28 October 2010

Pumpkin Goulash

It's Fall here in Santa Barbara.  The air is distinctly crisp in the mornings, general humidity levels are dropping, the daylight is losing intensity, and pumpkins are for sale everywhere.  So while the last of the summer tomatoes are still lingering on the vines outside, I am getting into the spirit of Fall.  (I'm also realizing that I need to start preparing Thanksgiving ideas!)

Part of the fun has been perusing seasonal recipes, and I have to say I get really excited whenever I come across a new and interesting way of using pumpkin.  Sadly, the pumpkin is too frequently marginalized in the U.S., being relegated to the limited role of Thanksgiving pie filler, when I believe it has the potential for so much more!  So I was thrilled when I came across the idea for incorporating pumpkin into a traditional Hungarian goulash.  The pumpkin, slowly cooked with the beef and spices, is rather subtle in flavor, but it adds a wonderful quality to the whole dish.

I've certainly had my share of goulash, growing up as a part of a German family, and I remember my grandmother always adding in some sour cream at the end.  It would transform the broth into a smooth gravy-like sauce that would coat the chunks of slow-simmered meat and cling so nicely to the egg noodles.  But this goulash--wow--has such a velvety smooth finish, thanks to the pumpkin, that you won't have to add any cream to this one!

Pumpkin Beef Goulash
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, in 1 to 2-inch cubes
3 Tbs. Hungarian sweet paprika
(1 Tbs. Hungarian hot paprika, optional)
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 1/2 medium onions, sliced into strips
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf

3/4 pound egg noodles, cooked and tossed in a couple tablespoons butter

Sprinkle cubed beef with paprika, salt, and pepper and turn to coat evenly.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and sear beef cubes, turning cubes to brown the major surfaces.  (If excess paprika has burned on the bottom of the pot, remove cooked beef to the side, deglaze the hot pot with cool water and scrape up any burned bits.  Rinse and wipe dry, then return beef to pot.)

To the seared beef, add the sliced onions, chicken broth, pumpkin, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beef is very tender.  Scoop beef and onions out of the broth and cover to keep warm; discard bay leaf.  Heat remaining broth to boiling and reduce until it resembles more of a thick sauce.  Return beef and onions to pot, stirring to coat with sauce, and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper as needed.  Serve over egg noodles.


The Church Cook said...

This looks fabulous, Erica! I am cooking beef stew for my church this Sunday and I will try this. Thanks!

Lauren said...

This looks fantastic, Erica! Where did you find your paprika(s)?

erica said...

Thanks ladies! :)

Kay--I'm so excited that you'll be trying the pumpkin!

Lauren--I actually found my Hungarian paprika at Cost Plus World Market! But I think a regular grocery store like Vons should have it too.

the Junkie book said...

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Anonymous said...

Erica these are some fabulous photos. ECW

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