Goulash – the way my grandmother made it

Tastes just like my grandmother's

This is how my grandmother, and my mum, cooked goulash. Most people think goulash should be cooked with paprika, my grandmother didn’t, she cooked with a limited selection of herbs and spices, but there was never anything left on anyone’s plate. For the sake of authenticity I’ve quoted the ingredients she used at the time, there are healthier options nowadays. She was never specific about exact quantities; experiment with what roughly feels right.

Enough for 4

450g of chuck or braising steak

1 large onion

3 decent size tomatoes

Cooking fat (or you can use cooking oil)

A couple of bay leaves

A few whole cloves

A few whole black peppercorns

Large pinch of salt

Some water, as to how much, use your judgement

Dice the steak into cubes, not too big, not too small, I always reckon that the distance between the tip of my thumb and the first knuckle looks about right. Slice up the onion. Heat the fat, or oil, in a pan. It’s the right temperature when you can drop in a bit of the onion it starts to gently sizzle. Put the meat and onion into the pan together. Cook until the meat browns and the onion starts to soften and appear transparent. Chop the tomatoes and add them, giving the mixture a good stir. After a few minutes add some water, just a cupful to begin with. Chuck in the bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and salt. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and put a lid on the pan. Leave to simmer on a really low heat for a couple of hours, check occasionally to see if more water needs adding. Towards the end, thicken the sauce by mixing a teaspoon of flour with a little water until it has the consistency of single cream and then carefully stir it in. Serve with plain boiled potatoes, or new potatoes in their skins, and a green salad. Make sure you have a thick slice of crusty white bread on hand to mop up the sauce. Enjoy!

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