There is something very beautiful about going into my Granny B’s old wooden recipe box and pulling out a handwritten note card to create a classic dish that was in her standard repertoire. I sometimes worry that the art of passing down these family gems will someday be yet another “thing of the past.” Our mothers and grandmothers cook traditional dishes for loved ones without looking online, consulting a cookbook, or inserting a flash drive into the oven. These celebrated cooks learned to cook using all of their senses, worrying less about the exact time it takes to make a dish and instead, knowing just how something should look, feel and smell before moving on to the next step. Each of them has their own unique spin on classic dishes too; cooking with a little of this, a pinch of that, filling a pot halfway with something or other … and magically a mouthwatering aroma fills their home and you know that soon you will be gathering around the table to share this meal with your family.
Whenever I smell the aroma of onions sautéing in a kitchen it immediately transports me to my childhood home. My Mom, Ingrid, cooked most nights and is an excellent home cook. She was born and raised in Germany so naturally German dishes are her specialty as is feeding every guest who comes into our home. For our birthday celebration, my three siblings and I would each choose our favorite meal for our mom to create. Mine was undoubtedly always a German dish, either goulash or roladen with spätzle or nockel.
This week, I celebrated my birthday as did my 7 year old son and guess what he requested? Goulash! It puts a smile on my face that he, too, loves a dish that has been a family tradition for years. Even after extracting the recipe step by step from my mom, and making it side by side with her, the goulash never tastes quite as good as hers.
While this may not seem like a spring dish, it is a soulful and satiating dish that will hopefully become a favorite of yours that you can pass down to your kids. Thanks Mom for passing down this dish and your love of cooking to me!
- 2 T. olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 lb. sirloin beef, cut into bite size pieces
- 4 T. butter, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 T. sweet paprika
- 8 cups water
- ¾ cup flour
- 1 cup water
- Egg noodles
- Season meat with salt and pepper. Place a dutch oven on the stove top over high heat. After pot is hot, add the oil. When oil begins to shimmer, brown meat in batches. Removing each batch to a plate.
- When meat is seared, drop heat to medium; add 2 Tablespoons butter. Once butter has melted, add onions and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, add paprika and stir until combined. Add meat and juices back to pot along with water. Simmer, never boil, until tender, at least 2 hours. (Simmering time will depend on size that you cut your meat)
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour and water until mixture is completely smooth. Stir flour mixture into simmering pot of meat and simmer another 15 minutes until sauce has thickened. Whisk in remaining 2 T. of butter. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Enjoy over egg noodles.