Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Beginning

I feel like I've been blogging for a while anyway. Most of my emails are essentially blogs to my friends and family about things that I do. I've realized, however, that a large part of these emails are describing culinary experiences that I've had. These culinary experiences include dining out, finding niche stores, trying new foods. I have no fear of anything that can be consumed, I'm always open to new experiences! I've found, however, that the more I experience, the stronger feelings I've developed towards certain things and the more knowledgeable I become (this would be a "duh" moment, of course) Anyway, my first blog will be devoted to guláš.

Commonly known to Americans only by it's Hungarian origins, it has evolved into a different yet similar dish in the Czech Republic (once under the control of those power hungry Austro Hungarians) Anyway, my fellow blogger, Mr. Velkyal of fuggled fame, and I have often discussed the merits of beer in food. Quite often, a good
guláš will have a bottle or two of beer in it.

After a wonderful day spent at the slunce ve skle Beer festival in Plzen, I decided I just HAD to make a beer based goulash to enjoy with the 3 litres of tmave (dark) Purmistr that I had bought at the festival. This was further spurred by the fact that my dad, who keeps koser, had just bought two enormous t-bone steaks, after I had offhandedly mentioned that I could make kosher
guláš, if I just had the kosher meat for it.

My secret is, I do actually KNOW how to cook many things, yet I've never actually PHYSICALLY cooked them. this was the case with the
guláš. I know everything that goes into it, every little process, secret, what have you, but I had never actually brought out the stew pot and DONE it. So now that I had no option, I had to face up and meet the challenge that I had set for myself. The story ends happily however: the guláš was absolutely delectable, but one must remember: cook for a LONG time, and don't eat it til the next day.
Stifle the urge.


800 g (1 and 1/2 pounds) of beef cut into cubes (you're supposed to use Klizka, which I think is beef shin. Just make sure the meat you use is marbled and not TOO lean)
1 large onion finely diced
3 cloves garlic
2 litres beer (about 4 cups) (11 degree zlatopramen dark is what I used)
3 tbs tomato paste
5-6 tbs flour
1 tbs sweet (hungarian) paprika
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs Podravka
(If you don't have this, use a crumbled beef bouillon cube) and 1/2 tablespoon salt)
1/2 tbs marjoram
1 teasp. pepper
1/4 cup sliced red pepper
1 - 2 tbs chopped parsley
1 tbs vinegar

Put about 2 tbs vegetable oil in a large pot. when it is hot (medium high), saute the onions and garlic until the onions are very brown (spaleny) add 1 tbs flour and stir a bit. Pour in 1 litre of beer, and scrape up any brown bits at the bottom. put in the meat, the tomato paste, the spices, the pepper, and the other litre of beer, and turn down the burner to low. With the rest of the flour, whisk it into a bit of hot water so there are no clumps. Add that to the gulas. Cook it on low, stirring occasionally, for about 4 hours. I think I got home and started cooking it at 8, and I turned off the stove at around 11:30. Check the seasonings and add more if you need. if it's too thin, add a bit more flour. If it's too thick, add some more hot water. Adjust seasonings if needed. I might have actually put in more seasonings than what I've written, but I'm not entirely sure. a bit before you turn it off, add in the parsley and vinegar and stir. Cover, and let it sit on the burner overnight. Enjoy the next day with dumplings, garnish with diced pepper and white onion :-)

More later...