Monday, March 17, 2014

Beef Paprikesh

Warm, fluffy dumplings topped with hot, tender beef smothered in a thick, spicy sauce clinging to every fiber. This is Beef Paprikesh, and it's one of my favorite meals. It's absurdly simple, too. Brown a pound of stew beef in butter, then cook down a minced onion in the juices left from the beef. Toss the beef, onions, a few tablespoons of Paprika, and a couple cups of water together in the pot and let simmer until reduced to thick and hearty perfection. Spoon over simple dumplings or egg noodles and devour. Fuss-free, flavorful, and cheap, this is great for college students, young couples, large families, and anyone who likes food.
Usually, I leave my Paprikesh there and enjoy it. But, this last time I made the dish, I had a few extra ingredients I decided to use up- namely: white wine, beef stock, and tomato paste.

Fair warning to my Catholic friends: This is not something you'll want to make on a Friday- or a Thursday if you like leftovers. This is a lovely, hearty dish, but it makes it tough to remember Lenten Fridays.

My apologies for the terrible picture. 
It's what I was able to get and I wanted to show you the texture of the sauce.

Fancy Pants Paprikesh

2 Tbs Butter
1 lb Stew Beef
1 White Onion, minced
1/2 cup White Wine, more or less.
2-3 Tbs Paprika, according to taste
2 heaping Tbs Tomato Paste
2 cups Beef Stock
Water as needed (about 3/4 cup, according to preference)
Salt and pepper

In a pot, brown the the beef in the butter very well. Remove and set aside. Fry the onion in the beef drippings and a dash of the white wine until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the beef back to the pot and add the paprika and tomato paste and one cup of stock. Stir well, bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer, letting it reduce for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When reduced, add the other cup of beef stock and allow to reduce another 15 minutes. When that's reduced down, add a quarter cup of the wine and three-fourths cup of water. Now, stir well, scraping up the bottom and reduce one more time! Once that's reduced, you're almost done. You should have a very thick paste and the beef should be perfectly coated in it. Add a little more wine to thin the texture to your taste, and stir it all together over heat. What ever wine is left is yours to enjoy according to the laws of Cook's Ransom.
Spoon the beef over a bowl of thick noodles, dumplings, a chunk of bread and butter, or potatoes. 
Voila! Fancy Pants Paprikesh!

I highly suggest this to everyone still experiencing cold from our ridiculously long winter. I suggest it to everyone else as well, but this just fits the bill for a chilly, stormy evening and makes the cold a little easier to put up with.

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