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Beef Goulash

A typical Goulash includes caraway seeds – they have a distinctive taste and really give this dish a Hungarian feel. If you are not keen on them, feel free to use a sprig of thyme and a little chopped rosemary instead.

Serves 6 (halves or doubles easily)


2 tablespoons olive oil
3lbs (1350g) good quality stewing steak, cut into one inch cubes
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved and green stem removed
1 tsp caraway seeds
1lbs (454g) onions, peeled and sliced (about 3 medium onions)
2 tsps paprika or smoked paprika
1 tin (400g) tomatoes with their juice
1 tsp sugar
1/4 pint (120mls) beef or chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (optional)
Sour cream to garnish

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1. Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan. Roll the meat in the flour and dust off any excess.
2. Fry the meat over a high heat, in batches, until it is sealed and golden. (If you cook it all at once, you will steam the meat instead of giving it a flavoursome coating). When you have finished frying the meat, add a spoon of water to the pan and scrape all the bits off the bottom.
3. Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan. Crush the garlic and caraway seeds (or thyme and rosemary if using instead) and add to the pan with the onions. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the garlic is fragrant. Stir from time to time. Keep on cooking until the onions have softened but are still transparent.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over a low heat for up to an hour and a half until the meat is soft. Add the potatoes, if you are using them, in the last 20 minutes of cooking. Serve with plain rice with a swirl of sour cream running through each bowl of goulash.

Beef Goulash recipe tips

– Top up with more water or stock if you need to as the goulash is cooking.

– When the meat is cooked and melting, take the lid off and turn the heat up if you need to reduce the liquid to give you a stronger flavoured sauce.

– This goulash can be turned into a soup by adding more liquid to the sauce.

– This dish reheats and freezes beautifully – it is even better the next day when the flavours have time to develop.

– Traditionally goulash would have been made with cheap cuts of meat. Feel free to make it richer by using sirloin steak instead - it will also cook more quickly and will take less than an hour. You may have to turn the heat up at the end to reduce the sauce if you are cooking it for less time.

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