That’s right! I got home late, took the kitchen over, made up a brand new soup on the fly, and only missed ten minutes of Battlestar Galactica (War of the Gods Pt. 2). Freya was sending me text messages all day with soup suggestions in a desperate bid to dissuade me from cooking tonight. I told her that I was determined to make dinner and nothing would stop me.
I didn’t have much time to think about soup at work. I had some big quotes and redesign work due out not to mention the planking to glue on the scale model of the HMS Victory. My boss did have a look in my office to make sure I was busy and he pointed out that drilling the holes for the masts will prove to be a bit of a pain. “And don’t even get me started on the rigging!” I only knew that the soup should have beans and tomatoes as they have been conspicuously absent from the rest of the soups this week.
I stood in the middle of the kitchen while Freya finished off the batter for some Hummingbird Muffins, which I was surprised to learn contain no hummingbirds. I decided that a twist on goulash would be fun and novel.
I didn’t have any meat thawed apart from the Kielbasa that Peter brought me from Poland (I showed him some pictures of the last thing I made with this sausage and he said something like, “Yes, always about food with you.”). Good sausage is the foundation of many of my favourite meals. I love bratwurst, mortadella, chorizo, and a really good kosher all-beef frankfurter and would almost always choose one of these options over steak. When using sausage in soup you know it will always be tender and will offer up its flavour without much of a fight. The hardship in my house is getting Freya to eat the meat in soup, but I don’t argue with her or even give her disparaging looks while I dutifully eat the leftover sausage in her bowl.
The first thing I always do when Freya makes goulash is prepare the dough for dumplings. There’s nothing worse than finishing up prepping dinner and realising you forgot to make the rice, or pasta, or in this case dumplings. Goulash dumplings aren’t like the big stodgy dumplings made with suet that you might find in a beef stew. These dumplings are small and firm with a lot of flavour. The dough requires a minimum of half an hour rising time which is why I make them first.
The remaining ingredients and preparation are simple and straightforward. If you’re a regular reader of my contributions to this blog you will notice a theme in all my recipes. I love frugality! The idea of using the dregs in the fridge to make a delicious meal is very appealing to me. Freya says it’s because I’m cheap, but I can live with that as long as I can impress her with the results. Tonight was my biggest triumph! She even said this was the best soup this week! I thought soup 1 was the best, but this definitely deserves second prize. I think you’ll enjoy it too.
PAULS PATENTED PAPRIKA SOUP
3 Tablespoons ‘00’ flour
2 Fresh eggs
1 Teaspoon hot Bavarian mustard
A medium bunch of parsley finely chopped
1 Teaspoon sea salt
2 Grinds of pepper
100g Kielbasa or chorizo sliced or cubed
1 Tin or 450g soaked/drained beans (I used butter beans)
2 Onions quartered and sliced thin
2 Peppers cubed
2 Heaped teaspoons Pimenton (smoky hot paprika)
2-3 Tablespoons peanut oil
2 Teaspoons salt, more or less to taste
1 Tin chopped organic tomatoes
½ Pint beef stock
Mix all ingredients until a sticky loose dough forms. Cover and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes.
Pour oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add sausage and allow to cook while prepping onions. Add onions and salt and allow to sauté while prepping the peppers. Add peppers and paprika and sweat over medium low heat for about five minutes. Add tomatoes and beef stock, cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. Add beans and turn heat to high. Working with two spoons, form small quenelles with the dumpling batter dropping them into the soup until all dough is used. Allow soup to come to the boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. The dumplings will approximately double in size and then shrink a little when uncovered. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, crème fraiche, or if you’re a food heathen like me, cottage cheese.