Margarita's International Recipes
The Friulian region was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, so it has incorporated into its cuisine dishes from its neighbors to the northeast and modified them to fit local ingredients and flavors. This goulash, for example, features Italian herbs.
I followed the recipe closely, though I didn't have Hungarian hot paprika, so I only used mild (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp). The results were quite good. Not out of the world good, but homey meal satisfying, I'll get another serving good. Of course, my mom's side of the family comes from Northern Italy (around lake Como), so these flavors may speak particularly closely to my sense of home.
As for substitutions, I didn't have fresh thyme or marjoram/oregano, so I just added a sprinkle of dry instead.
Goulash goes particularly well with polenta, and indeed Friuli is said to be where polenta was born in Italy. My husband, however, couldn't find any dry polenta when I sent him to the supermarket, so he brought tubed, pre-made polenta instead. I sauteed it, and it was OK, but it would have been much better with the real kind. You can also serve it with gnocchi or potatoes.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 onions, each cut into 8 wedges
- salt to taste
- 2 lbs beef chuck or similar, cubed
- 1 Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 tsp. hot Hungarian paprika
- A bouquet garni of the following herbs, tied together: 1 bay leaf, 1 spring rosemary, 1 sprig marjoram or oregano, 1 spring thyme.
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
Heat the oil over low heat in a heavy pot. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt, and saute until they start to soften. Put the beef on top of the onions. Sprinkle with more salt and the paprika and add the bouquet garni. Cover and cook without stirring for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir, and then partially cover. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil. Put the flour in a medium glass bowl and mix with about 1/2 cup of boiling water. Whisk until dissolved. Add the rest of the hot water and mix well. Add the tomato paste to the water and mix again, until it's all dissolved and uniform.
Add the tomato water to the beef. Mix well, bring to a boil, and then simmer over low heat, partially covered, for about 1 hour. Adjust seasoning before serving.
Adapted from a recipe at Our Italian Table.
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