With the winter months looming around, tucking into warm bowls of comfort food makes me feel so cozy. What comes to you mind when someone mentions 'comfort food'? To me it can be a bowl of creamy mashed potato and gravy or even some chicken noodle soup. For others, it's a memory of what their mom used to make. But for most Hungarians, it's a hearty bowl of goulash! This delicious stew has its humble beginnings as the 'everything-goes-in meal' of Hungarian herdsmen. Since the Hungarian term for herdsmen was gulyás, the travellers called this the herdsmen’s meat gulyás hús (which initially used to be lamb meat).
The reason I decided to make my own version of Beef goulash attributes to the fact that it's a perfect one-pot-meal, full of meat and veggies with all the flavors locked in. My version is naturally catering to kids palates, they need nourishment in the winter months and a much needed immunity boost. Winter is the time of sniffles and sore throats and here's a dish that comes packed with loads of protein, vitamins and Veal being a source of source of niacin, zinc, vitamin B12 and B6. I go an extra mile with this recipe by marinating my meat, altho it's not a pre-requisite as per the original version. By swapping the mandatory Beef with Veal, it favours the kids who don't prefer the chewy texture of Beef.
So here's the recipe, hope you and your family will enjoy it as much as we did. Feel free to add more veggies of your preference, even root veggies like potato and parsnips work well. Do share your creation on social media with the hashtag #saffronbowl
Ingredients To Marinate
500 grams Veal (boneless, stew cut)
2 Garlic cloves minced finely
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp freshly crushed black pepper
Mix all of the above ingredients and set it aside for 1 hour or even overnight
(If you don't have time, just mix it together and proceed with the cooking process)
2 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 white onion sliced thick
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 tbsp smoked paprika powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp finely crushed dried bay leaves (optional)
3 tbsp preservative free tomato paste or 3 fresh tomatoes roughly chopped
3 tsp Tapioca Flour
2 carrots, cut into roundels (optional)
2 bell peppers (diced)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 stock or cup water
2 tbsp preservative free Siracha sauce (optional)
A handful of fresh dill leaves
Heat the olive oil in a pressure cooker (or an instant pot/ slow cooker, whatever works for you best) on a high flame and toss in the Caraway seeds and wait for it to pop, then add the marinated meat and stir it around until it browns well. The juices of the meat will start to release and within 5 or 10 minutes, you will get a rich brown colour on your veal. Add the onions and celery to the meat and stir it well until the onions turn translucent. Once the onions change colour, reduce the flame and add the dried oregano, crushed bay leaves, tapioca flour, paprika and stir this well making sure the tapioca flour coats the meat well.
Now's the time to add the tomato paste and give the meat a through mix to incorporate the flavors. After 5 minutes of stirring, add the carrots along with the sea salt and 1/2 cup stock/water (avoid this if you are using fresh tomatoes), cover the lid and put the flame on high. Once the whistle blows on your pressure cooker, reduce it to a low flame and turn then it off in 15-20 minutes, depending on how you prefer the meat. I'm cooking it to a nice and tender consistency since this is a child friendly recipe. I like to toss in my bell peppers right at the end, since I love their semi-cooked crunchy texture. Once you open the pressure cooker lid, these is still plenty of steam in there, that's when you add the bell peppers and shut the lid tight for another 10-15 minutes. When you finally open if, the bell peppers would have softened up thanks to the steam, now give it one last mix, check for the seasoning and add more if necessary. Serve this hot garnished with tiny fronds of dill leaves or chopped parsley.
Serve this stew along with mashed potato, ribbon pasta, steamed rice or any loaf of your choice (there are plenty of gluten free breads in the supermarket now)
Tip- The Siracha is for those who like it much more spicy, so make sure you add that in during the cooking process. If the liquid you are using is meat stock, reduce any extra salt, as the stock is already salted. You can also try the recipe with Pork, Lamb, Buffalo meat, Venison and ofcourse the traditional Beef.