I got my copy of Auguste Escoffier's legendary book Le Guide Culinaire last week and I have been dying to cook something from it ever since. Since I've been busy I decided to go with one of his simpler recipes and this is what I came up with. For most people goulash is a pasta dish with a meat sauce made from ground beef. As you can see from the picture above, this is not what I made at all. I actually bent Escoffier's recipe a little bit but the foundation of this recipe is all the same. In my recipe I added the tomato to hold the meat and replaced boiled potatoes with gnocchi. The rest of the recipe is all Escoffier, and let me tell you this was a good one. The ground beef and pasta version of this dish holds no candle to this preparation of goulash.
The best part of this version of goulash is its flexibility as far as technique goes. I followed his instructions to the T, but this can be easily thrown together in a crock pot as well. In fact, if you don't have a dutch oven I suggest you go this route. Throw all of the ingredients in together except for the flour, then let it cook on low for three hours; you'll essentially get the same results.
The only thing I am going to have to be particular about here is the cut of meat used to make the goulash. Chuck must be used here. Not only to get a tender and juicy final product, but also to thicken the sauce since chuck has a wealth of collagen in it. Using stew meat may work in a quick fix, but I really have to push using the chuck if you can manage it. Also, while "cleaning" the sauce is not necessary in step 5, I really recommend doing it if you want to present this sauce as more of a gravy than anything else. (I guess removing the fat from the sauce makes it a little more healthy too.)
Goulash à laHongroise (Hungarian Goulash):
1 pound beef chuck, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
1 small onion cut into a large chop
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tomato puree, ground tomatoes, or tomatoes in a small dice
3 cups beef broth
Baked/boiled potatoes or pasta for serving
1. Preheat an oven to 300F. Heat the oil or lard in a dutch oven over medium high heat and brown the meat well with the onions. (It is helpful to do this in two batches.)
2. Lower the heat to medium and add the salt and paprika. Let this cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the flour and mix to coat all the meat then let this cook an additional minute.
4. Pour in the beef broth and the tomato puree and mix well. Cover the dutch oven and place it in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 hours.
5. (Optional) Remove the meat from the sauce and reserve in a warm dish. Strain off any solids in the sauce through a sieve. Put the sauce in a freezer for 10 minutes to let the fat come to the top and solidify a bit. Remove the fat from the sauce and then reheat over the stove, letting it reduce a little bit.
6. Serve the beef with the sauce on top of potatoes, pasta, or egg noodles.