Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Erdäpfelgulasch



This is what some would call comfort food. I’d rather call it winter food. A traditional Austrian dish: the “Erdäpfelgulasch”, which would be “Kartoffelgulasch” for my German friends (who might not know the Austrian word “Erdäpfel”, literally meaning “earth apples”). A wonderfully tasty Potato Goulash, for those who don’t speak neither German German nor Austrian German. Very down-to-earth, no-nonsense, cheap and easy to prepare.

You will have to use a lot of onion, which – together with the spices and herbs – will lend the dish its rich taste and make the sauce nice and thick. The onions must be choppedy-chopped to very tiny pieces. My mother has brought me one of those wonderful “onion hackers” (Zwiebelhacker – doesn't it just sound like a villain out of the “Grimm”-series?) last time she came to see me in Paris. This is what it looks like. It’s a real handy appliance; chops your onions in no time and helps you let off steam whenever you feel upset. Perhaps somewhat noisy, but better than yoga, let me tell you.

What you need: 
  • 8-10 big, mealy potatoes 
  • 20 g of paprika (I use 10 g of mild paprika and 10 g of spicy hot paprika; I’ve never been able to find the latter in French supermarkets and brought back several packets from Austria) 
  • 40 g of butter 
  • 6-7 big onions 
  • 1 spoonful of vinegar 
  • 1 spoonful of ground caraway seeds 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 1 spoonful of marjoram 
  • ¼ l of beef broth (you can use stock cubes, of course) 
  • Salt, pepper 
  • Optional: a can of white beans, 6 Frankfurter sausages (hot dog sausages), sour cream 
How to proceed: 
  • Chop your onions (use your onion hacker if you’ve got one). 
  • Peel the potatoes, cut them into cubes. 
  • Heat the butter in a big pot. 
  • Fry the onions until golden brown. 
  • Add the paprika. 
  • Stir, then deglaze with the vinegar. 
  • Pour the broth. 
  • Add the ground caraway seeds, the marjoram; press your garlic cloves. 
  • Add the potatoes. 
  • Cover your pot and boil until the potatoes are soft and mellow (approx. 25 minutes). You’d better taste them because time indications are always approximate. And we don’t want to eat crunchy potatoes, now, do we? 
  • Add the beans and the sausages (cut into small slices). 
  • You can add two or three spoonfuls of sour cream as well to achieve an even creamier sauce (I did without it). 
  • Cook for another 5-8 minutes. 
You can serve this dish simply with some bread. In Austria, we’d have a nice tankard or two of beer with it. But you can serve it with red wine, as well. Or a glass of water. It’s a very tasty dish and, believe me, once you’ve finished your plate, you’ll forget for quite a long time how hunger feels. Alright, alright, I confess, I had some cheese and a chocolate-pear-yogurt afterwards, but that’s because I’ve become quite a guzzler, don’t you know? Cheers!

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