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.
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.
- 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
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.