What better on a chilly day than a plate of steaming hot beef stew with light, fluffy dumplings? My super-hero father decided to make goulash for us recently and when the first recipe he tried didn’t work out (go figure—it asked for a quarter pound of paprika), down the drain it went (just the base, thank goodness), and back to the drawing board went dad.
The recipe we did end up with dad pulled from one of his thick recipe binders, with his own notes from a Wolfgang Puck Food Network show. The dumpling recipe comes from my friend Elizabeth who brought it back with her from a summer in Prague. The combination is a knock-out. Rich, flavorful, spicy beef stew balanced with light dumplings.
Beef Goulash with Dumplings Recipe
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups sliced onions)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
- 1 Tbsp caraway seeds, toasted and ground
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon spicy Hungarian paprika
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh marjoram or oregano (or 1 Tbsp of dried)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 1/2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes (trimmed of excess fat)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
1 Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with sugar, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are browned and caramelized, about 20 minutes. If the onions at any point look like they are drying out in the pan, lower the heat. Add the minced garlic and ground toasted caraway seeds and cook a minute more.
2 Sprinkle with the sweet and spicy paprikas and toss to coat. Stir in the marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook for another minute, until fragrant.
3 Stir in the tomato paste. Add the vinegar and stock and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cubed beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring the whole mixture to a boil on high heat, then lower the heat to low to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is falling apart tender, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
4 To prepare the dumplings, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Combine with the milk and melted butter, mixing lightly. After the stew has cooked until tender in step 3, drop the dumpling batter by (heaping) teaspoonfuls into the simmering stew. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
Once you have covered the pan, do not uncover while the dumplings are cooking!In order for them to be light and fluffy, they must steam. If you uncover the pan, the steam will escape and the dumplings will boil instead. After 15 minutes, test the dumplings with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the dumplings are done.
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