During our time in Italy we ate better than I think we have on any of our other trips. Much of this was due to the wonderful food apps I had loaded on my ipad as well as connections with Italian foodies I was able to make through twitter and facebook. Some of our meals were quite high end (the $250 lunch we LOVED in Venice) while other meals were in homey, rustic trattoria or grabbed from a street vendor or even from tavola caldo spots. There was no watching one's diet whilst on vacation - we were in Italy and we wanted to experience all we could!
After three weeks of eating wonderful Italian food in Italy I was looking for a break when I returned. Other than a visit to our favourite Chinese restaurant in Venice near the start of our trip we had eaten three weeks of full-on wonderful Italian food. I was craving other foods - on our first night back I cooked up some wonderful Indian food which was just what I needed to start the craving for different spice combinations.
On Monday, because I had taken the day off of work to do the gazillion errands than needed doing and because my sleep pattern is all out of whack, I decided to make a goulash which would cook long and slow. I found this recipe online from Jamie Oliver - one of our 'go to' chefs.
This is what Oliver wrote about it:
The idea of cooking a tough piece of pork in a lovely pepper stew to make it extremely tender and melt-in-your-mouth is something I find quite exciting. This dish in particular is one of my favourites and, unless you've got a strange aversion to chillies and peppers, I know you'll end up making it again and again. It's a complete classic. It's also one of those dishes which tastes great when reheated the day after it's been made. You've got a whole range of chilli and pepper flavours going on; from smoked paprika to fresh chillies, and fresh peppers to sweet grilled and peeled ones. Delish!
I had all of the ingredients but mae a few changes - as I often do. I had pork stew meat in the freezer so I used that instead of the pork shoulder. I also only made half of the recipe. The first change worked fine, the second one I regret. The reslting goulash bursts with flavour - a balance of sweetness from the peppers, tang from the vinegar, and spiciness from the smoked paprika and caraway seeds. When you add in the sour cream/lemon/parsley topping you had a meal which made Jerry and Paul very happy indeed!
The regret was that there weren't MORE leftovers . . . how often do you say that?
lb pork shoulder off the bone, in one piece, skin off, fat left on (Don't worry
if you don't have shoulder. The important thing is to use a tough piece of pork—NOT a tenderloin).
Salt and pepper
1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 fresh red chillies (or other spicy pepper like jalapeno), finely chopped (we left the seeds in for additional heat)
½ jar roasted red peppers
1 tablespoons mild smoked paprika
1 teaspoons ground caraway seeds
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bell peppers (use a mixture of colors), sliced
1 14 oz. canned whole tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Flat leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 350. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown meat in olive oil in a deep, ovenproof stew pot with a lid and heat it on the hob. Remove the pork from the pot and put it to one side.
Add the onions, chili, paprika, caraway seeds, oregano and a good pinch of salt and pepper to the pot. Turn the heat down and gently cook the onions for 10 minutes, then add the sliced peppers, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and sugar. Put the pork back into the pot, give everything a little shake, then pour in enough water to just cover the meat. Add the vinegar. Bring to the boil, put the lid on top, then place in the preheated oven until meat breaks apart easily with two forks, about 3 hours.
Stir the sour cream, lemon zest and most of the parsley together in a little bowl.
When the meat is tender, take the pot out of the oven and taste the goulash. Adjust the seasonings if needed.
Serve with rice or buttered noodles with the sour cream topping.