Sunday, November 17, 2013
Dutch winter evenings are often a display of opposites. Dark, cold nights, with a howling northern wind that is trying to get into every nook and cranny of the house, frozen canals on which you can hear the loud pangs of the ice thickening while you are trying to cycle your way home as fast as you can. But once the house comes in sight, the welcoming glow of the outside light by the door draws you in, the gezellige steamed up kitchen windows promise good food, the glow of the fireplace warms your heart. And while you peel off all those layers of clothes that have kept you from freezing on your outside adventure, a big plate of warming, comforting food is set before you. Ah bliss!
3 tablespoons of bacon grease
1 large onion, diced
2 heaping tablespoons of Hungarian paprika
2 lb of beef (chuck rib or pot roast)
3 cloves of garlic
2 medium red peppers
2 medium sized potatoes
1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
Heat your cooking pot and melt the bacon grease. When the fat is hot, add the onions. Stir until they are translucent. Take the pot off the stove and stir in the paprika. Note: you want the paprika to hit the hot grease and release most of its flavor but you don't want it to burn as it will turn bitter and spoil the dish.
Put the pot back on the stove and add the beef, cut in bite size chunks. Sauté the meat in the hot fat and mix it in with the onions and the paprika, then turn down the heat and add 2 cups of warm water. Let the beef braise in a covered pot for about a good hour, keeping an eye on the amount of liquid. Make sure you have enough liquid in the pot at all times!
Peel and cut the carrots in bitesize pieces or slices, whichever you prefer. Peel and mince the garlic, and slice the peppers into 1 inch pieces, after removing the seeds. Add the carrots, garlic and peppers to the pot, add three more cups of water and let the stew slowly simmer for another hour.
Cube the potatoes after you peel them and add them to the pot with three additional cups of water. Stir in the tablespoon of caraway seed and simmer until the potatoes are done. On a slow simmer, the potatoes will thicken the stew and bring all the flavors together. Before you serve, taste and adjust with salt and pepper, if needed.