Italian Goulash?? Really? Yes, it’s true. Trieste, the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia (FVG) and part of the Austro-Hungrarian Empire prior to the end of World War I, is home to this dish. Trieste, which we visited during our 2010 vacation to FVG, is the easternmost spot in the northern part of Italy. If you make one wrong turn, you’ll send up in Slovenia.
Authentic Hungarian paprika is the key to this dish (paprika means “pepper” in Hungarian). Serve this dish with some soft just-cooked polenta, some cooled and grilled polenta (shown) or some boiled or roasted potatoes.
This dish takes a long time to cook and is probably best made a day in advance and reheated to let the flavors marry.
This recipe serves 4 people.
Ingredients and Directions:
- 4 tablespoons oil olive
- 2 large onions
- 2 pounds stewing beef
- 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
- A bundle of herbs tied together with kitchen string:
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig marjoram (or oregano)
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
Special equipment: A heavy enameled cast iron pot with lid.
- Peel the onions and slice into wide wedges (about 8 wedges per onion).
- Trim the beef of any major pieces of fat and slice into 1-inch cubes
- In the heavy enameled pot and over low-heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and saute the onions until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Again over low-heat, add the beef on top of the onions, the 2 types of paprika, another sprinkle of salt and bundle of herbs. Cover the pot and let cook for 30 minutes. Don’t stir. The beef will release their juices.
- For another 30 minutes, stir the onion-beef-paprika mixture occasionally letting the flavors come together and beef juices evaporate. Between stirrings, leave the lid ajar.
- In a small pot, bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat. Place the flour in a ladle and add a little of the hot water. Using a fork, dissolve the flour into the hot water until you have no lumps. Add more water if needed.
- Add the flour-water mixture back into the hot water and add the tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste into the water until it’s dissolved. Now add the flour-water-tomato mixture to the onions and beef. Stir the entire mixture to blend.
- With the lid ajar, cook for about 1 hour over low-heat until the beef is fork tender the sauce is thickened. Add more water if needed.
- Serve over polenta or with potatoes.