Beef Meatball Goulash With Rice

Originating from medieval Hungary, Goulash is a deep, rich, belter of a dish. Back in the 9th century goulash was eaten by Hungarian shepherds. They would take cooked, seasoned meat and dry it in the sun to preserve it. Then they would store it in bags made from sheep stomachs. When they wanted to eat it all they would have to do was add water to the bag and they had a meal.

In terms of ingredients I can’t say how close this was to the traditional dish. For sure it would have used paprika (Hungarian paprika is renowned to be some of the best in the world). Not only does it give lots of flavour, it adds that deep red colour that makes it so appealing.

The use of fresh herbs really kick this one up a notch. Those rich flavours are contrasted with the freshness of the parsley. 

Red Onion, chop it into thin half moons

Green pepper, slice it as thin as you can

Garlic, grate it

Parsley, roughly chop it

Cook the onion and pepper till soft in a pan with some oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once soft add half of the garlic, dried thyme and ground coriander. Also add all of the paprika.

Cook this mix for a couple more minutes and add the tomato purée and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then add the stock pot and water. Mix it all up, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.

While that is simmering, put the basmati rice in a pot and add 500ml water. Bring to the boil and then pop a lid on the pan, lower the heat to medium and leave for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the pan from the heat and leave the lid on till you are ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking, put the mince into a bowl with some salt and pepper, then add the remaining garlic, dried thyme and coriander. Mix in the panko breadcrumbs. Make into enough balls for 3 each. (Don’t compact them too much, just enough to keep them together. Half submerge the meatballs into the sauce. Pop a lid on the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. 

Once the meatballs have cooked add the spinach to the pan and put the lid back on for a couple of minutes until it has wilted. Season if you need to and then remove from the heat and stir in two thirds of the sour cream.

Fluff up the rice and serve as a bed for your sauce and meatballs sprinkle over your parsleyand a dollop of sour cream.

Mexican Broth with Spicy Beef and Beans

I wasn’t expecting much here. The thought of a bowl of broth doesn’t really set my taste buds tingling. It is hard to think you can be satisfied by what really amounts to a lumpy drink. Once again me and my thoughts have been proven wrong. 

Not only did this meal satisfy, it had more flavour in it than the previous weeks meals put together. There are a number of ingredients that made this dish. The smoked paprika not only imparted that deep red colour but also as it’s name states a rich smokiness that adds a whole new dimension. The Mexican spice adds a lot of heat that builds progressively, thankfully the soured cream does enough to cool it before it gets too much. 

Cook your onion and garlic in a pan before adding the beef mince, mexican spice and smoked paprika. Once the beef has browned add the pepper and potato. After five minutes pop in the mixed beans and the passata. Once its all mixed together thoroughlyadd the stock and water. Bring everything to a simmer and let it cook for ten to fifteen minutes.

While its cooking rub your tortillas in olive oil, cut them into thin strips, season with some salt and pepper and put them into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for around five minutes. They will come out lovely and crisp. Stir through the coriander before serving the broth. Top it off with a nice dollop of soured cream and some of the tortillas.

Beef Ragout with Rigatoni and Black Olive Salsa

A deep rich ragout, coating a soft yet firm rigatoni pasta, sweet yellow peppers and a simple salsa that seems out of place but actually combines so well you wont want to eat ragu again without it.

So lets start with the basics. I have mentioned before my love of Rigatoni pasta, it’s size and shape are perfect for sauces like this ragu. It grabs the sauce and holds onto it, and this is a sauce you want it to hold onto. It’s hearty, warming, smooth and rich. This, like most pasta and sauce dishes is where you really notice the quality of your ingredients. From the tomato purée to the beef stock the better the quality the richer the flavour. A note on the stock, I am not against the stock cubes you get I have used them all my life and will continue to use them day to day. However, If you are making something a bit more special then i’d recommeng using what i call jelly stocks. I find the flavour richer and deeper.

Before I talk about the salsa I just want to mention that for these photo’s I used my Panasonic Lumix G10. The sharpness and the quality of the photo is much better but I am struggling to get enough light. I will keep playing with it and hopefully crack it soon.

The salsa was literally tomatoes, black olives, basil and olive oil. It felt wrong adding a cold salsa to a hot soul warming ragu. The first mouthful however showed just how right it was. The cold crisp taste of the tomatoes cut through the deep flavour of the beef and sauce. The black olives added a bitterness to it that worked in ways I don’t even know how to describe. In my head they shouldn’t work in this meal but they do. They really do.

This meal was from our HelloFresh box Www.hellofresh.co.uk

Spicy Sausage Chilli with Homemade Tortilla Chips

If you want something to warm you on the cold nights look no further.

This was going to be one of the meals that I didn’t post, then I tasted it. The chilli uses sausage meat which automatically gives more flavour than mince alone. Cumin and smoked paprika add the warmth to the tomato base. Leek is used in place of onion for a mellower flavour. Red pepper gives you sweetness and beef stock deepens the whole dish.

A great addition to this is the toasted tortillas. Brushing with oil and adding some salt and pepper you bake them in the oven for 5 minutes. They are the texture missing from the chilli. The idea of adding yoghurt to your dinner plate is a new one on me. I was pleasantly surprised, it actually loses it’s, err… yoghurty flavour and becomes something else. It absorbs the flavours around it and cools them somehow. I am tempted to make a big batch of this and keep it in the freezer for those nights when you get home from work , you’re cold, wet and can’t be bothered to cook. This will instantly pick you up, dry you off, warm your cockles and put a smile back on your face.

This meal is from our Hellofresh box www.hellofresh.co.uk

Steak Tagliata with Rosemary Potatoes and Peppercorn Sauce

“Speechless”

So simple yet so amazing. I managed to cook the steak perfectly rare this time (it helped the steaks were the same size and shape as each other) The broccoli was just drizzled in oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper then cooked in the oven until the edges turned crispy. The potatoes were seasoned sprinkled with chopped rosemary and tossed in olive oil the cooked in the oven as well. 

Growing up you would always find steak and peppercorn sauce in restaurants. I don’t see it much any more which is a shame because if there is any better flavour that goes with steak better than pepper I have yet to find it. I have cooked peppercorn sauce from a sachet before using milk or water to turn the powder into a sauce. I wish I had known how easy it was to make it from scratch. Soften your finally chopped shallots in olive oil, add the crushed peppercorn and fry for a minute add the beef stock and some water and leave to reduce by half. Take it off the heat and stir in Creme fresh. You can add a little butter here if you want. 

I can easily say this meal would be in my all time top 5. The vegetable is interchangeable it could be green beans, cabbage or  peas. But, steak, potatoes and sauce there are very few combinations that would even come close.