A simple meat and veg dish should never bring back childhood memories of monotonous, dull weeknight dinners! The slow cooked tenderness of the meat and the tantalising coalescence of flavours within this hearty Hungarian style galloping goulash will blow that stigma right out the window! As well as containing a range of nutritional benefits, this troop pleaser has a fascinating history to bring a little dinner table culinary intellect to the family feast. When you're starting off your journey of healthy eating it may seem a bit daunting at first, but after you have the hang of using fresh ingredients and time saving tips cooking will become almost second nature.
Here are some tips on how to get started on a healthy eating plan.
The word goulash derives from the Hungarian word gulyas, meaning cattle stockmen or herdsmen. From the middle ages and well into the nineteenth century, the great Hungarian plain known as the Pusza was home to massive herds of cattle driven in tens of thousands to trade with Europe. It is believed that during the nights of these long journeys, the herdsmen would pick out the weaker animals to be slaughtered, cooking them in a large cauldron and combining them with vegetables to make a hearty stew. The large scale reforms of the Holy Roman Emperor and Hungarian King Joseph II after 1780 resulted in the Hungarian population seeking symbols of national identity to help assert independence. As the years rolled by, the recipes found their way to the peasant population, and during the end of the nineteenth century during a period of burgeoning national awareness, the goulash descended into the dining rooms of the wealthy, making it a highly fashionable meal all over the country, and a defining characteristic of Hungarian national identity.
Paprika, the signature ingredient of this hearty dish gives goulash its distinct red colour and didn’t actually become a part of the dish until the Turkish brought it in during their invasion of the Hungarian plain in the sixteenth century. Herdsmen who had contact with invaders got hold of the ingredient and used it to add flavour to their usual stew, and thus, Hungary adopted paprika as a national spice and the goulash we see today was born! We should be ever grateful for this wonderful exchange, as paprika is an ingredient high in cartenoids, responsible for its fiery red colour. Cartenoids act as antioxidants, promoting immune function and the protection against oxidative damage to cells. Studies have shown that individuals with a high concentration of cartenoids in their blood have a decreased risk of cancer and heart disease. If you're wondering about how to get the most out of your anti-oxidants try this yummy anti-oxidant salad.
Assuming you don’t stock a cauldron in your kitchen, this recipe engages the use of a trusty slow cooker. For more ideas on appliances for a healthy kitchen see my fave Tools of the Trade. I’ve been obsessed with my slow cooker lately and it’s so easy just to throw in the in the morning, and come home to an enticing intermingling of flavours and meat so tender you could cut it with a spoon. Nutritionally, slow cooking is a preferred method of cooking due to its prolonged use of lower temperatures. Animal cells within the meat are surrounded by a thin membrane that is easily dissolved by digestive juices, however, when cooked quickly and at high temperatures, this membrane will toughen, slowing digestion and impairing nutrient uptake.
Slow cooking breaks the cell walls in the plant and animal ingredients, allowing a significant uptake of vitamins and minerals into your body. The tenderization is an important factor in digestion and if you have digestive issues slow cooking is highly recommended. Whilst heat has an impact on the nutrient content of the ingredients, with slow cooking you can rest assured that almost all of the nutrients leeched into the water will be retained under the lid of the pot, and are consumed within the saucy goodness of this historically significant stew.
What are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking…
Goulash- Hungarian Style
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 red capsicum, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 750 gms stew meat
- 3 turnips cubed
- 1 TBS lemon rind
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 2 TBS sweet Hungarian paprika
- 2 Cups beef stock
- 1 tsp. caraway seeds
- 1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
- Melt Olive oil in saucepan and add capsicum, garlic and onions.
- Cook until onions are translucent.
- Add paprika, caraway and toast in the pan on medium heat for a few minutes.
- Add beef, turnips lemon and tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil and then simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Can be thickened with coconut milk if required but the turnips will help thicken also.
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