Books, Cooking, Food

Eat This While You Read That: Chris Nuttall

Chris is a bright star in the Indie scene, with dozens of novels released in the few years since his writing career began. When I asked Chris if he’d like to take part, and assured him that all I needed was the name of a dish, I didn’t want him to take time from his busy schedule to worry about a recipe, he came close to stumping me with a single word.

Goulash

I grew up with goulash, and I knew that’s not what he meant. I sat here blinking at the idea of ‘shudder’ spag and elbow noodles casserole, until the light dawned. I’m an author, I needed to research, darnit! Off to google, stat!

While I was working on the true meaning of goulash, I discovered that it has a long and interesting history. I opted to go with the Hungarian style goulash, and keep it as close to the origins as possible. This was a herder’s dish. Goats, cows… the herders would put meat in the pot in the morning, along with what they had, and in the evening, bring the long, slow-simmered broth and meat back to a boil before adding the world’s simplest pasta to it. Then it was time for a warm, hearty meal as night gathered and the chill fell around them. This was what I was trying to achieve for Chris’s goulash, not the weird American version. Other than not being spicy enough, and not having as much pasta, the First Reader remarked that it was much closer to German goulash than anything else he’s had in the States.

One thing about this meal, it leaves you with plenty of time to curl up with a book. Just keep a half an eye on your herd while you read, you don’t want them wandering off. The nice thing about Chris’s books, you have choices. He can offer fun space opera, military science fiction, or fantasy. I’d recommend The Empire’s Corps if you like Mil SF or Schooled in Magic if you prefer lighter fantasy.

Once you’ve chosen your books, it’s time to begin. I recommend starting in the morning, and leaving this in the slow cooker for most of the day, then finishing in a stock pot or dutch oven on the stove top.

Gulyas with Csipetke

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs goat or beef, cut into chunks
  • 4 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1-2 cups diced fresh pepper (I used Anaheim, Poblano would be nice for more heat)
  • 1 can diced tomato (or about 1-2 diced fresh tomato)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 packet Goulash seasoning (I used Alba)
  • 1/4 c oil
  • 1 can beef consomme
  • 1 can water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Csipetke
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • In a cast iron skillet heat the oil on medium high. Add the diced onion and saute until translucent.
  • Transfer the onion to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon to leave the oil.
  • Put the goat (or what have you) into the oil and brown it on all sides, then add the spices and turn to coat. Sprinkle on the flour and fry until it's all coated.
  • Spoon the meat into the slow cooker. Deglaze the skillet with the water, having put the consomme into the slow cooker.
  • Put all the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker and stir well. Set the cooker for 6-8 hours, depending.
  • In the evening, put the flour, egg, and salt into the stand mixer with the bread hook on. Stir until dough forms a tight ball. Dough will be hard. If dough will not ball up, add water a teaspoon at a time until it does. Allow to knead for about five minutes, then cover and allow to rest at least 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the goulash to a heavy pan on the stovetop and bring to a boil.
  • While the goulash is coming up to temp, roll the pasta out to about 1/4 in thick, and pinch fingernail-sized pieces off of it. Put these on a floured plate to keep them from sticking together. When the dough is all pinched out, put the pasta in the goulash and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve!
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    http://www.cedarwrites.com/eat-this-while-you-read-that-chris-nuttall/

    I chose to make this with goat, and the halal market where I bought it basically cut a goat leg into chunks for me. Which meant there were a lot of bones in my finished product. Also, given the spice level, the meat could have been anything and it wouldn’t have mattered. So doing this with stew beef would work just as well, and more cheaply.

    Goat Goulash
    Goat Goulash
    sauteed onions
    Frying onions, and a little thyme
    Browning the goat. Lots of bone and connective tissue in this.
    Browning the goat. Lots of bone and connective tissue in this.
    Spiced and browned meat
    Browned meat with spices sprinkled over it. Frying the spices releases their flavors.

     

    pinch pasta
    csipetke means pinch, which is how this pasta is made.

    The index page for ETWYRT is here. 

     

    3 thoughts on “Eat This While You Read That: Chris Nuttall

    1. When I was in Hungary, our guide said the name of the grey cattle is “Gulyas”. So when you ask for “goulash” you are asking for cow. The breed is classified as “an edible heritage.”

      I fought off giggles as the guide explained they were very hardy animals – they could stay out in the paddock all winter, even when it got cold!

    2. My maternal grandmother was from Pecs, which is south sort of from Budapest. Her seasoning was paprika, and hot paprika (these are not the same). Assuredly, she used potatoes, not noodles.

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