It’s getting very wintery, instead of craving salads at lunchtime I want something warming! This is a very simple vegetarian version of beef goulash that I made a few years ago. The original version didn’t have celery and tasted rather heavy. At the table was my friend Zoe who, apart from being a fabulous singer also has a wonderful sense of taste. She suggested adding celery – and so the next time I made it, that’s what I did. It really makes a difference as does having SOME kind of fresh tomato in the mix (even if it’s just one or two vine tomatoes, skinned and added to the passata. The mixture makes enough for two healthy portions but it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Traditional Goulash is a thick soup and if you want to eat it that way, just add a little extra water.
Simple Mushroom Goulash
250g chestnut or field mushrooms (these were the nutty chestnut sort)
1 stick of celery
1 red pepper (optional)
1 clove of garlic
2 banana shallots
4-6 plum tomatoes OR 2 tablespoons of passata and 2 ripe vine tomatoes
Sweet smoked Hungarian paprika (the amount you need will depend on the variety – please don’t use the hot sort or you won’t taste the mushrooms!)
A small bunch of fresh oregano (or half a teaspoon of dried)
2 teaspoons of caraway seeds
Salt and Pepper
Rice or noodles
Sour Cream, Crème Fraiche or Greek Yoghurt
Skin the tomatoes by immersing in a cup of boiling water for a minute so that the skins softens and slides off easily. Chop roughly and remove the pithy bit at the top.
Finely chop the shallot, slice the celery, de-seed and slice the pepper (if using) and crush the garlic
Add to a pan with the olive oil and sweat gently for 5 minutes or so till the shallot is soft.
Add the paprika and caraway seed and stir through.
Slice the mushrooms and add to the mixture then fry very gently for just a minute or two so that the mushrooms are sealed, just like you would brown meat.
Add the tomatoes and oregano and a little water if the mixture is dry. Stir through. Check the flavour, if you want to then add a little more paprika at this stage.
Simmer for about 10 minutes till the mushrooms are cooked and the sauce has reduced a little.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with rice or noodles and a little sour cream, crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt.