Austrian Beef Goulash

I would go as far as claim that few things in life can beat the joy of sitting on the sundeck of your favorite „Hütte“ (hut) after a morning of skiing, overlooking the mountain panorama, and a friendly staff member puts a steaming bowl of the richly flavored goulash and a piece of „Gebäck“ (bread roll) in front of you. Since I was three years old, my parents used to put me on a pair of skis each year around this time of the year and send me down the Austrian mountains, an activity that I continued to pursue whenever I could as an adult. Having a lunch time goulash at my favorite hut in the Styrian mountains where I used to go skiing used to be an absolute fixture in my life. I eventually twisted my leg and will very likely never hit the slopes again, but that’s no reason to forego the pleasure of a nice, hot bowl of goulash on a cold and uncomfortable winter day.

Sanni

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 50 grams of lard or concentrated butter
  • 400 grams of Spanish onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of ground fennel seeds (alternatively 1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Plenty of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of hot paprika (for medium hot – use more or less, depending on how hot you like it)
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of cider or white wine vinegar
  • 750 ml of water
  • 500 grams of precut beef goulash meat (alternatively, use any kind of stewing meat, e.g. from the neck or calf, and cut into large chunks)
  • For serving (optional): 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley or a few parsley leafs

Preparation:

  1. Heat the fat in a large saucepot and fry the onions for several minutes until they are soft and golden brown. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. Add the tomato paste, fry for another 30 seconds.
  3. Then add the fennel seed, sugar, salt and pepper, and finally the paprikas. Do not fry for longer than 20 seconds, then add the vinegar and cover with the water.
  4. Bring to a boil, then add the beef.
  5. Cover the pot, reduce the temperature to a gentle simmer and cook for 2½-3 hours until the meat is very tender. After roughly 1 to 1.5 hours of cooking, check the consistency of the sauce. If it is still very thin, remove the lid and let the liquid reduce. Check occasionally and cover again once you have obtained the right (gravy-like) consistency. If the sauce has turned too thick, add a bit more water.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley or a parsley leaf with new potatoes, spatzle or a bread roll.
  7. Alternatively, keep in the fridge overnight (this will enhance / intensify the flavor) and serve the next day.

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