Beef and Sausage Goulash, a sure cure for Fang-Rot - Aldi challenge part 2

Thursday 4/11/2004

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Diary and Notes

In waging perpetual war on snobbery one (just using the word 'one' makes me sound like a snob) must be prepared for defeats and setbacks, to be injured in the course of battle and to have that 'true grit' to turn back around, pick up your bayonette and charge headlong into the handbag wielding, twinset and pearl brigades, armed as they always are with copies of the Daily Express, The Mail and Horse and Rider. But not today, today it was once again the snobs who took a direct hit. Yes, we the little people were again successful in the great Jill Duplex's Aldi Challenge. Now if what I cooked here were to be served up to our old chum Jill, I think she would turn her nose up. There's no rocket, no balsamic vinegar and the salt was not fleur de sel - but that's her loss not mine.

I have deliberately attempted to make a fairly authentic goulash today. I decided to cook goulash as my friend Dave was making jokes about his Romanian girlfriend's grandfather having fang-rot. I suggested goulash as a panacea for vampire type illnesses, though I think that the undead may wish to cut out the garlic. I couldn't make a really authentic goulash as in Hungary (according to a tv programme I saw) people make this warming dish by just putting all the ingredients in a pot in the morning, putting the pot on a fire and then trotting off to pick potatoes for a day. When they come home after fifteen hours of back breaking rooting around in dirt, the goulash is ready - all you have to do is stir in a giant handful of chillis, butter some bread and eat.

Now when I say 'authentic' goulash, apart from the above mentioned potato picking and fifteen hour cooking time, that's what I mean. This is getting back to my old commie mother and her Stalinist cookbook type cooking. I'm not making a modern version with fancy olive oil and sun dried organic red peppers. This is real East European cooking, things in jars, strange smelling sausage with lumps, lard.

Did he just say lard?

Yes my gastropals, lard. You can't be making a real goulash without what describes as: The white solid or semisolid rendered fat of a hog. It is essential - but a word of caution - when cooking with lard your kitchen may take on a very strange smell, one that would remind your grandparents of home and perhaps bring them out in renditions of Vera Lynne hits. Lard used to be one of the mainstays of British cooking. Now, sadly, it is only ever found in the pastry of a good pork pie or as a softener in own label ice creams. Aah, for proper chips fried in this culinary dinosaur. Bring back lard to the chippy and you'll soon see fish and chips overtake chicken tikka masala as king of the Friday night nosh up.

You'll also notice that paprika is mentioned three times. This refers to three different things. Paprika (in English) generally refers to the dried ground spice made from sun dried red-peppers. However there are different versions of this, ranging from mild (the stuff we normally use as paprika in Britain) to hot (very similar to chilli powder). In addition, paprika also refers to the red peppers themselves and the pickled versions, which come in big jars from Aldi at knockdown prices. I used both mild paprika, some hot paprika and some pickled paprika in this dish. Make sure you go paprika crazy. Add in loads of each and then stir in a handful of chillis at the end. Don't make your sauce to thick either, it should be quite runny and have loads of tasty grease floating on the top. Yum. And have some proper black bread to soak up the juice.

The nitrogen ice cream was given to me by an Italian scientist Emmanuelle who I met on the stairs. He makes ice cream using liquid nitrogen as a coolant. It was passion fruit flavoured and absolutely wonderful. You can't buy this in the shops, nor even the ingredients, sorry.


  • Goulash,
  • Black Bread.

  • Passion fruit nitrogen ice cream.

  • Paulaner hefe weissbier (naturtus)


    Lard, onions, bacon, garlic, beef, paprika, paprika, beef stock, kaiser jadgwurst sausage, mustard, paprika, salt, pepper.


    Fry some roughly chopped onions in a little lard until soft. Add a goodly portion (at least two cloves per person) of garlic and some chopped bacon. Fry a little longer. Chop your beef into chunks and add to the mix, stir a bit and then add some hot paprika, loads of mild paprika and fry a little longer. It should thicken quite a bit. Pour in the stock, loads of chopped sausage, a good dollop of mustard, loads of black pepper, a little salt and finally a giant load of pickled red paprika. Stir to mix well, put the lid on, turn down the heat and go watch some tv or play some pool or something. Don't eat until at least three hours have passed and the beef is really soft and the mounds of dried paprika you used have really melted into the sauce.