A pork and sauerkraut stew for the New Year… New Book Random Recipe Challenge from Dom at Belleau Kitchen.

The book is Austrian Specialties – possibly the most obscure cookbook I have ever bought: a pocket size, glossy paged book that looks to be a relic of the 1970s, but, in fact, was published in 2003. The book boasts to be a culinary tour through all the Austrian provinces and features recipes like bread soup, wine soup, deep fried vegetables – the photo shows a plate of golden lumps in various sizes; a carrot, a mushroom and a broccoli floret each cut in half to show the vegetable encased in batter. There is smoked ham baked in a sourdough case. There are seven different recipes for dumplings. Several of the recipes end with ‘F.Y.I’ and historical information of the dish.

I bought this little gem of a book at the Boxing day book fair in Alexandra, Central Otago. It was 10am and 26° degrees. As we entered the town hall there was the musty smell of old books, and probably slightly sweaty patrons. The cookbook section was full of New Zealand classics like the Edmonds and every edition of Alison Holst, as well as an abundance of microwave cookbooks. But the $2 Austrian Specialties caught my eye; I was hoping to recreate the wonderful meals I had eaten in a tavern in Innsbruck with the giant pretzel wreath hanging from the ceiling and jester characters painted on the walls.

I opened the book to page 36 for the random recipe: Szegediner Goulash (and that is the English translation.) Despite the somewhat antiquated appearance of the book, the recipe was easy to follow and produced a surprisingly delicious meal. Sweet paprika, onions, sauerkraut and sour cream seemed to mellow together in a slow, gentle simmer but, when eaten, delivered small bursts of sweet and sour. There is texture and creaminess in this dish.

We served our goulash with mashed potatoes and drank a dry Riesling. All we needed was an Apfelstrudel for dessert!

Szegediner Goulash
Or Pork and Sauerkraut Stew

approx. 750grams loin or shoulder of pork, we used pork sirloin steaks
4 medium onions
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
2tbsp shortening, we used a dash of olive oil plus a knob of butter
2 cups white veal or beef stock, we used beef
1tsp sweet paprika powder
approx. 450 grams sauerkraut
1 cup sour cream
salt/pepper

Rinse pork under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 2cm cubes.
Peel onion and garlic, chop finely. Melt butter/olive oil in a large pot or casserole dish. Brown pork over a “lively” heat, stirring often. Remove meat from pot into an oven proof dish and place in a warm oven.
Cook onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add paprika and let cook for a few minutes more. Return meat to the pot and half of the beef stock. Simmer in open pot at a low heat to reduce the liquid.
Drain and rinse sauerkraut. Once liquid has reduced, about 20mins, add sauerkraut to meat with the remaining stock. Stir well. Continue to simmer at a low heat for 30-40 minutes until pork is tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir through sour cream and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with potato dumplings or mashed potatoes.

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