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.

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