Traditionally goulash tends to be served with ribbon noodles but as dumplings and noodles may seem like too much of a good thing, you could try it instead with steamed white cabbage tossed with caraway seeds and a scrap of butter and if you still want to go for carbohydrate overload, boiled potatoes.
If you prefer, you can use rose veal or lean beef in place of the venison, in which case you can leave out the bacon. Most importantly, the paprika should be bright red and smell fresh. If it is at all brown and dusty, it’s best to bin it and cook something else.
Venison Goulash with Herb Dumplings
Ingredients for the dumplings:
100 g plain flour
2 level tspn baking powder
28 g butter
1/2 tspn salt
A handful of finely chopped parsley
Ingredients for the goulash:
700g of casserole venison (you can increase this to 1 kilo without affecting the quantities of the remaining ingredients)
An equal weight of onions, peeled and finely sliced
140g streaky bacon, cut into lardons
2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
3-4 juniper berries
1 tspn caraway seeds
1 level tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
125 ml sour cream (or double cream and a tablespoon of vinegar – don’t be surprised when it thickens instantly, it’s fine)
First make the dumplings. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour, then mix in the egg and parsley to make a stiff dough. Knead briefly to amalgamate, form into a ball, wrap in cling film and set aside in the fridge.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a deep frying pan or casserole. Fry the bacon until transparent, remove with a slotted spoon then add the venison and brown it in batches. Remove and set aside with the bacon.
Add a little more oil to the casserole dish if necessary and cook the onions until golden and wilted. Drop in the garlic and cook for a minute.
Put the meat back in the pan. Stir in the paprika and salt and cook for one minute. Add a splash of water if necessary as paprika burns easily.
Add the herbs and seasonings (except the parsley) and a wine glass of water and clamp on a tight-fitting lid. Simmer on top of the stove until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Just before you want to eat, check the seasoning, adjust as required then stir in the sour cream and chopped parsley.
Pinch off pea-sized pieces of the dumpling dough, roll them into spheres and drop them into the simmering goulash. Put the lid back on. The dumplings will be done in six to eight minutes by which time they should be light and fluffy.
* The nerdy bit: As I understand it a proper Hungarian gulyas can be either a soup or a stew and does not contain cream. This dish is closer to a paprikas or porkolt but as most people will be familiar with the ingredients as a goulash, that’s the name I’ve gone with.
Check out other paprika recipes at the Spice Trail January challenge.
I’m also entering this in January’s Cooking With Herbs Challenge hosted by Karen Burns-Booth at Lavender and Lovage.