Beef Goulash

My mother-in-law has a wonderful recipe for what she calls goulash. It bears absolutely no resemblence to the Hungarian, pepper-filled classic, but it is called goulash anyway! I decided to see whether I could successfully recreate this dish using the crock pot instead of cooking it on the stove top as she does. Mission accomplished! I will give both methods below, for those who do not have a crock pot.

Ingredients: feeds 8 (I made a lot so I could freeze some for “I don’t want to cook” days)

  • 1 kg cubed beef
  • 500g sliced mushrooms (I used a jar of mixed wild mushrooms, but use any, it does not really matter)
  • +/- 10 cornichons, sliced thickly (add as many as you like)
  • 300ml water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 heaped tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard (this was my own addition, you could leave it out if you prefer)
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped, dried Thyme (or a couple of sprigs of fresh; you just have to remember to remove the stalks before serving)

Traditional cooking method:

1. Heat some oil (not much, about a teaspoon) in a large, heavy-bottomed pan with a lid. On a high heat, brown the meat well on all sides. Add the water, salt, pepper and thyme.

2. Turn the heat down really low and cook, covered, for about 2 hours or until the meat is fork tender.

3. Half an hour before the end of cooking time, add the mushrooms and sliced cornichons.

4. Mix some cornstarch and cooking juices together to form a thin paste; add to the cooking pan and stir until sauce thickens.

Crock pot method:

1. Add all the ingredients to the crock pot, cover and cook on low for 10 hours.

2. When cooking time is finished, pour the cooking juices into a pan, add the cornstarch mixture (see above) and allow sauce to thicken to a gravy consistency. Return sauce to the crock pot and stir to combine with the meat, mushrooms and cornichons.

This dish can be served with boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato dumplings, rice, noodles, polenta…anything you like.