My very first trip to Croatia was when I got married, I married Croatian also, my in laws live in Pula but they originally are from Medimurje.
Now Croatian food to me is absolutely delicious, depending on where in Croatia you live, you eat very different food. So when I got married I got to try so many new things from my mother in law. I now cook for my family recipes that I grew up on and what my husband grew up on. My kids love Croatian food to, it is requested very often.
Now I am also one of those people that is constantly buying cookbooks, so whilst on my honeymoon every bookshop I found, I bought books, my absolute favourite was a large bookshop I found in Rijeka, Zadar also had a really good one. I actually had a small suitcase full of books that I brought back to Australia.
Well this recipe is from one of my Croatian Cookbooks, it is called Zapeceni Gulas and when I saw the picture in the book I had to try it, it just looked so good. As soon as this goulash goes into the oven the house had the most delicious aroma going through it. I honestly hoped it would taste as good as it smelt, and it did. This goulash was delicious, every single bite was so good. The meat was soft and tender, the potatoes cooked, but kept there shape, and it was different to my normal stews, this had a very small amount of tomatoes in it, this makes for a completely different stew, it was delicious.
Now I doubled the recipe as I like to have leftovers when it comes to stews, but you can halve the recipe if you want to make less.
Now I make this in an ovenproof pot, so it is a one pot dinner, if you don't have an ovenproof pot, you can start this on the stovetop then transfer the goulash to an ovenproof dish to bake.
We loved this. I loved how easy it was to make, I loved the aromas in the house, I loved the flavour. So if you like a good stew, this recipe is for you, it was one we all loved.
1.2kg chuck steak, cut into a 3cm dice
700g onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
300g tomatoes, roughly chopped
1kg potatoes, cut into a 2-3cm dice
4 tablespoons (80ml) vegetable oil
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon vegeta
1 teaspoon ground paprika
3 fresh bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 190C/170C fan forced.
Cut the meat into a large dice. Place the meat into a large snaplock bag, add the flour, close the bag and shake the bag so that the flour covers all of the meat.
Place the oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5-8 minutes until it becomes translucent, don't let it brown. Add the garlic and saute a further 1-2 minutes.
Add the meat to the pot, just shake off any excess flour as you are adding it. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5-10 minutes, you really need to watch it here as the flour will stick to the base of the pot, reduce heat if needed and move the pot around. The flour sticking is ok, just don't let it burn like crazy.
Add the bay leaves, ground paprika and the beer. Now reduce the heat and allow this to simmer for 15 minutes. As soon as you add the beer start scraping up any flour bits that have stuck to the pot, the beer will remove the sticky bits and this will be what thickens your goulash. Stir the stew regularly at this stage as the mixture is thick and will catch on the bottom if you forget about it
Add the largely diced potato and the diced tomatoes. Give it a good stir. (If you don't have an ovenproof pot, this is when you would transfer it into an ovenproof baking dish, if you needed to).
Now add the vegeta, salt, pepper and enough water to just cover the meat mixture. All of it needs to be covered with the liquid. Give it a quick stir and bake for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, I taste a piece if meat, if it is soft, it is done, if it is still not soft, keep baking it, it can take up to 1.5-2 hours, it really depends on the meat. Here I taste for seasoning also, add more salt, pepper or vegeta, if needed, and if it looks dry, add a little extra water, but only if needed. Stews are supposed to be thickish, not dry but not too watery either.
Once the meat is soft, it is cooked. Serve it hot sprinkled with the chopped parsley.
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