I spent all weekend typing ‘ghoulash’ instead of ‘goulash’ – perhaps because it was Halloween! I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere… What does a Hungarian ghost have for supper.. etc.
Anyway. When I was speaking to the lovely people of Riverford, I mentioned that I hadn’t cooked much venison before and would love to give it a go – it being the season and all. So they sent me this diced venison, with its appealing magenta hues, which was perfect for an autumn stew.
I decided to cook goulash as I like a stew with a spicy kick. Although traditionally made with beef, I discovered that goulash (derived from ‘herd’ – i.e. a cattle herder’s stew) is often replaced with venison or boar in parts of Croatia. So here’s to you, Croatia.
To make the goulash I needed the following:
- 500g diced venison
- 1 onion
- 400g chopped plum tomatoes
- 1 red pepper, diced
- Tbsp paprika
- Deseeded red chilli
- Beef stock cube
- Glass of white wine
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- Flat noodles – I chose fettucine
I also needed,but forgot to buy:
- Sour cream
This is a stew that can be prepared on the hob and slow cooked in the oven at 150C. I softened the onions in a pan, then added the chopped chilli and paprika. Added the diced venison to the pan and browned on all sides. At this point I threw everything else – the red pepper, chopped tommies, wine and seeds and crumbled a stock cube in. Brought it all the boil and placed in the oven for 1.5 hours.
Well, actually I was impatient and took my goulash out after 1 hour. The venison wasn’t quite melt in my mouth yet, so I was annoyed at myself for not leaving it in longer. However, the earthy flavour of a game meat certainly lent itself to goulash – and as Chris described it, it had a rich and velvety texture similar to kidneys. My goulash turned out quite watery, and as it turns out this is authentic as Hungarians don’t tend to add thickeners.
In an ideal world, you should swirl sour cream into the goulash (for its tangy-ness) and serve on flat noodles. As it was, I had mine without and it turned out alright!