Most people I know have never had Goulash before and boy are they missing out. My nan made this, my mum makes it and now I make my very own version. Mum's Goulash consists of a good cut of stewing beef, smoked paprika, water and salt - that's that. She throws it all together and then stews it on the hob for the rest of the day. Her Goulash is the business, full of flavour and naturally thick from all the lovely meat. When I tried cooking Goulash her way it didn't really work out. So I decided to experiment a little and came up with my own version. I use onions, carrots, cayenne and lots of vino. Although it takes a long time to cook, this is a zero effort dish, which is great just thrown together on a Sunday morning and eaten for dinner. Serve with pasta (particularly nice with tagliatelle or homemade ribbon pasta), rice or crusty bread and a side salad and you've got yourself a mouthwateringly delicious comfort dish that will taste even better the next day and the day after.

Have you got any family stew recipes up your sleeve?

COOKS minimum 2.5hrs

  • 800g good quality stewing beef (at room temperature)
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 2tbsps tomato paste
  • 2 stock cubes (beef) diluted in some hot water
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 10 chestnut mushrooms, diced
  • 3tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp sweet paprika
  • 1tsp cayenne pepper
  • 350ml strong red wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 1tbsp corn flour
  • oil (use a neutral oil such as rapeseed)
  • lettuce, dressed with oil and vinegar to serve
  • pasta or crusty bread to serve

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C. In a large oven proof pot (we used a lidded enamel pot) heat a little oil. Fry the onions, on a medium to high heat, for a few minutes until soft and starting to brown. Add the meat a little at a time and brown on a high heat. Note: It is important to brown the meat in stages. If you throw it all in at the same time it'll start stewing and release too much moisture, which may result in tough chunks of meat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the tomato paste with the spices. Once the meat is sealed add the tomato/spice paste and fry for a few minutes until the meat and onions are well coated. Turn the heat up to high and cook for another minute or so. 
  3. When the bottom of the pot is dry and all juices have evaporated, deglaze the pot with your red wine. Mix in the diluted stock cubes and some salt (I added 1 teaspoon but this is entirely up to you and your taste buds) and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the liquid starts to reduce. 
  4. Pour in 500ml of water at room temperature, stir and cover with a lid.
  5. Place the pot in the oven and leave to cook for 2 hours, checking every half an hour that you have enough liquid and the meat isn't burning. You may need to add a little water every now and then.
  6. After two hours mix in the mushrooms and carrots and place in the oven for another half an hour. 
  7. At this stage you can take the goulash out and carry on with stage 8 or you can leave it in the oven for as long as you like. The longer it stews the better and more inense it will taste. Just make sure you have enough liquid in there and nothing is burning.
  8. In a small frying pan heat up 2 tablespoons of oil. Once hot, add the corn flour a little at a time and stir until you are left with a smooth paste that starts to bubble. If it's too thick add a little water.
  9. Take out the goulash from the oven and mix in the roux. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. This is optional, but I like to take out a couple of ladles of the goulash and whizz it with a stick blender and add it back to the stew for extra thickness.
  10. Taste for seasoning and serve over pasta or rice alongside a bowl of lettuce.

Super yummy with a glass of red wine or a cold pint of lager.

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