Top | New Classic Family Dinners
(recipe, Mark Peel)
Paprika is the most important ingredient in this Austro-Hungarian classic. It should be sweet Hungarian paprika, not smoked Spanish paprika. Keep it in the freezer in a well-sealed container and it will stay fresh for several months. If it’s been sitting out for more than 6 months, discard it and get a new batch. Begin this stew a couple of days ahead so you can marinate the meat and easily degrease the finished sauce.
- 3 lb. skirt steak or beef chuck or round, cut in 1½-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 3 Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 fat garlic cloves, halved, green shoots removed, and sliced
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut in ¼-inch-wide strips
- ¾ tsp. caraway seeds
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 1½ cups chopped, peeled, and seeded tomatoes (fresh or canned)
- ½ lb. sweet red peppers (1 large or 2 medium), roasted, peeled, seeded, and sliced (retain any juices)
- 1½ cups (one 12-ounce bottle) lager beer
- Place the meat in a large bowl and toss with the canola oil, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 4 of the garlic cloves, and half the onion. Knead the mixture well so that the seasonings penetrate the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, scrape the onions and garlic off the meat and set aside with the remaining onions and garlic. Heat a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon renders its fat, then remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside in a bowl.
- Add the meat to the pan in batches and brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl with the bacon. (There will be a lot of juice in the pan; pour off the liquid from the pan between batches but retain with the meat.)
- Add the remaining onions to the pan with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, caraway seeds, and tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste caramelizes slightly (it will turn a rusty color). Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until they have cooked down slightly. Add the roasted peppers and their juice and stir together for a few more minutes, then return the meat and bacon to the pan with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Add the beer, 1 teaspoon salt, and water if necessary.
- The meat should be almost submerged. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer over low heat for 3 hours, until the meat is fork-tender. From time to time, skim the fat from the top of the simmering stew. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and vegetables from the liquid and place in a bowl. Pour the liquid into another bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight if serving the following day (if serving the same day, allow to rest for 1 hour and degrease, following the directions below).
- The next day, lift off the fat that has accumulated on top of the liquid and discard. Combine the meat and gravy in a pot, reheat gently, correct the seasonings, and serve, with noodles, spaetzle, rice, or parsleyed potatoes.