I had so much fun at our family Oktoberfest, this Saturday-- though, I cooked for hours.
For heaven's sake! No, those aren't my real "knoedel's"! It's a printed vest!
I have several recipes to share with you, but today, I'm starting with the star of the show-- Austrian Goulash and Semel Knoedel. This is a dish that I have never seen in a German restaurant in the United States. It's a dish that is very common in Southern Germany and Austria. Think of this as a beef stew, with a rich tomato sauce that is seasoned with paprika and some caraway seeds. My favorite way of enjoying this dish is with semel knoedel (KA-NEW-DEL). The dumpling is cut in half, and into bite-size pieces to soak up the gravy. Heaven! My second favorite way is to serve this with spaetzle.
I like to use two thinly sliced onions, which is a perfect job for my mandoline.
Hungarian Hot Paprika is a key ingredient for this sauce. I found it, easily, at my local grocery store.
The aromatics are hot paprika, sweet paprika, sliced garlic lemon zest, caraway seeds, kosher salt & pepper, tomato paste and tomato sauce. The key to this dish is to sear the meat to leave lots of brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Later, I'll deglaze all of that with chicken stock.
If you haven't had success with searing meat, here's a quick review on how to do it:
You will need a large Dutch oven with a lid for best results. Add just enough olive oil to coat the pan and turn the heat high enough to make the oil shimmer, but not smoke.
Pat the meat dry and dredge in flour, seasoned with kosher salt & cracked pepper.
Add one piece of meat to the hot oil to make sure that it sizzles. Add the remaining meat, without crowding the pan and sear for about 3–4 minutes per side.
You want a golden crust that will give the gravy great flavor.
Cook the meat in batches, if necessary and set aside in a bowl—to collect the juice.
Look at all that flavor on the bottom of the pan!
Save the juices from the meat-- it's more flavor for the sauce
When all the meat is seared, turn the heat to medium and add a little more olive oil to the pan and cook the onion until tender—3–4 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook till fragrant—30 seconds or so.
Add the tomato paste and paprika, and cook for 1–2 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, caraway seeds, lemon zest and chicken stock and stir well.
- Return the beef and the juice to the pot.
- Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes and taste for seasoning. Adjust as necessary. If the sauce is too thick, thin with a little more chicken stock or water until it is the consistency of a gravy.
- Simmer for 2 hours, or you can use a slow cooker for 4–6 hours.
This tureen came from my great-grandmother-- it's over 100 years old and I love it!
This stew tastes even better if made one day in advance. Serve or buttered egg noodles or homemade spaetzle or Bavarian Bread Dumplings—recipes can be found by clicking on the recipe name.
German recipes I will be sharing with you over the next few days:
Bavarian Semel Knoedel
Mutti's Famous German Potato Salad (seriously, she sold out of it everyday at her deli)
Bavarian Plum Tart with fresh whipped cream
Chairve (cream cheese spread)
My recipe for Bavarian Red Cabbage, perfected is already posted:
I realized, last night, that I have always made these recipes from memory-- just the way my mother taught me. This is the first time I've measured and tried to create recipes for anyone who might want to try Bavarian recipes. How I wish my mother was alive to see this. These recipes bring back to many fond memories. My two brothers, niece and my son enjoyed it so much-- and that makes all those hours of standing in a kitchen worth all the effort. We spent the rest of the evening remembering my mother's life during WWII and her adventures in Bavaria at that time. We are all storytellers around a table full of good food and beer!
My husband deserves a special hug for helping me. I realized that I didn't take one picture of him! Sorry, Sweetie! At least you were in German food heaven-- which I know he loves. He even puts up with my goofy siblings, but we always have fun.
From my mother's heritage to your kitchen,