My book club just finished reading The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coehlo. This is a very special book club for three reasons. One, it is all women. Two, the women who participate are amazing! Three, we match up the food we are serving to the setting of the book we read. We each bring a dish and it turns out wonderfully. We meet about every six weeks and I look forward to our meetings immensely!
The Witch of Portobello has many settings, but the main two are England and Transylvania. At first I was thinking about my healthy version of Shepherd’s Pie, but then I got to thinking about Transylvania and what interesting dishes I could make from that part of the world. I decided on a Transylvanian Goulash recipe and low and behold I found one I could make in my Crockpot! Yay! (I have yet to disclose how much I LOVE my Crockpot! Well, there you go…I LOVE my crockpot!) Then I found some cool looking sweet Hungarian paprika at the market. See how neat the container is?
I looked at quite a few recipes in order to create my own. In our group we have some different eating styles. In particular, I try to eat gluten free and one of the lovely ladies cannot eat dairy. So this is a non-dairy, gluten free version of goulash that, if I do say so myself, is pretty tasty.
32 oz. bag sauerkraut (not the kind from a can, please!)
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
Salt to taste
2 Tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 Tablespoon Penzeys Beef Soup Base* plus 3 cups water OR 3 cups beef broth
4 pounds beef chuck, stew beef, cut in 2-inch cubes
1-1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup rice milk
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
Sour cream (for the dairy tolerant, to pass on the side)
Wash sauerkraut under cold running water, strain well, pressing out excess water.
Heat oil in a 5-quart casserole; add onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until lightly colored, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper, then season with salt and cook a minute or two longer. Stir in paprika, pour in 1/2 cup of broth and bring to boil. Add beef cubes and stir.
Transfer beef mixture to crockpot. Pour remaining broth, tomato sauce, sauerkraut, and caraway seeds over mixture. Mix all ingredients together. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. If crockpot turns to warm automatically, keep it on warm while you whisk rice milk and arrowroot powder together. Pour rice milk and arrowroot powder into the crock-pot and mix together with the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Keep on warm until you are ready to serve.
Pass sour cream on the side for the dairy-tolerant.
Serves 8-10 depending on serving size.
Tastes even better the next day!
*Just as an aside, I do not get an special kickbacks from Penzey’s…I just really LOVE their spices and soup bases!