Transylvanian Ghoulash

Trying to eat for one on a budget, pork shoulder is rapidly becoming one of my favorite go-to proteins. It’s cheap, flavorful and you can do all sorts of things with it if you’re crafty. I’ve already covered my favorite breakfast, Rillettes. But there’s way more you can do with the stuff. One of my favorites is a recipe I pulled from Cooks Illustrated is for Transylvanian Goulash. Unlike traditional goulash this uses pork instead of beef and supplements the spicy flavors with a vinegary hit of sauerkraut.

  • 3.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 Onion chopped fine
  • 1 Green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, chopped fine
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped fine
  • 1 plum tomato, chopped
  • 3 Tbs paprika (Hungarian preferred)
  • 1 Tbs caraway seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
  • sour cream
  • fresh dill, minced

Preheat the oven to 325, set the rack in the lower middle, and cut up all the veggies. Season all the pork you just cut up with salt and pepper.

img_0145Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed Dutch oven on high setting until it shimmers. Brown all of the pork in the dutch oven. Do it in batches and make sure to do it in enough batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. An over-crowded pan is how you end up with tasteless, grey, soggy meat. Reduce the heat if there’s scorching. Remove the pork when you are done and set aside.

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When the pork is done, set the stove to medium and add all the veggies and some salt. Cook until the water is pulled from them and is reduced out and the vegetables are nice and tender. Scrape at the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to get all the good stuff.

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Add the paprika, caraway seeds and garlic. Cook until fragrant which should be seconds.

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Next add the water and really scrape at the pan to get all the good stuff and also help with cleanup. Then add the pork and any accumulated pork juices. Bring to a simmer. Cover and throw in the oven for an hour.

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It looks tasty, but it’s not done yet. Next add the sauerkraut and give it an additional 30 minutes.

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Now it’s done. Serve over rice or egg noodles. Also keep sour cream nearby and the salt and pepper. I also like a little Frank’s Red Hot to get it a little extra kick. Now if only it wasn’t so freaking hot out….

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