Spicy and Aromatic Beef Goulash

*This was written when I was still using crutches to get about after my accident.

Ach man, it is good to be back in the kitchen. One of the idiosyncrasies here is that beef is cheaper than chicken, and nice beef at that. So, risking another attack of gout we are having Goulash tonight. To do this well you need time for it to stew, besides you can enjoy the cooking smells.

For two people you will need:

~ 400g of uncooked beef, I am using rump steak.

Four fair sized shallots

Two cloves of garlic

One can of good chopped tomatoes; note the emphasis.

A large red pepper

A beef bouillon pod. Check the taste, salt levels vary between different countries. If salty only use half.

3 heaped teaspoons of paprika

1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika, the smokier the better

1/3 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper

1/2 a teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Five cloves

Worcestershire Sauce.

Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Some rice and Greek yogurt to go with.

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First coarsely chop the shallots and set to one side, finely chop the garlic, set to one side. Chop and remove the seeds from the pepper, chunky is good.  Now cut the beef into one-inch cubes, removing any skanky bits. On the chopping board add salt and pepper to the beef, massage in. Sprinkle some Worcestershire Sauce and massage well. Now wipe your hands otherwise your crutches will smell.

Prepare a spice plate, with all the spices on it. This will be the basis of your roux; it has all the spices and the cloves on it.

Get a heavy casserole pot and set to one side.

In a heavy non-stick frying pan add a good old slurp of olive oil. Heat and fry off the beef until it is sealed. Don’t overdo this or it will chew like shoes. Transfer the beef to the casserole. Then continue heating to boil off any water from the beef in the oil. When the oil is clear, reduce the heat and add the shallots. Turn down the heat to about two thirds. Cook the onions in the oil until they are just translucent, now add the garlic. Fry the garlic for one minute only, otherwise it burns, nasty.

Add your spice plate and stir it into the oil, make sure that it mixes well with the oil to form a nice bubbling paste. Fry the spices for one minute and a bit. Add the can of chopped tomatoes and make a spice / chopped tomato roux. Pour half a can of boiling water into the empty tomato can and swirl it around to collect the juices.  Add this to the heavy non-stick pan and bring the sauce to the boil stirring as you go. Add the full / half stock pod, stir.  Reach over and have a sip of wine, from the counter behind you.

Transfer the sauce to the beef in the casserole, stir. Clean up any splashing on the casserole with a bit of kitchen towel. Put the casserole in the oven and cook at 150 degrees for at least one and a half hours, stirring every half an hour-ish. About half an hour before eating take the chopped pepper and add it to the casserole, stir well. If you put the pepper in too early, it will be slimy. Crunchy, al dente, is better.

Make sure you taste the casserole and adjust if needed.

About fifteen minutes before dinner start the rice prep and take the yoghurt out of the fridge…