Saturday, January 2, 2010

Transylvanian Goulash - Trust me, this really is comforting and very good!


One of my favorite food bloggers that I visit, on a regular basis, is Mary of "One Perfect Bite".    Mary wrote on her blog, about this recipe, "Transylvania is a province in central Romania that's surrounded by the Transylvanian Alps and the Carpathian Mountains. If we are to believe the likes of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice, this plateau is also the ancestral home of vampires. While imagination should be allowed to soar, I wish the two of them, in the midst of all that Gothic angst, could have given a nod to Romanian cooking. I've held on to this recipe for quite a while now. It first appeared in "The Cooking of Vienna's Empire" by Joseph Wechsberg and it was featured in The New York Times in 2006. I didn't give the recipe a try until last week. My bad! This is absolutely delicious and I hope those of you who trust my opinion and recipes will give this a try."

When I read what Mary wrote about Transylvania, I was reminded of my six week trip throughout Europe back in the late 70's (yeah, I'm no Spring Chicken, anymore...) I traveled throughout Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania-- and I did spend time in Transylvania. I even visited "Dracula's Castle", which was really the castle of Count Vlad-- a very evil person, indeed. I loved the food, too because I am fond of paprika--so this recipe intrigued me. As far as trusting your opinions of recipes-- well, Mary, I'm not going to argue with you on that! After all, I made your Wasabi & Honey Glazed Salmon which was both healthy and delicious!  I bookmarked the recipe and I made this right before Christmas.


Pork Shoulder (Butt roast, which I think is an oxymoron) is a very affordable cut of meat. I paid about $7.00 for a 4-pound cut!  The beauty of braising is that you can buy very inexpensive cuts of meat, because it's going to cook long and slow-- which results in very tender meat.  The other key ingredient, for this recipe, is sauerkraut.  Now, I'm not a big fan of sauerkraut!  Of course, I love a good Reuben sandwich, but sauerkraut by itself.... it's not really my cup of tea (coming from a girl who has strong German roots). However...


...the recipe says to rinse it well, and then soak it in cold water, for about 20 minutes, to reduce the sourness. Sold!


To begin, chopped onion and garlic is cooked, just until tender. The seasoning is paprika, of course-- hence "Transylvanian" in the name of the recipe. D'oh!  I used a blend of sweet and hot paprika. Now, I was so temped to sear the pork before adding it to the cooked veggies and paprika. I love to sear, and I think it adds so much flavor. But, I wanted to stick close to the original recipe, because I trust Mary.


So, that bowl of soaking sauerkraut? Drain it, and squeeze out the excess water. Perfect.


We can't braise without liquid!  So I used some homemade chicken stock, tomato puree and then-- I decided to add some tomato paste-- because I love the richness of it. So, yeah, I diverted just a little bit from the recipe.  The sauerkraut is layered on top, then the liquid is poured on top, and some caraway seeds are sprinkled on.  I had to go somewhere, so I decided to transfer all of this to a slow cooker. Otherwise, the Dutch Oven goes into an oven at 250F for 3-3 1/2 hours.


I put this on low for 6 hours, and ran my errands in town. By the way, I love these slow cooker liners! They do make cleanup so much easier!


Six hours later... I spooned the pork and solids, with a slotted spoon, back into a big pot.  The juices went into a saucepan. Now, for the sauce...


Flour and heavy cream are whisked together (hey, only 1/2 cup of heavy cream, so that's not too naughty). This is whisked into the sauce and then it's ready to pour back to all the cooked meat and sauerkraut.


I have to say, that this smelled so "comforting"!  I gave this a taste, and I added just a little more tomato paste, some kosher salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Even though I used a little hot paprika, it wasn't too spicy at all!


I ended up making a little extra slurry of flour and water, to thicken the sauce-- which is how I like my stews to be.


Okay, it's ready to go! Mary didn't mention what she served this with, but I decided to make some creamy mashed potatoes.




That just sounded good, but I'd bet this would be good with egg noodles-- or even white or brown rice.


I will always love my mother's Austrian Goulash recipe, the best.  But, I liked this "Transylvanian" version. The pork was very, very tender!


We both loved the texture of the creamy mashed potatoes, with the sauce. Yes, it is very good! Craig had seconds...and, um, so did I!  This made a lot of food, so we ended up freezing a few portions for a work night when I come home, dragging my knuckles through the door.

My verdict:  This is a very easy recipe to make.  If you don't particularly like sauerkraut, I think you'll change your mind. I sure did!  The next time I make this, I will probably take the time to sear the meat, first. That takes a lot more work and patience, but somehow I think it might give the sauce an ever deeper flavor. I will let you know! The recipe is great, just as it is, though.  You can skip adding the tomato paste, but I'm glad that I did.


I am submitting this recipe to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, for her Sunday round up of Soups, Stews, Sandwiches or Salads for Souper Sunday!

Thanks, Mary, for inspiring to make this recipe. We loved it!  If you haven't visited "One Perfect Bite", please do so.  Her photos are beautiful, and she is equally lovely and very talented about cooking and baking. I am a big fan of hers!

The recipe is at the bottom of this post. If you are receiving my recipes via email, please click on the blog name (in blue) and jump to my post to print or view the recipes. Thank you!

From my kitchen to yours,



Transylvanian Goulash on Foodista


Transylvanian Goulash

This recipe was inspired by my blogger friend, Mary @ One ...

See Transylvanian Goulash on Key Ingredient.


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19 comments:

Ciao Chow Linda said...

This is just not fair to scroll through all those delicious photos at this hour of the morning when I'm staring at nothing but oatmeal.

Mary said...

Happy New Year, Debby. I hope it brings you continued health and even more happiness. Thanks so much for the wonderful review of Transylvanian goulash. Hugs...Mary

TKW said...

Debby, I'll say it again...you'd better watch out, because if my Mama meets her maker, my daddy is going to be on your doorstep with roses in hand...:)

Kim said...

Transylvanian Goulash really caught my attention!- LOL;D This does look really comforting and delicious. I also love the ease of using the slow cooker, but find, like you, that searing the meat first makes everything better.

Big Dude said...

That dish looks awesome to me - added it to my list of will have to try soon dishes.

kellypea said...

I grew up eating dishes like goulash, and I always marvel over the huge difference in the recipes. This version sounds wonderful.

Kate said...

Hmmm...there is a way of eating sauerkraut other than the traditional?! ....and I don't mean on a hotdog!

This has potential! I am printing....

Velva said...

This does look good! This is just the kind of dish that warms my body and satisfies my soul.

Debby, your blog posts are wonderful.

Donna-FFW said...

Each dish you make looks more amazing than the previous. This sounds fantastic, and I am a sauerkraut fan, I bet Id love this.

Mary has such wonderful recipes, as do you!

Monica H said...

I happen to like sauerkraut but only in small doses. This does look so comforting.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Oh, YUMM! It is 19 degrees in NY this morning, and this would be so warming and delicious for a Sunday dinner. The golden red color from the paprika is just beautiful!

Bryan said...

Wow! looks great, I think that sauerkraut will be a hard sell in my house, but my mouth is watering.

Debinhawaii said...

I love paprika and goulash--this looks amazing. Thanks for sending it to Souper Sundays!

foodcreate.com said...

That is a fabulous recipe! Perfect comfort food. Thank you for your post. I enjoy your website. Happy New Year!!!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Boy that looks so delicious. I wonder if you could have done without the cream and flour sauce.

If you cook anything out of your garden, I'd sure love to have you join our Grow Your Own roundup again!

Cheryl said...

I am going to have to make this, I am into easy these days! Happy New Year!

Cristie said...

Oh, I love sauerkraut. That seasoning sounds so wonderful. You've got me hooked.

MARY said...

Years ago a local restaurant served a dish called Transylvania Stew. It was my favorite of all time. But then they shut down and I was devastated. I've been looking for it ever since. Finally you have ended my search. I fixed this for two friends who are gourmet cooks and blew them away. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Mary,
What a lovely compliment. I'm so glad that you found the recipe you were looking for. Thanks for reminding me about this recipe. Cooler weather is just around the corner, so this recipe will have a return engagement.