Keeping it real … Real Ale
If there is one thing I learnt about Czech cuisine while visiting Pilsner Urquell brewery, it is that they love a lot of meat! Meat, with a side of meat and potatoes washed down with several glasses of Pilsner Urquell. This recipe is not 100% a Czech recipe, it is more of a Czech inspired goulash that I have put together with information I was told over the 24 hours in Czech Republic. Unlike a Hungarian goulash, the Czech goulash has a much thicker sauce and is far from stew/soup consistency. It can be served with dumplings, potatoes or even rice, I have made some dumplings to go with this Czech inspired goulash, I saw sliced dumplings on all the menus throughout my time there so I wanted to make dumplings in a shape so I could slice them. I searched for a few different Czech style dumpling recipes and decided with this one as it was so different to what I have done before, using the cut up bread and kneading it into the dough, although traditionally there would be bacon and onion in the dumpling. Marjoram is important in a Czech goulash and I personally think its a great herb anyways so I may have been a bit heavier handed then others would be. Any decent stewing beef would be good for this recipe but I decided with skirt only for the fact it was the cut of meat I really enjoyed in Čestr Restaurant. And of course the finishing touch of my Czech inspiration was including the bottle of Pilsner Urquell into the goulash. This recipe is for two greedy portions, if you need to cook for more than just double the ingredients.
Pilsner Urquell Goulash
Chop your onions and fry in a pan with the sugar till they start to caramelize, add garlic, chopped chilli and the slices of red pepper into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes.
At the same time in an additional frying pan, toast the caraway seeds till you can smell them in the air, around 3 minutes. Remove from pan and mash them up till well ground and place in the onions.
Cut your beef into strips and quickly brown off the meat in the frying pan you toasted the caraway seeds in.
While doing this add all the paprika, marjoram, tomato puree and thyme to the onions and give it a good mix. Once done stir in the beef and finish off by mixing in the Pilsner Urquell. Season well with lots of pepper and a bit of salt.
Bring to boil and then place the goulash in a slow cooker (on high) or cook covered on a very low heat for as long as possible but for at least 2 hours.
You want the goulash sauce to be thicker rather than a runny stew, if you need to thicken up the sauce then mix the cornflour with a splash of warm water then mix till there is no lumps and stir into the goulash.
Once finished cooking serve with the sliced dumplings and a cold glass of Pilsner Urquell.
Dumplings (makes two)
In a large bowl whisk the all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl mix the egg yolk and milk. Pour the mixture into the flour and work till dough. Once worked cover the bowl and leave to sit for an hour.
Cut the bread into small pieces about half an inch in size.
After the hour knead the bread into the dough, shape into two small dumplings in the shape of a lemon.
Place in a saucepan of boiling water on high heat and boil for 10 mins, you can check to see if the dumpling is done but cutting in half.
Once cooked, remove and slice into small slices and arrange around your plate before slopping on the goulash.
Disclaimer – My trip to the Czech Republic where I got my ideas for this recipe was completely funded by Pilsner Urquell. The bottled used for this recipe I bought myself from Morrisons.