March 13, 2009

Austrian Goulash

Guten Tag! This week I have been craving some good ol' Austrian food. Maybe I am missing my days in Austria from last year or have simply just had enough pasta to last a lifetime! Either way, my stomach is wandering across the Northern border here to the land of schnitzels and brats. When we first arrived this year, I immediately cut myself off from even thinking that I could indulge in the delicacies that are so precisely made by the Austrians. To make myself feel better, I constantly thought that at least last year I ate Austrian pastries, wiener schnitzel, Apfel strudel, and brats w/ bread until my heart was content. Not to mention the quantities of delicious wheat beer that I consumed. I was comforted by these thoughts that I had at least sampled these items in grand quantities at one point in my life. However, the past week I have gotten the cravings for hearty Austrian food again.

So I went on a search of how to make one of my favorite Austrian dishes, goulash. The Italians in this region also are known for their goulash served with polenta. But in my opinion, you cross the border for the best piping hot rich plate of goulash served with bread dumplings. And that is where my quest began. After thorough research and finding the "perfect" meat for goulash, which was thankfully labeled at the Austrian grocery store as goulash meat!! I was able to prep myself to cook Austrian cuisine, which I have never ever done before. But I hit a big road bump when I realized I have no idea what to serve my goulash with! Polenta? Rice? even a Salad? Clearly none of those would do. So I again searched high and low before I finally came across the best website ever. How I did not discover this website before, I am not quite sure. I buy a lot of Schaer products, which were created in the Tirol region of Italy. Which in my opinion is really just southern Austria. All the Italians there speak German with Italian accents, not to mention some of them even barely speak Italian! They even eat dumplings instead of pasta. With that being said, I somehow came across Dr. Schaer's website during my many recipe web surfing sessions and realized they had a HUGE recipe selection using their products. And low and behold I found a recipe for cheese dumplings! I was ecstatic!!! My menu was complete! I created the meal for my boyfriend and another team member who we sometimes have over for dinner. I decided to make it a big event and went all out! We had brie and delicious Italian jam with gluten free crackers, followed by the main course of goulash and bread dumplings, and finally came the dessert, a plum clafloutis. I do realize that my meal was not completely Austrian and I did dabble a bit into the french cuisine with this meal, but when you live with a French Canadian you can't help it. The meal was a complete success and I will most certainly make this meal for the rest of my life, yes it was that good! So throw on your lederhosen or dirndl, grab a gf beer, start singing "the hills are alive", and get cooking!


~1 liter gf broth, I used veggie
~1 can crushed tomatoes
~600-700g goulash meat, stringy stew meat (about 1 1/2 lbs)
~2 Tbs. paprika, preferably sweet Hungarian paprika
~1 tsp. oregano
~1 tsp. basil
~2 onions chopped
~2 cloves garlic, minced
~1 Tbs. olive oil
~1 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbs. water

Saute the onions in olive oil in a big soup pot for 15 min. Add in garlic and saute for another 3-5 min. Then add in broth, tomatoes, meat, and spices. Simmer on medium heat for 2-3 hours, or until meat is very tender. At this point stir in cornstarch. If sauce still appears to thin, add 1-2 tsp. more cornstarch dissolved in water. Stir and let sit for 15 min. while you cook your dumplings.

Cheese Dumplings

If you do not have schaer, simply substitute in a different gf flour and bread that you enjoy. And Mahlzeit as they say in Austria!

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