Follow-up to Hungarian Goulash

Yesterday we looked at a recipe for Goulash. At the bottom of the recipe there were some questions for you to complete. I said we would go through them today. Let’s see how everyone came out on them…

1. If you plan to serve dinner at 6 p.m., about what time should you start cooking?

Since you need to let the Goulash cook for 1 1/2 hours, it should be ready to cook at about 4:30 p.m. However, you need to see how long it will take to:

cut the meat

dice the onion

find and measure the seasonings

open two cans and measure amount

So, depending on how fast you are or whether you have a helper, this may require 20 to 30 minutes. Add that to the amount and certainly by 4:00 p.m. you should be in the kitchen getting out the ingredients and finding the pan and utensils. The potatoes still need to be peeled, but that can be done while the dish has started cooking. Or, you can scrub the potatoes really well and use them without peeling them. Either way, cut them up and leave them in cold water until ready to add. When you’re ready, drain off water and add to dish.

2. What is the first step the recipe suggests in preparing the goulash?

The recipe says to “brown pieces of meat in hot fat”. What it doesn’t tell you is that the meat needs to be cut up in pieces first, as noted in the ingredient listing. This is where you, or quite possibly a helper, gets out the cutting board and knife and cuts the meat in small pieces, about 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. The vegetable oil goes in the pan and should be medium hot but not smoking. An adult needs to add the meat to the pan. It is very hot and dangerous and will sizzle some and may spatter when the meat is added. As the meat cooks, it will brown. So, “browning the meat” is the first step the recipe says but it is not the first step in preparing the dish.

3. What are the suggested seasonings?

Seasonings add flavor to food. Here we have salt, pepper, and paprika. Paprika is a seasoning made from the grinding of dried sweet red bell peppers (Capsicum annuum), but it is much less spicy than ordinary red pepper. It adds a nice, red color to dishes and helps to improve their flavor. You can Google “paprika” and see what the peppers look like.

4. How long should the potatoes cook?

Thirty minutes (that was easy!). Do you know why you wouldn’t put them in at the beginning? Yes, they would cook too much and get mushy.

5. If there are four people in the family, would there be enough to serve this number of people?

Yes, for an average family, this should certainly be sufficient.

There we have it – a main dish ready to eat for supper, or do you call it dinner? Either way is correct.

What else would you serve with the meal? You have meat and vegetables (potatoes and tomatoes). You could cut up some carrot sticks, or perhaps have baby carrots, and serve them raw.  Maybe add a bread -  some fruit for dessert and you have a tasty, hot, and nutritious meal.

Thanks for helping me figure out this recipe! As you can see, a recipe is only an outline, or a plan, but several steps have to work together to get the desired result.