April 17, 2021
beef goulash

Instant Pot Beef Goulash

beef goulash
own work

This recipe has become my go-to for a stew-like recipe where I generally have all the ingredients on hand.  The family likes it and, as you can see here, I had already started to eat when I realized I wanted to take a picture.

The basic recipe goes like this:

2 pounds beef stew meat

1 medium onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups beef stock

1/2 cup tomato paste

2 tbps Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika

Put everything into the instant pot; cook on manual/high for 35 minutes, done.

Comments:

I’ve used chuck steak/roast and round steak, and while the chuck is better, the round steak is an acceptable compromise.  Let’s face it: some of these recipes say to trim all the “separable” fat from the meat, which is a huge nuisance.  Pot-roast-y recipes have you separate the fat before making a gravy and that works OK, I guess, but making a stew-like recipe and having tons of fat just icks me out.

The “beef stock” is always just 1/2 cups water with beef soup base.

The tomato paste — well, I’m just going to observe that I always try to keep the rest of the 6 oz can of tomato paste for another recipe, then end up throwing it out.  This time around I didn’t even bother with trying to keep the rest; it’s most of the can, anyway.

The paprika?  I’ll be honest: I just use the paprika you get at Aldi.  It’s just labelled “paprika” — not “Hungarian.”  Not “sweet.” And not “Hungarian sweet paprika.”  Would I find that buying the right kind of paprika would make all the difference?  Maybe.  What do you think?  I have a recipe which calls for smoked paprika where I do spend the extra cash on smoked paprika specifically, but I haven’t shopped for special paprika for this recipe.

I also cook this for 45 instead of 35 minutes.  Does it make a difference?  I think it helps when I’m using round steak.  I also cut the meat into bite-sized pieces if it happens that I’ve gotten a pre-cut “stew meat.”  And I make a slurry (2 tbsp. cornstarch and enough water to mix it up) to stir in at the end to thicken it slightly.

This is meant to go over noodles, but I’ve served it with whatever I happen to have, or nothing at all.  Tonight it was overcooked semi-mashed cauliflower for my husband and I and leftover macaroni and cheese for the kids.  And, again, it’s not especially fancy; it really shouldn’t even take all that long to get in the pot (except that tonight I was fighting with a dull knife and a lot of fat on the meat) but it makes everyone in the family happy.  And — even though my oldest is now away at college — 2 pounds doesn’t produce very much in the way of next day’s leftovers anyway.

Finally, the recipe’s origin:  back when I first got the Instant Pot, I took a trip over to Barnes & Noble and picked out, out of their available choices, The Ultimate Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Ella Sanders.  As it turned out, this is one of a very small number of recipes that I ended up using regularly.  As it also turned out, many of the recipes just didn’t seem to match up with their photos, and, finally, looking at the copyright page, I figured out why:  they were stock photos.  Then I looked up the book on Amazon and discovered that it has a twin, a book written just before the appearance of the Instant Pot on the market, with identical recipes written for traditional pressure cookers, called The Best Pressure Cooker Recipes on the Planet:  200 Triple-Tested, Family-Approved, Fast & Easy Recipes.  (Same publisher, same photos.)  Does Ella Sanders even exist?  What about Debra Murray?  Inquiring minds want to know.)   Did the staff at the publisher come up with all the recipes, or did they pull the recipes themselves off the internet as well?

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