Last weekend was the Hungarian GP and after a less than successful attempt at German cuisine I was feeling a bit nervous. I decided that I would focus on cooking one dish well. Given that the race was in Hungary there was never any doubt about what I would cook – Goulash! I had a look around the web for recipes and settled on one by the infallible Delia. There were going to be no failures this week!
The night before the race we were visiting some of our new neighbours, who happen to be Austrian. Telling them of my planned meal they quickly informed me that the secret to a good goulash is to use the same weight in onions as meat. They also agreed to come over after the race and taste my efforts!
On the day of the race I got up early to get on with my cooking. The recipe required the goulash to be in the oven for two and a half hours, but not being that familiar with the French cuts of meat (they butcher the animals differently over here) I wanted to make sure that the meat was tender. So I wanted to ensure it was in the oven for as long as possible.
From my local Carrefour (the good butcher is on holiday) I bought a large slab of beef weighing around nine hundred words. I cut this up into approximately one inch cubes and browned these in batches in a large oven proof pan before putting them to one side. Next up was the onions. Nine hundred grams turned out to be eight large onions rather than the three required in the recipe. The onions were then roughly chopped and then put into the pan the meat had been browned in.
This quantity of onions took a lot of cooking and it was about fifteen minutes later, when the onions had begun to brown and caramelize, that I was able to return the meat and juices to the pan along with two cloves of crushed garlic.
To this I then added one tablespoon of hot paprika, one of sweet smoked paprika and two of plain flour, giving everything a stir to create a paste with the juices. Finally I added three dried bay leave (from my mum’s garden back home!) and two tins of chopped tomatoes. On went the lid and then the pan went into the oven at one hundred and forty degrees centigrade.
Three Hours later I gave everything a stir and added two red peppers which I had de-seeded and roughly chopped before putting the lid back on and the pan back in the oven.
We finally ate the Goulash five and a half hours after it went in the oven! By this time the stew was a deep brown/red and the meat was falling apart. I had cooked some rice to go with the dish, but the Austrians recommended we just had bread. I also omitted the crème fraiche which was to added at the last minute on their recommendation. The stew was delicious, it was full of flavour and oh so soft. There was a great depth and richness to the sauce and a hint of spiciness which brought everything to life. It went down rally well with the Austrians, we demolished the lot! I would love to cook this again; it’s a great cook and leave dish for when you have guests round.
The race was another exciting spectacle. It started under damp conditions and the road dried through-out the race. Once again there was plenty of action with many overtaking manoeuvres and cars that were squirming all over in the wet conditions. The two Maclaren team mates gave an incredible demonstration of expert driving, passing and re-passing on the narrow track over the course of six or seven laps. This was complimented by Nick Heldfield’s Renault catching fire, then, sans driver, exploding (but only a little). The race was eventually won by Jenson Button, the master of the drying track, with Seb Vettle in second. It’s great to see that some of the other teams have finally caught the Red Bulls up, the result is some fantastic competitive races.