Recipe: Thai-Hungarian beef stew

I improvised this on a whim yesterday, craving something hearty and also needing to use up a tub of Thai yellow curry paste. Having made quasi-authentic goulash in the past, I tossed in some hot paprika also. I expected a train wreck, but ended up surprisingly good – my hunch is that pretty much anything with beef broth, tomato paste, and salt is going to be tasty and forgiving of any variations in ingredients or procedures.

Recipe after the jump.



2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 small yellow onions, chopped (one medium to large onion is fine too)

3 medium carrots, chopped

2 ribs of celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 pound beef chuck or similar stew meat, cut into cubes around 1 inch

1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 generous glug white wine (no need to get fancy here; I used cheap D’Aquino dry vermouth from Trader Joe’s)

24 oz beef broth

2 tbsp  Thai yellow curry paste (I used Mae Ploy brand, which contains lemongrass, galanga, dried red chili, garlic, shallot, coriander seed, mace, cinnamon, turmeric, and a bunch of other things. If you can’t find this in your local Asian market you can always just toss in pinches of various spices to approximate…or omit it entirely if you like and spice things up with crushed red pepper instead.)

1-2 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 3/4 inch cubes (optional)

4 oz tomato paste

Cilantro for garnish

1. Heat oil in a good-sized pot. Once it’s hot, add the onions. Stir until they are translucent; it’s OK if they brown a bit.

2. Add the carrots and cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes.

3. Repeat with the celery.

4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, no more than 20-30 seconds or so.

5.  Add the meat, turning the pieces periodically until they are lightly browned on all sides.

6. Add the paprika and stir briefly.

7. Pour in the wine and the broth. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer at least an hour, stirring periodically, until the beef is tender. If the liquid level in the pot starts to look low, add some water or beef broth.

8. After about 20 minutes of simmering, add the curry paste. (NOTE: you may have interesting results if you add the paste at the same time as the paprika and saute everything a bit together. I’m going to try this next time.)

9. Add tomato paste to the pot. If you’re using potatoes, add them here, then simmer them about 20 minutes until they are tender.

10. Once the meat and potatoes are both tender, season with salt to taste and serve with French bread, garnished with cilantro leaves if you like.

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