In Hungary, many of the dishes are hearty for their chilly winters. Soups and stews abound and hot dishes are always a yummy choice from the menu.

Hungarian Beef Goulash

1/4 c. vegetable oil
10 oz. finely cut onions
1/2 bell pepper, deseeded & crushed
4 lg. cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb. beef chuck (stew meat, or shank meat)
2 tbsp. Hungarian paprika (don’t use Spanish)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed Italian pepper or cayenne
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes, crushed by hand
Salt to taste
2 bay leaves
egg noodles

For those who can remember, a grating of lemon rind to taste is a good finishing touch.

1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom saucepan or casserole. Add the onions and the bell pepper, cover and sweat onions until translucent, stirring occasionally, but do not brown. Add the garlic and saute until it imparts its aroma.

2. Add the meat, stir together and season with salt. Cover and let sweat gently for several minutes. When meat takes on a cooked appearance, add paprika, caraway seeds, the pepper and the bay leaves, stir all together, cover and let cook on a low fire for 10 to 15 minutes until meat has picked up the flavor of the seasonings.

3. Add the tomatoes, stir and cover and return to a simmer. Adjust fire so the goulash simmers very gently and let cook, stirring occasionally until meat is tender. While the goulash is cooking, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Meat should be tender in about one hour.

4. When meat is tender, remove bay leaves and taste once more. Skim any grease that may have surfaced. Keep warm.

Serves 4-5.

NOTE: Serve Goulash on a bed of egg noodles, buttered and seasoned with a touch of nutmeg.

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