October 30, 2019

Dear friends,
As soon as the temperature dipped, I got out my soup pot and ladle and haven’t looked back. I have missed soup. I tried to soothe the itch with cold soups last summer, but it wasn’t the same.

So, soup last week and soup this week and probably soup next week, too. If it’s any consolation, know that I won’t try to foist blah soup recipes on you. Remember the cauliflower-coconut soup last week? If you didn’t make it yet, please try it this week. After stirring up a pot, my friend Michele wrote, “Wow!! Yummy!! I think you may have a future in this foodie/cooking world.”

This week’s soup is from my book, “Jane Snow Cooks.” I had never made it for Tony. Maybe you have overlooked it, too. You shouldn’t. Goulaschsuppe is what all vegetable-beef soups aspire to be: rich, chunky and bone-warming enough to see you through an afternoon of skiing in the Alps, which is where and how I first encountered it.

My recipe requires a lot of precise chopping, but the reward is great. The small cubes of meat, potatoes and carrots, ideally all the same size, are the key to the texture. What puts the soup over the top, in my opinion, is the pinch of caraway seeds.

GOULASCHSUPPE

2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. oil
2 lbs. lean chuck, round or brisket, trimmed of fat and cut in 3/4-inch cubes
Salt, pepper
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 can (16 oz.) whole plum tomatoes, drained and chopped fine
1/4 tsp. caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) beef broth
1 cup water
2 medium potatoes, in 1/2-inch dice
2 carrots, in 1/2-inch dice

Heat butter and oil over high heat in a heavy soup kettle. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In batches, brown the beef cubes in the hot fat; remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Reduce heat to low. In same kettle, cook onions, green pepper and garlic for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add paprika and cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Return beef and any collected juices to kettle. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, until beef and vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

TIDBITS
Mark your calendars for one of my favorite local food events, Men Who Cook, on Nov. 9 at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron. At the event, 18 men will prepare their favorite recipes to impress, and I’ll be one of the judges they’re trying to impress.

The last time I judged, some but not all of the the dishes were Greek, including a marinated whole leg of lamb. The food is plentiful and tickets are a modest $35, which includes the tasting dinner, an open bar and a really impressive live auction of donated goods and services.

The event is a fund-raiser for the church’s Philoptochos Society, which this year is earmarking proceeds for the renovation of the Valor Home Summit, a residence for homeless veterans.

For tickets, phone Shannon at 330-338-6851.

GUT CHECK
What I cooked last week:
Ground venison and cabbage soup with tomatoes and paprika; sheet pan roast chicken breast strips, Delicata squash, green onion, zucchini and bell pepper with a hoisin and Szechuan sauce glaze; skillet dinner of spicy ground turkey and beans.

What I ate in/from restaurants:
Half of a ham sub from Subway; wonton soup and ginger chicken from Chin’s Place in Akron; lentil soup, salad, fried liver and baked potato at Alexandris Restaurant in Wadsworth; barbacoa keto bowl from Chipotle; gyro and a Diet Coke at Fisher’s Cafe in Peninsula; serrano ham and garlicky tomato puree with olive oil on crusty bread, and a heavenly Spanish garlic soup at Don Quijote in Jackson Township (delicious; worth the trip).

THE MAILBAG

FROM D.E.:
I love cheese soup. The Cheddar-broccoli soup at Fred’s Diner in Akron is my favorite. Unfortunately, it’s available on Friday only. I’ve tried making my own and hated it. What a waste of ingredients. Why did I toss it? Chicken broth.

It makes no sense to me to add chicken broth to something you don’t want to taste like chicken…and I could definitely taste the chicken. I really don’t like chicken broth.

Eventually I just used water. Am I missing something important by doing that?

Dear D.E.:
If the soup tasted good to you made with water, then go for it. If you felt it wasn’t quite flavorful enough, sauté some chopped onion and garlic in oil before adding the water. An alternative would be to use vegetable broth, which has more flavor (but not chicken flavor!) than water.

From Cynthia H.:
First, thank you for sustaining me through multiple moves to different states the past couple of years. Now we are back in Cleveland. Your recipes are always entertaining and seasonal and a good challenge I like to take up.

We visited relatives in Cincinnati last weekend and it broke my heart that I couldn’t bring goetta back for you. We had some at Toast & Berry in Montgomery. It was excellent, and they used a pinhead oat variety that was perfect. To make up for my inability to bring you some, I’m sending a recipe from Mary Anna DuSablon’s “Cincinnati Recipe Treasury of 1983.”

STOVETOP GOETTA
3 quarts water
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 cups pinhead oatmeal
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Using your heaviest pan, place the ground meat in the water, breaking up lumps while bringing the water to a boil. Add remaining ingredients. Cook for one hour. Stir frequently; don’t let it stick. The goetta will be very thick when done. (Note: Some people declare the goetta done if a wooden spoon stands upright when stuck in the center of the pan.)

Pour into loaf pans. Refrigerate. Slice and fry to a golden brown. Serve it with applesauce on top or with eggs at breakfast.

Dear Cynthia:
Thanks for thinking of me during your goetta foray. The recipe you sent reads like a message from another era. I like the hint on determining when the mixture is thick enough. When I tire of corn meal mush (that may take awhile), I might try it.

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