Beef Goulash

When researching recipes for Beef Goulash, a beloved Central European stew, I discovered it had so many variations. Some advocated the use of wine, others insisted on grounding the base with beef stock, and many swore by the addition of tomatoes. But, the one common point just about every recipe could agree that was integral to the stew was caraway seeds, a distinctively heady spice with minty accents that's a dominant contrast to copious lashings of sweet paprika.

Mine's a blend of tomatoes and beef stock, with caraway seeds and paprika, but feel free to reduce it with wine if you prefer. Just have lots of crusty bread or buttered string pasta to soak up all that delicious gravy.

Ingredients (feeds 5-6):
1.2 kg stewing beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced to 1cm cubes
1 can diced plum tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp caraway seeds (ground this into a powder if you have the time)
4 tbsp paprika
5 cups beef stock
8 tbsp bacon-fat infused oil

1) Brown beef, salting liberally, in bacon-fat infused oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the browning pan.

2) Set aside in stewing pot and reserve. 

3) Fry onions in bacon-fat and beef drippings infused oil, about 2 minutes on medium-high heat.

4) Add garlic, and fry another 1 minute.

5) Add green peppers, and fry another 1 minute.

6) Add caraway seeds, and fry for 1 minute to a toasty finish. 

7) Add tomato paste, stirring throughout so it's evenly spread out.

8) Add diced tomatoes, letting it bubble for about 2 minutes.

9) Add paprika, stirring throughout.

10) Add beef stock, and bring to a boil.

11) Transfer to the pot with the beef. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 5-6 hours. If prepping in advance, bring to a boil then take off heat, and pop it into the fridge to steep overnight. Heat up and simmer for 5-6 hours the next day.

12) Serve with freshly milled pepper and a dollop of sour cream.

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