While I love the ease of using my slow cooker to prepare meals, my family is not always all that excited by the results. Our oldest daughter especially does not care for the way the flavors blend together, or the texture of the meat in many finished dishes. Slow-cooker goulash is an exception though, and dish we all love and look forward to in the fall and winter (whenever I can get stew meat on sale). I was able to pick up a package of stew meat week before last in the clearance section of the meat department for $3.64, and as I had all the other ingredients on hand, adding goulash to the menu this week was a no-brainer.
Goulash is a Hungarian stew of meat and vegetables seasoned with paprika and other spices. While a traditional goulash contains potatoes, the recipe I use (Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes) does not. The paprika is important for flavoring and thickening the stew, and can be either hot or sweet depending on your preference, but other traditional spices and seasonings, such as caraway seed and lemon, are optional. Goulash is often served with small egg noodles, but any noodles will work, and it can also be served over rice. It can also be topped with sour cream or plain yogurt before serving.
- 1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
- 2 medium carrots, bias cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 cups beef broth
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- 1 TBSP Hungarian paprika, either sweet or hot
- 1 tsp grated lemon peel (optional)
- 1/2 tsp caraway seed (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 red or green bell pepper, cut into thin, bite-sized strips
- 3 cups hot cooked noodles
- sour cream or yogurt (optional)
In a 3-qt or larger slow cooker, add stew meat, carrots, onion and garlic. Combine the beef broth, tomato paste, paprika, caraway seed and lemon peel (if using), salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add to the meat and vegetables and stir gently to combine. Add the bay leaf, cover, and cook on low for 8 -9 hours, or on high for 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 hours.
During the last half hour, turn the heat setting to high if using low heat. Add the pepper strips, stir to combine and cook an additional 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf, and serve the goulash over hot noodles topped with sour cream or yogurt, if desired.
(Photo credit: http://www.bhg.com)