Last night I did something that I should’ve done in a long time – went back to my routes and made a dish from a Russian/ Soviet cookbook. My wife and I enjoy Russian staples all the time – pancakes, perogies … but this dish is less common, and yet it came from the “official” Russian cookbook titled “The tasty and healthy food book”.
I’ll talk about the recipe and experience later but first – a few words about the cookbook.
The book originally published in the 1950’s was in fact an official cooking guide intended for housewives. Oddly enough, most recipes it offers are in fact balanced, nutritious and easy to make home fair that most people could afford and master without any special equipment. Considering the book was still published during the Communist (and Stalin’s) reign, it is highly ideological and features Stalin in the preface:
A typical feature of our revolution is that it not only gave people the freedom, it also gave them the material wealth and the ability to have a prosperous, culturally rich life.
Luckily, ideology didn’t alter the taste or simplicity of the book’s recipes.
So why this book? Our moms cooked from this book … And their moms and grandmothers before them … It’s a tribute, if you will, but also a chance to translate it into Russian (which I don’t think has been done). So recipe by recipe, I’m willing to do just that.
So now to the dish itself. Why goulash, you will ask, when even a second grader knows goulash is a Hungarian staple? Well, Russians too have a national dish called goulash. It’s just a slightly modified version of goulash.
- 500 grams (1.1 lb) of meat
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) potatoes
- 2 onions
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- Wash meat, cut it into cubes, season with salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a frying pan; place meat into the pan and quickly fry it.
- Spread flour over meat and add onions and fry it all together.
- Remove the meat mix from the pan and place it into a pot; add broth or water; add tomato paste, bay leaf; cover and stew for 1-1.5 hours.
- Serve meat with boiled or fried potatoes seasoned with fresh parsley or dill.