Tuesday, 25 November 2008
A few weeks ago I received a lovely package of goodies from Hungary and Germany courtesy of Aniko at Paprika meets Kardamom via Stephanie's Blogging by Mail event. Aniko was sweet enough to send me a few of her family's traditional recipes which feature some of the ingredients she'd sent me, and we were immediately taken with the one for pumpkin goulash. Goulash is one of The Scientist's specialities, which he has vegetarianised since living with me. I'd never had it before tasting his so I didn't know exactly what characterised it. His version is a tomato-based vegetable stew (or vegetable and meat in its original incarnation) with paprika in it. We were surprised to find that Aniko's didn't have tomato in it, but a glance at a well-known source I would never endorse my students using shows that it's not a vital ingredient. In fact, according to said source, goulash is a meat and vegetable stew or soup which includes paprika and then a variety of other optional ingredients one of which is tomato. So Aniko's goulash wasn't goulash as we had known it, but we were game to try her more authentic version.
The pumpkin Aniko uses is patisson which isn't one I've come across, but the picture she included shows quite a flat and flower-shaped gourd. I think we'd call it a patty squash. I usually cook with butternut squash or another small one like acorn - or even the cutely and appropriately-named Munchkin squash. When I made this goulash I used a kabocha squash which I found at one of my favourite farm shops and which I'd never had before either. It had quite a different texture from our usuals - not quite as compact or soft, and the flesh was a little chunkier. Anyway, the goulash was pretty quick to make and the only change I made from Aniko's original was that I used yogurt instead of creme fraiche. It tasted really different from The Scientist's goulash as it was yogurty not tomatoey but we both liked it very much. Another time we will use more paprika - we're used to the smoked stuff and so I was cautious in how much I used and it could definitely have had a little more. Thank you Aniko for sending us both a new twist on an old favourite dish AND the keynote ingredient to make it!
Pastiszonporkolt - Pumpkin goulash (from Aniko of Paprika meets Kardamom)
1 medium Patisson squash, or other hard-fleshed squash (I used kabocha)
2 tsp ground paprika (sweet)
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
100g creme fraiche (I used plain yogurt)
1 tbsp plain flour
1. Halve and peel the squash and cut into 2cm cubes. Peel the onion and dice them.
2. In a pan heat the oil, add the diced onions and saute it for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the paprika and stir well. Put back on the heat and immediately add the squash. Don't let the paprika heat for too long or it will get bitter.
3. Season with salt and pepper (Aniko notes that patisson squash needs quite a bit of salt). Add enough water to almost cover the squash. Put on the lid and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes. It will change in texture when it is done (I tested it for softness with a knife)
4. Mix the creme fraiche and flour. Stir into the goulash and let it cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens (I did this but we thought it actually probably didn't need the flour which you could taste a little in the sauce). Season to taste. Serve immediately.
Aniko's serving suggestieon: with potatoes and pickles.