Sunday, October 16, 2011

Recipe: Hungarian Spiced Beef and Cabbage Soup

Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart. – Thomas Fuller

I used leftover roast but you can just as easily use freshly browned stew beef.
This little number came about because I had leftover beef. If you saw yesterday’s post, you can remember I inadvertently thawed out two pot roasts. They obviously had to be dealt with.

I pan seared and roasted both, but that still meant I was left with a full roast that hadn’t been touched. There are a lot of “usual suspects” to use up leftover beef, but I wanted something different.

This recipe is a marriage of two recipes. The first was a North American version of Beef and Cabbage Soup that had apples and potatoes but not much in the way of spices. It sounded good but a little boring.

Paprika. Photo: Wiki CC
In came the Hungarians. There is a traditional Hungarian beef and cabbage soup (with an unpronounceable name… for me) and exactly the spices I was looking for. So with a little thought and a few crossed fingers I was off to the kitchen.

The most common spice we in North America associate with Hungarian cuisine is paprika. Paprika is the dried product of capsicum (bell) and hot peppers, which are sometimes smoked. Paprika peppers are unusually rich in vitamin C. Much of the vitamin C is retained in paprika, which contains more vitamin C by weight than lemon juice. Paprika is also high in antioxidants.

The word paprika is derived from the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian word for pepper. Paprika is used with almost any protein including pork, beef, chicken and even fish. It imparts a reddish hue in much the same way that turmeric does yellow.

This recipe has hints of sweet and sour, plenty of paprika and cumin, and bits of potato and apples for good measure. All in all a well rounded meal.

Some chefs never eat much of what they cook because by the time the dish is ready they’re sick of it. I went back for seconds of this recipe. This was delicious and will definitely be made again!

Hungarian Spiced Beef and Cabbage Soup
Prep: 10 min  |  Cook:  35 min  |  Serves 6
Just before being covered to cook for 25 minutes.
1 tbsp butter
1 lg onion
1 lb beef, cut into 1/2 cubes (raw or pre-cooked)
2 medium potatoes, cubed
3 medium tomatoes, cubed
2 firm apples, like Granny Smith (or any pie apple)
1-1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups water + 2 beef bouillon cubes (or 2 cups good beef broth)
1-1/2 tsp cracked black pepper 
1-1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 small hot finger pepper
1/2 lb sliced green cabbage (about 1/2 a small head)

Heat the butter in a dutch oven. Fry the onion in the butter until it begins to soften. 

While the onion is frying cut the beef into 1/2” pieces. You can use leftover roast or fresh beef. If using fresh, sauté with the onion until browned.

Peel and dice the potatoes. Add to the beef and onions. Cube the tomatoes and add to the pot.

Peel and slice the apples as if you were making a pie. Add in with the other ingredients.

Add the tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, water, bouillon cubes and spices. Stir to mix well. 

Slice the cabbage into 1/2 inch wide slices and cut once to shorten the pieces. The cabbage should not be as thin as coleslaw. 

Stir into the pot.

Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

Taste and add salt if desired.


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