This is a really satisfying and flavour-packed meal which I cooked last night in my recently acquired pressure cooker, a piece of kitchen equipment that I’m rapidly falling in love with. (NB: You can get perfectly good and very much cheaper PCs than mine – I just opted for what looked like a ‘foolproof version’ because I was nervous about the whole idea of pressure cooking)! In this recipe, cooking time is reduced to 25 minutes in the PC.
If you want to try this recipe using another method of cooking, it takes about 2 hours in the oven at 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4, OR 5-6 hours in a slow cooker.
(My version) Hungarian Goulash
- A small quantity of sour cream (about 75ml or 4 to 5 tablespoons)
- 200g (about 6 oz) peas or sliced green beans (optional)
- 2 carrots, (75g / 3 to 4 oz), sliced
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- 1 stick of celery, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (optional) or 1/4 tsp.ground mixed spice or cinnamon (optional)
- 1 x 400g (14 oz.) can chopped tomatoes in juice (+ 1 tin of water)
- 350 ml (12 fl. oz.) liquid beef stock
- 100 ml (3 to 4fl. oz.) red wine
- 400g (14 oz.) potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 200g (7 oz) bacon or spicy sausage, diced
- 600g (21 oz) stewing beef, diced
- 2 oz (about 50g) flour
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Oven on (if using a traditional oven).
Toss the beef in the flour to coat. I do this by putting the meat and flour in a zip lock bag an tossing it around.
Heat the oil in the open pan and brown off the beef in small batches, setting it aside when done.
Add the onions, bacon / spicy sausage and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions have softened (3-4 minutes).
Add back the beef + potatoes, tomatoes in juice, carrots, stock, wine, paprika, bay leaf and caraway seeds if using.
*Put the lid on the pressure cooker and lock it in place. Set the pressure to high (‘meat’ setting on my PC), bring to pressure and cook for 25 minutes.
When done, release the pressure slowly (take the pan off the heat and let it stand for 10-15 mins – this allows the flavour-infused steam to meld back into the cooked dish).
If using, add the peas or beans to the opened pan and cook through for 4 to 5 minutes.
To serve: top with a little sour cream. Can be had with crusty bread or rice, although we found this to be a satisfying ‘one-bowl’ meal on its own.
*If using a traditional oven, cover the casserole and cook for the required time (2 hours or until the meat is tender).
I realised today that my hand-scrawled recipe notes for these family favourites were fading so badly that they were becoming hard to read. Time to commit to a more permanent form of storage….
There are two variations noted here – the second born out of necessity when I realised, too late, that I’d run out of tomato puree. Version 1 uses oregano and tomato puree, version 2 – red pesto (no oregano). I’d go with version 1 first but hey, give it a go and see what you think. My baking in this is not an exact science so don’t get in a sweat if you don’t have 12 or 18 bics and use your eyes, nose and touch to confirm cooking times in your own oven, especially as, in my experience, all ovens seem to have their own foibles.
(Children love these biscuits so it would be a good opportunity to get them into baking by helping out with the whole making process).
Here we go:
Ingredients (to make approximately 12 to 18, using either a 2-1/2″ or 3″ pastry cutter)
150g (6 oz) flour
100g (4 oz) well-flavoured strong cheese, finely grated (I often use Edam). Don’t be lazy – buy and grate your own for best flavour.
100g (4 oz) margarine (or butter)
1-1/2 tablespoons of tomato puree (version 1) OR Version 2: 2 well-rounded (generous!) teaspoons of red pesto (I used Sacla ready-made) and if using, you can leave out the oregano
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard (i.e. English mustard powder)
1 egg, beaten, to bind and to glaze
Salt and pepper to season
To bake on the middle / top shelves of the oven. Oven on at 200C / Fan oven 180-190C / 392F / Gas Mark 6.
Sieve flour, salt, pepper and mustard together. Add oregano (if using – version 1). Rub fat into the dry /flour mix. Add the grated cheese and the tomato puree (or pesto). Add sufficient beaten egg to form a pliable dough (you may not need any if using pesto).
Roll out pastry to about 3mm or 1/8 inch thick and using a 2-1/2 to 3 inch cutter, shape biscuits.
Arrange on a baking tray, prick well, glaze with beaten egg and bake.
2-1/2 inch biscuits will take approx. 18 – 20 minutes. 3 inch bics take about 20 – 22 mins.
These are delicious ‘as is’ but you could always treat them like tiny pizza biscuit canapes and top with a little cream cheese / ham / pineapple / tomato, or sprinkle with paprika pepper. Let your pizza brain get creative!
I’m not sure I could be bothered will all of this all of the time but it’s good to know as I too love the crisp perfection of hotel beds. It’s also well worth reading the comments after this article for yet more hints from readers.
This recipe for Runner Bean Pickles appeared in the recent series of River Cottage which focused on vegetarian dishes. I’m more or less repeating it here verbatim (original at the Channel 4 website) but it’s also worth saying that this quick pickling method appears to be worth trying with other veg. The secret is to shoosh the veg around in a plastic bag with some seasonings (salt being important for drawing out the vegetables’ natural juices), then press out as much air from the bag as you can and weigh down the contents with maybe something like a plate with a can on top. Wait a couple of hours and bobs-yer-uncle, quick pickle. I’m certainly going to give it a try.
Runner Bean Pickles
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp golden caster sugar
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
Pinch of chilli flakes
150g runner beans, destringed and cut into 1cm pieces on an angle
- Put all the dry ingredients into a plastic bag and shake to combine.
- Add the beans and give the bag a really good shake to ensure the beans are thoroughly coated in the spice mix. Roll the bag up to remove excess air, weight it down (as mentioned above) then set aside for about 2 hours.
- Before serving drain off the water that has been drawn from the beans.
This pickle is fresh and sharp and goes perfectly with cheese.