Autumn is officially upon us, and even though the Seattle area is experiencing a remarkably warm October so far, the evenings have cooled enough to warrant comfort food. Time to break out the heavy Le Creuset Dutch oven and get your stew on.
This dish, originally from my friend Hope, has of course undergone a wee bit of tweaking in my hands. The result is the same: a mouth-watering, belly-filling meal that everyone in the house enthusiastically responds to.
Paprikash, also known as goulash, is a soup or stew made with meat and vegetables, and plenty of paprika. Goulash originates from the Hungarian “gulyás” — the word “gulya” means “herd of cattle” in Hungarian, and “gulyás” means “herdsman.” Today it refers to both herdsman and the stew, and the dish is known as both paprikash or goulash.
There are many more complicated versions of this dish out there, with additions such as red bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, Worcestershire Sauce, saurekraut, smoked meats, red wine, beans — the extra ingredients are endless. I think this particular version is a hit with my kids because it is simple. I always serve vegetables on the side, because everyone needs their fiber, amiright? A good one is roasted lemony cauliflower; you can swipe up some extra paprikash sauce with a floret.
As always, I recommend getting the best and freshest ingredients you can get your hands on. Make sure you specifically get Hungarian sweet paprika, and not a bottle that just says, “Paprika.” Don’t use non-fat sour cream either; I mean, you’re eating a pile of meat and noodles, don’t sweat the sour cream!
Hungarian Beef Paprikash With Egg Noodles
1/2 cups unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into cubes (or “stewing beef”)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
6 Tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
2 medium yellow onions, diced
6 large cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cups beef stock
1 cup sour cream (not non-fat)
1 Tbsp dried dill weed
1 16 oz. package wide egg noodles
In large pot or Dutch oven, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and cook until browned on all sides; about 10 minutes. When almost done, add salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of paprika. Cook another minute, then remove from heat and transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the drippings.
Return pot to stove, and melt remaining 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, then sauté until translucent. Add remaining 5 tablespoons of paprika and cook for another two minutes, stirring well so mixture does not stick and burn.
Add the tomato paste and beef stock, and stir well. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, return the browned beef to the pot; do not add in the watery drippings that have collected from the beef. Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until beef is tender.
In the meantime, boil water in another large pot, and cook the egg noodles. Drain.
Remove stew from the heat and stir in sour cream and dill. Serve over egg noodles.
I recommend a hearty bottle of red wine to accompany this dish. Since we don’t know squat about Hungarian wine, we opted for a young and formidable Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
Bonus: This clip, from one of my favorite rom-coms, takes place in one of my favorite places in the world (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in the Temple of Dendur room nonetheless), during my favorite season, in the city that is my heart and soul.