A few days ago, Josh messaged me at some point in the morning asking if I would come over and do some cooking because he hadn’t had good food in a while. While I lay there wondering what to make, my mind was going about a million miles an hour and still nothing came to me. Then, just as the tendrils of sleep started to creep back over me (it was early), I got it.
Or for our purposes, we’ll call it home made beef stroganoff, but we’ll get to that.
Ever since I picked up the Taste of Living cookbook, I’ve found recipes that I’d like to make, yet when the time comes, never do and always revert back to something I feel comfortable cooking. Tuesday was no such day. Though I could have taken the page from the book (it’s more of a binder than book to be honest), I just snapped a picture of it and went off to the store with Josh. This recipe is as straightforward and simple as you can possibly get: meat, a vegetable, dairy and noodles. The store carries beef that’s already been cut up into bite size pieces, perfect for pasta dishes like the one I was going to make, but I wasn’t so lucky with the pork. I ended up getting sandwich fillets and while they were better than nothing, cutting them up was a pain.
Once the meat was cut up, however, things went smoothly. The beef and pork simmered in water and in the mean time, I hovered around the kitchen, making sure it was tidy. I did some dishes, wiped down counter tops, you get the idea. While I was in no real hurry to speed up the cooking process, I still halved the recipe’s cooking time of an hour to half an hour. I honestly didn’t see the point of allowing meat that had already been browned to simmer for an hour. So when the water had reduced in volume by half, I reduced the heat and got a pan of water on the stove for the egg noodles. When the egg noodles were nearly done, I grabbed the last piece of the puzzle: the sour cream.
It astonished both Josh and I that this dish called for a whole 8 oz. container of sour cream to go into it. I’ve used sour cream in my cooking before (read: that one time I made cheesecake), and even then I didn’t use the whole container. But, when I was stirring some flour into the sour cream, I understood why it called for so much. There was no other way to make the creamy sauce. When I folded the sour cream and flour mixture into the meat and water, it all came together and suddenly something occurred to me.
Maybe people have different opinions on what goulash is, but because I grew up in a household where my mum and grandmother make goulash using vegetable soup and tomato sauce, that’s goulash. This, this was a lot more similar to something else I had eaten as a kid on those nights when mum didn’t have time to cook something else: beef stroganoff. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, that box with the hand on it, Hamburger Helper. This was, essentially beef stroganoff made from scratch that used beef and pork rather than ground beef.
While Josh and I ate, we talked about a few different aspects of the dish like we do whenever I cook something new and different. Though we both liked the taste, we felt that there could have been something to give it more oomph. I personally thought that it could have used beef stock rather than water while cooking the meat and am sorry I hadn’t caught that when I was looking at the recipe. Once you use a stock or wine as a deglazing agent, you never really go back to water. Don’t get me wrong, I have made a wicked base for a sauce using water and not stock, but this was one of those instances where beef stock and a touch of tomato paste in place of the flour would have worked better.
~Cookbook Recipe: Hungarian Goulash~
Like I said, let’s just call it beef stroganoff, yeah?
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 1/2 hours
- 1 pound beef sew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 pound lean boneless pork, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
- Hot cooked noodles
- In a large skillet, brown beef, pork and onions in oil over medium heat; drain. Add the water, paprika salt and marjoram; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
- Combine flour and sour cream until smooth; stir into meat mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Serve over noodles.
Cassidy, Catherine. The Taste Of Home Cookbook. The Cooks Who Care Ed. Greendale, WI: Reiman Media Group Inc., 2009. 117. Print.