Let’s continue our potato theme we’ve started last week. This goulash is not exactly a goulash. While the beef version you might be acquainted with has to simmer for hours in order to provide you with the softest meat possible this one is ready when the potatoes are ready. Which means the whole dish is ready in about an hour.
This goulash is naturally vegetarian, vegan even, however very, very often sausage, ham or meat are added to it. Not in this case though. I thought I will provide you with the simplest version and you can just take it from there and explore on your own. If I were to add sausage, I would’ve opted for Polish Kielbasa (known in Vienna as klobasa) or a Krainer – I think the structure and taste go best with this dish, but feel free to explore.
In 1745, a “Viennese pound” of potatoes, 560 grams, cost eight Guldens. For the same money, you could get 90 pounds of bread or 82 pounds of beef at that time. Let’s face it, they were a luxury. Nowadays it is a truly democratic dish: you can find it in fancy restaurants and you can also cooked them in a huge pot for a dinner party you are organising for your friends.
Important tips for the recipe
Onions are really the key here. I think it is unfair they are so rarely mentioned in the name of various dishes while in fact they are very often a key to a success. However, onions go with potatoes like skis with snow or chocolate with more chocolate. Dice them really small so they melt better with the potatoes. But if you are a rebel and want rings, by all means, go for it. Just be consistent and keep the size similar so you don’t end up with half of the onions burned and the other half barely translucent.
Wait with the garlic – adding it too early will only cause it to burn rather than add all those beautiful aromas it offers.
Before you attempt to peel and cut half a kilo of potatoes while the onions are roasting: it can be done. But not if you are a complete beginner. Do yourself a favour and just prepare all your ingredients in advance. You can then boast that you follow the “mise en place” philosophy while cooking.
I like harder potatoes for this recipe (Salatkartoffeln), but mehlige are the commonly agreed type – they do provide more binding for the sauce so there is something to it. You want to cut them in more or less even pieces. Not too small so they don’t fall apart. Imagine what would you like to stab on your fork and just go for it. When you reach the paprika phase, sprinkle it over onions and stir continuously from now on. Paprika will become bitter if it burns.