Traditional Czech Goulash stew flavored with paprika, cumin and often beer, most often accompanied by dumplings and thickened by flour gets paleo twist by upping the amount of onion for thickening and the carrots instead of dumplings, so no side dish is needed. Long stewing in oven leaves the meat tender and succulent and the surface of the stew almost caramelizes which won't happen in a slow cooker, but it can be a way to go too.
Step 1: Get All Your Ingredients on One Place (at Least the Ones You Didn't Forget)
For three portions, you'll need:
- 600g beef ribs
- 600g carrots¨
- 3 onions
- 3 tablespoons lard or butter
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste / 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 500ml beef stock / good beer
- beef tendons (optional, will make the Goulash thicker)
- dried chilli pepper
- 3 tsp salt
- 3 tsp Goulash spice mix (pepper, dried garlic, onion, cumin, not shown)
- 3 cloves garlic
- soy sauce / fish sauce (optional, now shown)
Step 2: Brown the Meat
Heat 1 tbsp fat of your choice and brown the meat on all sides (or at least on the bigger sides, if you're lazy). Set them aside.
Step 3: Hacka Löken!
Chop the onions (bigger chunks are OK, as it will cook for long time anyway) and the dried chilli. Heat 1 tbsp of fat in the pot (which should be empty now) and sweat the onions and chilli. You can let them brown longer to let me "pre-burn", if that's the way you roll. Reserve them aside.
Step 4: Caramelize the Carrots
Peel and roughly chop your carrots, heat 1 tbsp of fat in empty pot and let them party hard. Really you want to let them caramelize to get rid of the vegetable taste and let it acquire somwhow meaty taste.
Step 5: Tomato It Up
Now it's time to dump in the tomato paste or puree, but don't add other liquids yet, you want the tomato to also fry a little to develop flavor.
Step 6: Stew It Up
When you think the tomato paste has developed flavor, now you can add the reserved onions, meat and seasonings (dried onion and garlic and cumin). Now you pour in liquids (beef stock, beer, water or combination), bring it to bubble and transfer it to the oven set at 160°C (320°F) for 2-4 hours (or longer, if you're up to it) or in slow cooker set to high. If using oven, the surfacwe of the stew will gradually caramelize. Ieally, you want to stir it few times so the flavorful crust melts into the stew and new one forms.
For the last hour, get your garlic into the oven to bake alongside the meat. It will become much more flavorful that way.
Step 7: Final Seasoning
Now for the final seasoning: Why haven't you added the salt, pepper and garlic before (you haven't, right?) Because as the liquid evaporates, the salt concetration would increase and what was perfectly seasoned Goulash would now be oversalted jerky. Same with the pepper. The garlic is another story: As the chopped garlic heats, it releases (loses) the garlicky punch, so after 2-4 hours of heating in the stew, it would be just ghost of its former self. So you want to bake it whole, but chop and add it just for last few minutes to distribute the garlicky flavor, but lose none of it.
So now you will and the chopped/mashed garlic, the soy/fish sauce (optional), salt and pepper, stir it good and put it in the oven for final 10 minutes (though it will be hard, once your brain registers the angel-seducing smell coming from the pot.
Step 8: Dinner Is Served, Bitches
Often served with few slivers of raw onion, this dish is hearty treat for winter evenings. Heavy, but healthy and mouth-watering. Enjoy.