And then I had some while drinking a shitload of beer in the Munich's Viktualienmarkt. I was hungover from my second day in a row at Oktoberfest, having consumed five liters (that's more than 14 regular bottles) of delicious German beer in one afternoon/evening/timewarp. I was even persuaded to get on the rickety carnival rides that would never be allowed to operate here.
I was drunk as fuck.
Now picture me the next morning: stumbling around downtown Munich, trying to eke out some last bits of tourism, refusing to spend my last day there on the couch in my VRBO flat. I rallied! Sort of. I found myself at the aforementioned open-air food festival, knowing that some hair of the dog and a bit of food would put me on the path to recovery. German sausage was out of the question (don't ask) and I became queasier at the thought of their offal-filled sandwiches (that's a story for another time). Someone walked past me with a bowl of this goulash I speak of and the smell made my innards rumble in a good way. I was in. (I also ordered another liter of beer, just to be festive.)
It was neither soup nor stew but somewhere in between. The texture was almost like liquid beef (in a good way) and the taste was just layers and layers of meat, vegetables, and spices. Heavy on the paprika, goulash smells like everything you've ever craved when hungover on a rainy day.
It was raining pitchforks and babies the other day as El Nino kicked into full force, plus I was hungover (again), so it was the perfect afternoon to get some goulash on the stove.
* A shot of oil (grapeseed, olive, motor)
* A pound or two cubed beef
* Salt and pepper (do I really have to tell you to season your damn meat?)
* A couple handfuls mirepoix
* Dozen shakes of paprika
* Couple shakes garlic powder
* Couple shakes harissa or cayenne
* Big spoonful flour
* Blob of tomato paste
* Half a can diced tomatoes and juice
* Beef broth (enough to make the other ingredients a liquid, but not soupy)
* Sour cream, creme fraiche, something similarly fatty
Add the oil, beef, salt and pepper to a big stockpot, turn the heat on high and cook until you get the Maillard Reaction going on the meat. Add the mirepoix, cover the pot and turn the heat to medium. Cook until the veggies are soft. Add the paprika, garlic powder and harissa, stir to coat completely. Add the flour, stir to coat and cook for a couple minutes before adding the tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Turn heat to high and add broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for at least two hours. Pour half of it into a blender or food processor (make sure it's cool enough that it won't melt plastic) and puree. Pour it back into the stockpot and cook for at least another 15 minutes. Serve with a giant glop of sour cream. If you're feeling the whole German thing, add some pretzel bites.