Yesterday I gave you a beet stew. Today, it’s a beef stew!
I should start out by saying that as a child, this was not my favorite meal. It was, and remains, humble. But now, as a very busy mother, I can completely understand why this dish was in my mother’s arsenal. It’s cheap (relative to other fall-apart beef dishes like short ribs, at least), beyond easy, no fussy ingredients (bay leaves is the most exotic), and now with the help of a slow cooker (something my mother only discovered after we all left home), it’s a ‘fix it and forget it.’
A couple of months ago, I had a big piece of meat that was less than tender. The only thing I could think of doing without having to research tenderizing options was to throw it in the slow cooker, the appliance that could probably make leather into something smooth and delicious. Then I though I might as well replicate the old goulash. If anything, I knew Adam would enjoy it because it certainly falls into the hearty man food category. For Otto, I chopped it up into bits and he was all over it. And to my surprise, I found it to be quite comforting. And now it’s something we make every few weeks.
My mother’s goulash always had just peeled and diced potatoes, and thick carrot slices. I decided to fancy it up just a teensy bit. I also include quartered mushrooms, and parsnips. And because I’m picky about the texture of potatoes, I go for small Yukon Gold potatoes, which I find to be smoother and a bit more flavorful. It’s a bit odd that you don’t need anything other than salt, pepper, and a few bay leaves to season this, but what I realized was that if you make sure you have the best, freshest ingredients, that’s really all you need for this. But by all means, experiment with spices/wine/stock/etc. and make it your own. I, however, will be sticking with this one. It works for us–and I’m sure it will for the next 18 years or so. Continue reading