Goulash and Csipetke

I’ve been wanting to do this for some time – ever since Balazs cooked it for us in a pot hanging over a fire in his Budapest garden. If you’ve never heard of csipetke, they are the little dumplings that you serve with the goulash and they’re exactly like the spaetzle that you find in the south of Germany (although I’m not sure that’s going to help you a great deal). If you don’t have the will to try making them (and shame on you if you don’t) you can always use a small pasta instead.

Goulash and Csipetke

On a high heat, fry 500g of good fatty stewing beef in a pan with a load of oil until nicely browned and move to a large casserole dish. Next fry a few roughly chopped onions and a load of garlic. Deglaze the pan with red wine and throw everything into the casserole followed by a couple of red chillies, bay leaves, a tin of tomatoes (controversial), a litre of beef stock and half a bottle of red wine. Finally, add four heaped tablespoons of sweet paprika,  one or two tablespoons of hot paprika and a tablespoon of caraway seeds. Don’t skimp on the paprika, if you do, you’ll only be cheating yourself. And don’t buy your paprika in those crappy little 30g jars they sell in the supermarkets – if you do, you’ll probably need about four of them… (see https://dadattheweekend.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/spice-boy/ for the right way to buy spices, or go to https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/culinary-herbs-spices-seasonings)

Ok – put a lid on it, stick it all in the oven at about 160c and forget about it for a few hours…

In the meantime, take a bowl and add about 100g of flour, a beaten egg, a pinch of salt and enough water to make a very thick batter. Mix it well, cover it and throw it in the fridge until you’re about 20 mins from serving the meal.

After a few hours, and when your beef is extremely tender, you can start to pull it all together – the goulash should be quite soupy at this point (add more water if it isn’t). Season it to taste with salt and pepper. Take a pan of boiling salted water and if you have a csipetke or spaetzle machine, stick the dough batter through it into the boiling water. If you don’t (like me), position a large holed grater over the top of the pan, and using a spatula, dump a large blob of the batter on top of the grater and push it through to create little blobs of dough which will solidify as they hit the water. Repeat until you’ve used all of the batter. The csipetke will not be evenly shaped at all, but that’s ok. Let them boil in the water for about 20 mins, drain, add butter and chopped parsley and you’re ready to go.

Serve the goulash in bowls with chopped parsley, a huge dollop of soured cream and the csipetke. Make sure you have a bottle of heavy red wine to go with it…

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