Hungarian Red Potato Goulash
I’ve been saying for a long time that my stomach belongs in south-eastern Europe. Or rather, it longs for Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Greek, and Italian cuisine. Well, not only my stomach, but me. I need to be there. I need to live there. I will die by food somewhere there, I imagine. In my internet travels, I happen along recipes that look great, but turn out a disaster, or are in the native language and don’t translate well… and end up being a disaster anyway. This time around, I’ve found a blog belonging to a woman of eastern European descent who knows what she’s doing, in more ways than one. I have to take a moment to tout the wonderfulness that is The Cozy Apron. The bloggess, Ingrid, can evoke such warm imagery with her writing, she has a wonderful photographer’s eye, and pieces together brilliant recipes. I’m a bit glad we don’t have smell-o-vision yet. I bet my keyboard would be dead from all the drool. I want to strive to be like her one day.
Until then, however, I will have to just emulate her and borrow her recipes to feed The Fellow™ and me. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of food from her blog. I’ve got about a week of meals planned out already.
Tonight’s meal was taking meat and potatoes to a whole new level. I will take meat and potatoes any way I can get them. I mean, last night I threw together baked potatoes and smothered it in crispy fried onions, sour cream, and bacon. There’s no other way to eat a baked potato. But stews/soups, roasts, side dishes, appetizers, entrees, desserts! (Well, not desserts. Meat and potatoes for dessert? Sounds like the t.v. show Chopped might have gotten a little crazy again.) Who doesn’t like meat and potatoes? In this particular case, we’re working with a smoked sausage (I used a turkey-beef-pork sausage) and turning it into a goulash of sorts. Just looking at Ingrid’s photos made me want to make this, then seeing 1. how easy it is to make, 2. how few ingredients, and 3. how inexpensive those ingredients are, I knew I had to go for broke.
I don’t use paprika in a whole lot of things. I should make more food that has paprika, because the taste it imparts with all types of meat is frickin’ fantastic. It saddens me that paprika isn’t used properly in America, at least compared to how it’s used elsewhere in the world. I can recall a time when I was still living at home with my parents in Nevada and visiting one of the local casinos for their lobster and prime rib buffet. Casino buffet food can be questionable to begin with, but this place had a pretty good track record of fairly tasty things. I grabbed myself a healthy amount of prime rib and reached for a lobster tail placed back in the shell. I notice right away there’s a red powder sprinkled over top. At that point in my life, I was still a little dumb when it came to cooking. I knew how to make some basic things, but cooking was a mom and dad thing. I was happy to nuke some canned pasta and call it a day. I know, I know, gross. But that lobster. The lobster was good. It had a nice, fresh flavor – surprising, given we’re in the middle of nowhere in the desert – but the seasoning on top, paprika, was so out of place. It was stale and boring and flavorless. Even though I was still a novice in the kitchen, I knew what paprika should taste like with seafood and this was so bad. And that happens to be what America does! They use it as a garnish instead of its intended purpose of releasing its full flavor by cooking it in oil. I’d go so far as to say, “The pros know how to use it”, but the casino’s buffet didn’t hire Joe Blow off the street (or maybe they did). They should know better. As someone who knew nearly nothing about cooking, I EVEN KNEW IT.
This goulash dish turned out so good. Mine doesn’t look anything like what The Cozy Apron posted, but I bet the flavors are there. The potatoes were silky and smooth and melty as you put them in your mouth. Caramelizing the onions in the smoked sausage drippings and a bit of butter spread the meaty flavor throughout. I’m a little sad I didn’t make more, because I could totally go for seconds, but that would mean The Fellow™ doesn’t get lunch tomorrow, and that’s not fair.
Hungarian Red Potato Goulash
source: The Cozy Apron [Saucy Hungarian Red Potato Goulash]
1 (14 ounce) smoked sausage, sliced on the bias into thin medallions
2 Tablespoons butter
2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed through garlic press
¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
5 medium-size red skin potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½” thick circles (about 2 ¾ lbs)
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Add about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil into a large, deep, non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the smoked sausage medallions, and caramelize for a few minutes until they become a deep brown color. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add the butter to melt into the sausage drippings in the hot pan. Add the sliced onions, and caramelize until a rich, golden-brown, about 5-7 minutes. Next, add the garlic, plus a couple of pinches of salt, the freshly cracked black pepper, and paprika. Stir to combine with the onions; saute just until the garlic becomes aromatic.
3. Add the sliced potatoes. Fold them into the caramelized onions/garlic to coat them well. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine, then push the sliced potatoes down into the stock/onion mixture as much as possible to allow them to cook evenly. Cover the pan/pot with a lid that is askew to allow some steam to escape, and simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring gently once or twice. Uncover the pan/pot and allow the potatoes to continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until they are tender and the sauce a bit thickened, stirring once or twice during.
4. Finish the goulash by adding the sausage back into the pan/pot, as well as the parsley (if using), and gently fold those in to incorporate.