Sunday, August 30, 2009

Goulash alla Triestina - Beef Stew Trieste Style

After years of reading about the dishes of different regions of Italy, I have learned that there are dishes instantly identified with a city -- the black risotto of Venezia , the fettucine all'Alfredo of Roma, the tortellini of Bologna and the goulash of Trieste. This melt in your mouth stew preparation with a dense wine-tomato sauce made sweet by onions is one my husband and I instantly fell in love with. The secret to a good stew is in the long, slow cooking. After browning the meat, this will cook all by itself, needing only an occasional stir. I love dishes such as this that are simple to prepare and fill the house with mouth-watering aromas while they slowly cook. This is nice served with slices of fried polenta. My very American husband enjoys it best served over egg noodles.

The Ingredients Needed to Make this Dish:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds stew meat, cut in about 1-inch pieces
2 large onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups dry full-bodied wine (I am not a fan of Merlot, but like it used in this dish)
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in puree (I prefer Muir Glen) - Again I have used crushed over can whole and put through a food mill. Use either one you choose.
1 1/2 cups meat broth, preferably homemade (50% less salt canned beef broth can be substituted)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the meat and cook, stirring, until it is lightly browned on all sides, perhaps 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate, reduce the heat to medium/medium high and add the onions.

Cook and stir until the onions are lightly golden, 4 to 5 minutes.

Return the meat to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Add the paprika, bay leaves, and vinegar, and stir once or twice. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it is reduced by half, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and 1 cup of the meat broth and mix well. Cover the skillet, leaving it slightly askew, and reduce heat to low. Simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat can be cut with a fork, stirring a few times. If the sauce dried too much during cooking, add some more meat broth.

The stew served over egg noodles. This serves 4 to 6 people, depending on size of appetites.

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