The Mind of Anne

Archive for May, 2015

May 4th, 2015 Spicy Life – Paprika

Sweet Hungarian Paprika

Sweet Hungarian Paprika – The Spice Jungle

I love to cook. Savory or sweet, classic American or dishes from lands afar, I love eating them and I love cooking them. I just finished a complete remodel of my kitchen and now I am on fire! I cook with a renewed energy I haven’t felt in years. And I love experimenting with herbs and spices.

After attending a performance in New York City, my daughter and I went to the Love Café & Bar on 2nd Avenue between 24th Street and 25th Street. Everything from the Love Café tasted as if someone’s grandmother was in the kitchen cooking for us. Our appetizers of Potato and Cheddar Cheese Perogies were amazing. The strawberry and nutella crepes were to die for. My daughter’s Stuffed Cabbage was just beautiful. But the treat for me was the Hungarian Goulash. From that moment on I was on a mission to recreate this oh so yummy dish.

Love Cafe - What a meal!

Love Cafe – What a meal!

I started with Internet searches of all the usual suspects: Food Network, Allrecipes, and the like. Then I searched for “authentic Hungarian goulash” to get the essence of how real goulash comes to life. I experimented with a few combinations of these recipes but it still wasn’t right.

I happened to have lunch with a friend from the former Czech Republic and told her of my search for a true goulash. She told me her goulash (and everyone’s she knows) changes depending on what you happen to have in the refrigerator but the absolute key was the PAPRIKA! Here is the secret: It MUST be Sweet Hungarian Paprika and very bright reddish orange. If your paprika is old or standard grocery store fare, it’s not worth using.

I ordered Sweet Hungarian Paprika from Spice Jungle – reasonably priced, free shipping and so very fresh and pungent.

That PAPRIKA was the answer. I love the goulash recipe I’ve cobbled together as does my family. Why don’t you give it a try?

My Hungarian Goulash

My Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Goulash

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, rinsed and chopped fine
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 red Cubanelle pepper, seeded and diced fine
  • 2 pounds venison or stew beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes with juices
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium Yukon potatoes, peeled and cut into a ½-inch dice
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into a ½-inch dice
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut thin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a large Dutch oven over medium/high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks, caraway seeds, red pepper and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened. Add the meat and paprika and sauté until the meat is evenly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes.

    Increase the heat to high, add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the meat is fork tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

    Stir in the tomatoes and juices, the potatoes, parsnips, carrots, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in a bread bowl (as at the Love Café) or with crusty bread or biscuits. Maybe add a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

    EXCITING NEWS: I am going on vacation to India in June. Wait till you hear about the spices I bring back from there!!