St. Patrick’s Day is usually celebrated by parades of shamrocks, wearing green and drinking beer. But for me, St. Patrick’s Day always reminds me of my Czech grandmother. Her birthday was March 17th, 1916. So on St. Patrick’s Day, we would go visit my grandparents, who were married for almost 60 years by the time my grandpa passed away. Being farmers and homemakers, both my grandparents were amazing cooks. The smell of kolaches baking and goulash simmering on the stovetop were nostalgic aromas wafting through the screen door of their little farmhouse. My most euphoric and vivid childhood memories are always associated with cooking or sitting around a dinner table with my grandparents.
We would cook and bake all day, then eat supper gathered around their wood dining table with the Czech radio station playing a polka or waltz in the background. My grandpa would sweep my grandma up in his arms and waltz her around the kitchen with pots bubbling and aprons flying. After a full belly, we would take a walk through the fields down to the railroad tracks at sunset listening to a symphony of crickets, then wander home, wash dishes and have dessert. It was a picturesque fantasy of what life is like when it’s centered around making food with love and sharing it.
So… in honor of my angel of a grandmother’s birthday, I am sharing my grandpa’s Czech goulash recipe with you all. This sumptuous beef stew is the perfect accompaniment to an ice-cold beer as you celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day!
Czech Goulash ~ Beef Stew
- 2.5 lbs. lean beef rib meat
- bones from the rib
- 1-large yellow onion
- 2-stalks of celery
- 2-medium carrots
- 2-medium tomatoes
- 2.5 heaping cups-cabbage (finely cut)
- 5-medium potatoes
- 1-dried chili
- 3 & 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
- olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
**When buying the rib meat, it is important to buy the bone as well. The bone is stewed creating a bone broth that not only gives the stew its rich flavor but is nutritious and healing to your body. It heals your gut, aids your joints and boosts your immune system. The bone marrow contains calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, magnesium, manganese and vitamin A, as well as essential fatty acids that are known cancer inhibitors. I’ve emphasized in my other recipes that it is very important to make sure your produce and meat is organic and grass-fed if possible, so that you are ingesting healing nutrients and not hormones or toxins.
You can ask the butcher for the equivalent of 2.5 lbs. of rib meat plus the bones on the side or just buy bone-in ribs and take them home to separate yourself.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut the meat off the bone and set aside.
**It’s okay if you do not have much experience cutting meat, it doesn’t have to be pretty because it is going to be diced into small pieces.
On a baking tray, rub the bones with olive oil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. This helps to speed up the bone marrow breakdown into your broth.
While the bones are broiling, dice the raw rib meat into small pieces and set aside.
Dice the onions, celery and tomato. Chop the carrots into thin slices. Finely chop the cabbage.
On the stovetop, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a stew pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook until they start to brown and caramelize. Add in the diced raw rib meat and brown. Your bones should be out of the oven by now. Pour any drippings from the baking pan into the pot. Add the broiled bones. Add the chopped celery, carrots, tomatoes and cabbage. Stir. Add 1/2 cup water, 1 Tbsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables and meat are cooking, boil water in a separate pot. Peel and dice the potatoes. Boil the potatoes until fork-tender, about 20 minutes, and drain them.
TIP: This is where I went rogue on my grandpa’s recipe. I wanted to add a little bit of texture to the stew, so I pulled half of the potatoes and roasted them into crash potatoes to garnish the top of the stew. I would recommend it. If you choose to do this, my crash potato recipe link is HERE
In the goulash pot, after the meat and vegetables are cooked and boiling, add 1/2 a gallon of boiling water (8 cups), 1 dried chili and 3 & 1/2 Tbsp. of chili powder.
If you are doing the traditional version of the stew, add all the potatoes to the goulash.
If you would like to do the crashed potato topper version, pull half of the potatoes at this point and add to the goulash as they are. Take the other half of the par-boiled potatoes, smash, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees in the oven for 25 minutes. More expansive instructions for the crashed potatoes: HERE.
Bring the goulash to a boil.
TIP: If you are sensitive to spice, remove the dried chili at this point.
Once the goulash is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20 more minutes.
TIP: The goulash is ready to serve, but if you have time to let it simmer for a while, the longer the bones cook the richer the flavors will be.
Add more salt & pepper to taste.
Now gather all your friends for an Irish Celebration and share your stew pot masterpiece! If you’ve made the crash potatoes, spoon a serving of the goulash into a bowl and top with a few of the crispy potatoes. Serve with a toasted gluten-free baguette for dipping and have fun watching all your loved ones devour this warm and hearty beef stew with an ice-cold beer.
BON APPÉTIT & HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! ~From Sirens & Scoundrels
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Words & Recipe by Sarah Prikryl // Photography by Sarah Prikryl
© 2016 Sirens & Scoundrels
This is so lovely. Hearty and heartwarming! Thank you Sirens!!