Here at the bottom of the South Pacific the days are getting longer and the nights are feeling warmer. But I'm not fooled: it's still winter.
Nonetheless, my opportunities this winter for posting lovely hearty stews are running short, so here's one of my all-time favourites: Goulash.
Whether your Goulash is simply hearty or truly fiery all comes down to how much spice you add, so if you like a good hit of tongue-burning heat, just double the quantities of paprika and carraway.
Otherwise, this meal follows the template of most of my stew dishes: Sealing the flavours into the meat in a hot pan, deglazing the cooking pan with wine and stock, and cooking for a couple of hours, adding dumplings at the end. What better way to wrap up a Sunday night?
400g stewing steak, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
2t carraway seeds
2t dried thyme or 1T fresh thyme leaves
2t flour (or potato flour to make this recipe Gluten Free)
2 carrots, sliced
3 small potatoes, diced
1 kumera, diced
1/2C red wine
1 1/2C beef stock
1/4C sour cream
Heat some olive oil in a pan, fry the onion and garlic until soft, then add the meat and brown quickly. Add herbs, spices, flour, and freshly ground pepper and salt. Sear thoroughly without burning.
Place the carrots, potatoes and kumera into an oven dish and scoop the browned meat and onions into it. Mix well.
Return the pan to a moderate heat, then add the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to bring up all the cooking flavour. Add the stock, not too quickly, ensuring the reduction doesn't cool too far. Allow to thicken slightly.
Pour the reduction over the meat and veges in the pan, top up with a little water if required to stop the meat from drying out.
Cover and place into a preheated oven at 200C, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Then add your dumplings, and cook for a further 20-30 minutes.
When the stew is done, dish up the dumplings, then mix the sour cream through before serving. If, like me, you sometimes forget to do this, it's also fine to just spoon it up on top of the stew.
Great with mashed potato and fresh steamed greens, plus a nice big glass of bold red wine.