beef stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 lemon peel strips
1 tbsp olive oil
15g butter
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
A good glug of soured cream

1. Pre-heat oven to 170’C. Combine the flour with 1 tbsp of the paprika in a bowl, season and then add the steak and toss to combine. Whack it in a large lidded casserole dish.

2. Add the onions, garlic, tomato puree, red wine vinegar, stock, tomatoes (swill out the tin/carton with a little water and add), bay leaves, lemon peel and remaining paprika. Mix thouroughly. Cover and cook for 3 hours 30 minutes.

3. Finally heat the oil and butter in a pan, sautee the mushrooms for 5 minutes and then add to the goulash. Serve with a generous drizzle of soured cream with rice, jacket spuds or fluffy mash!

It’s one of those meals that seems to get even tastier after a night in the fridge, so you could even make it a day in advance and then heat it back up again. Matthew took a portion of leftovers to work the next day and said it was absolutely delicious and a real tonic after a morning on the drill yard!

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About Katie Bryson

Katie Bryson is a freelance food writer and blogger. She left a career in online news at the BBC to immerse herself in the culinary world, taking in courses at Leiths School of Food and Wine and an internship at Waitrose along the way. Her family food blog www.feedingboys.co.uk is bursting with recipes and tips for feeding hungry families that’ll help inspire all those frazzled parents out there wondering what on earth to cook for tea! She lives in West London with her two young boys and yes, her firefighter husband.
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